July 25, 2008
Contact: Laurie Davis, Adirondack Harvest, 518-962-4810 x404

Adirondack Harvest Receives $50,000 to Expand Across NNY Region; Looking to Start Chapters in Jefferson, Lewis-Oneida, St. Lawrence Counties

Westport, NY � The Spaulding-Paolozzi Foundation has awarded Adirondack Harvest $50,000 to expand its community-based local farms and foods program throughout the Northern New York region. Organizers of Adirondack Harvest plan to increase membership by 60 farmers, 12 restaurateurs and 12 store owners by its 10th anniversary in 2010.

�We want to add locally-driven chapters in Jefferson, Lewis-Oneida and St. Lawrence counties,� says Adirondack Harvest Coordinator Laurie Davis, based at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Essex County, Westport, NY.

The grant funding will support the training of county-level coordinators to promote local food buying, facilitate the marketing and sales of fresh and processed farm products, and present a direct marketing local economic impact study to each county legislature.

The Essex County Board of Supervisors has contributed $18,000 annually to the Adirondack Harvest Essex County Chapter since 2001. The Clinton, Franklin and Lewis County Boards of Legislators also provide funding for county-level regional foods programming. The New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets provided start-up funds and support for special regional projects. Grants and private donations from several sources have supported such efforts as mentoring programs, e-commerce development, and agritourism promotion.

Adirondack Harvest Chairman Tom Both says, �Adirondack Harvest was formed in Essex County in 2001 out of a concern for the loss of farmland. Today, our mission to revive and grow farms as a sustainable and profitable economic sector is not only benefiting Essex County but gaining momentum across a large part of northeastern and northern New York.�

Davis says, �Local buying of fresh foods and value-added products supports local farms and communities and helps preserve open space and agricultural landscapes. The Spaulding-Paolozzi grant will help us broaden our scope and the economic impact on more communities in the region. All farms benefit by working together to supply our markets.�

Davis adds that consumers and the environment also benefit from local product sales. She says, �As farmers and the restaurants and stores they supply develop solid local buying clientele, they can select varieties based on flavor and consumer tastes and not on how the foods stand up to long distance shipping. Locally grown and sold foods require fewer miles, less packaging, and less gas consumption reducing local waste, carbon footprint and pollution.�

For more information about Adirondack Harvest, go online to www.adirondackharvest.com or call Laurie Davis at 518-483-4810. # # #
Story Tips Below...

Background and Story Tips:
� Adirondack Harvest currently has members in most of the 12 counties in the Adirondack North Country region. The Adirondack Harvest chapters in Clinton, Essex, and Franklin counties and the Southern Adirondacks area of Hamilton and Warren counties include farmers, consumers, restaurants, store owners, and Extension educators and government representatives.

� Farmers engage Adirondack Harvest benefits by using products labels, signs, and banners and website www.adirondackharvest.com with a searchable database that helps buyers and sellers connect. The website also has production and marketing fact sheets, a quarterly newsletter, searchable maps for finding farmstands, farmers� markets and participating stores and restaurants.

� Adirondack Harvest member restaurants and stores must agree to work with two farmers to sell their products, pledge to buy local when possible, post the Adirondack Harvest sign, and identify items on menus and in-store displays.

� Adirondack Harvest workshops focus on organic production, value-added, farmstead cheese making, season extension, agritourism, and growing cold-hardy grapes�.

� An Adirondack Harvest �Three Farms� video features season extension practices for vegetables, on-farm cheese production and organic grain production methods.

� An annual week-long September Harvest Festival Week features farm tours, farmers market chef demos and other activities to draw consumer interest and buying. The 2008 celebration will be September 6-14, 2008.

Jefferson County Joins Adirondack Harvest
As the first Jefferson County farmer to request membership in Adirondack Harvest, Certified Natural NY founder Steve Winkler of Lucki 7 Livestock Co., Rodman, NY, blazed the trail for Jefferson County�s entry into Adirondack Harvest. Winkler, who naturally raises hogs, poultry and beef cattle, says, �I have received dozens of calls based on the visibility of Adirondack Harvest as a sustainable local foods network and I expect significant growth in the interest in locally sourced, clean, healthy, fresh foods that being included on the Adirondack Harvest website will bring to my business. Having a Jefferson County chapter of Adirondack Harvest will help make the small family farms that are developing around the local sustainable foods movement much more visible.� Adirondack Harvest organizers hope to start a locally-administered Jefferson County chapter of Adirondack Harvest as part of a recent grant project.

Eastern NNY Farmers� Markets Boost Attendance with Adirondack Harvest Coupons
For Marjorie Swift who managed the Elizabethtown, Keene, and Wilmington farmers markets in 2007, an Adirondack Harvest matching grants program reached consumers with printed coupons that brought new customers to the three markets. Strategically placed, the coupons increased overall market attendance by 15 percent.

Adirondack Harvest Website Helps Essex County Egg Producer
At Ben Wever Farm in Willsboro, Linda Gillilland tends hens producing up to 70 dozen eggs per week. She says, "How many farmers have time to set up their own website? Maybe one day we will, but using the Adirondack Harvest website has connected us to many sales avenues.� Gillilland sells grass-based farm products at her own farmstand and to Dogwood Breads in Wadhams, the Willsboro IGA, and Ernie�s Market in Westport. She and husband Shaun also sell eggs, herbs and honey to fellow Adirondack Harvest members David Martin and Mimi Lane, who own and operate Turtle Island Deli and Turtle Island Cafe in Willsboro.

A Culinary Institute of America-trained chef, David says, �We recognize the strong connections between plate and planet. Food should be good, clean, and taste good, and food producers should receive fair compensation for their work. We consider ourselves partners in the food production process and make every effort to use produce, cheeses, dairy, and meats from local farmers who practice sustainable methods.� Martin, who also works with Juniper Hill Farm of Whallonsburg, says his local and organic purchasing reaches close to 90 percent by August and September with the bountiful harvest of fresh local products.

Lewis County Beef Producers � Franklin County Chef Collaborate
Natural beef and pork producers Steve and Michelle Ledoux of Adirondack Beef Company, Croghan (Lewis County) met John Vargo, chef and owner of the Eat n� Meet Grill and Larder of Saranac Lake (Franklin County) at the March 2007 Local Foods Connections III Conference organized by Adirondack Harvest. Vargo says, �I am excited about working with the Ledouxes to serve Adirondack Beef at my Adirondack restaurant.� He hosted a Farmers� Market day at the grill �so my customers could meet the farmers who grow and raise the food I serve.� His motto is �it�s not fast� it�s food,� and his execution of that philosophy earned a Five Forks rating from Watertown Times� food reviewer Walter E. Siebel.

Clinton County Farm Market Operator Sells Products of Dozens of Small Producers
In Beekmantown (Clinton County) at Conroy�s Organics, a combination farmers� market, health food/convenience store and caf� specializing in natural and organic products, Simon Conroy sells his grass-fed beef and vegetables; and fresh produce and farm-processed goods from about 40 small producers. Conroy says, �The Adirondack Harvest name and maps are really good at helping people realize the number of farms and markets available. Grants to Adirondack Harvest have helped producers network and access resources to extend our outreach to consumers, and Adirondack Harvest labeling is key to helping buyers identify the regional products.�

Essex County Grower Says Adirondack Harvest Connections are Critical to Business
Vegetable grower Jessica Chevalier of Ledgetop Orchards, Crown Point, says, "Linking to local markets is critically important to my business. I'm grateful that Adirondack Harvest has helped me to make some of those connections." For example, on the way home after a busy day at the Lake Placid Farmers� Market, Chevalier stops at Deer's Head Inn in Elizabethtown where Chef Matt Baldwin briefly haggles for price for her remaining perfectly ripe produce and helps Jessica nearly empty her vehicle. Both parties are pleased with the exchange and tonight�s diners will reap the rest of the harvest!