Saturday, October 14, 2017

Farms And Food: A Bike the Barns 2017 Recap

Bike the Barns participants ride past agricultural landscapes and mountain views in EssexThis year’s Bike the Barns event took place at the Whallonsburg Grange Hall on Sunday, October 1st. Organizers say registrations for Bike the Barns doubled since the inaugural event last year.  This fall, over 160 people signed up to ride.

This is the second year the Adirondack North Country Association (ANCA) has hosted the event, a one-day bicycle tour that offers riders the opportunity to explore the region’s agricultural scene, meet local farmers, tour their farms and taste local food and drink.

This year’s three route options ‒ a 77-mile long route, a 33-mile medium route and a 14-mile family ride ‒ took riders through forests and farmland to five working farms in New York’s Champlain Valley. Keeseville’s North Country Creamery, which was at the northern edge of the long route, also participated in last year’s Bike the Barns. New farm stops at this year’s event were Juniper Hill Farm in Wadhams, DaCy Meadow Farm in Westport, Sunset Farm in Willsboro and Boquet Valley Vineyard in Essex.

Inspired by an annual Bike the Barns event in Wisconsin, ANCA brought the event to the Adirondack North Country to help promote the local food movement, support regional producers and address issues around food access and security.

Bike the Barns riders eat local food lunch at DaCy Meadow Farm in WestportOther local food businesses participated in the event by bringing their own specialties to the table. Chefs and staff of DaCy Meadow Farm served a local food lunch to riders rested and took in the view of cattle and chickens grazing on pasture. At the Grange, Essex area chefs Taylor Lefleur and Jay Deal provided a local food dinner. Riders also enjoyed local food and drink from Ledge Hill Brewing Co. of Westport, Topo Coffee of Bloomingdale, Applejacks Orchard of Peru and the Hub on the Hill of Essex. To end the evening, local bands Ploughman’s Lunch of Essex and Crowfeather of Saranac Lake added to the mix of artisans.

Proceeds from Bike the Barns go to the FarmShare fund, which was created by ANCA to help support and promote a sustainable regional food system. Goals of the fund include building connections between farms and consumers; supporting ANCA’s existing local food initiatives like its farm to school, food hub development and agritourism projects; supporting local food efforts of regional partners; and helping provide community supported agriculture (CSA) farm shares for low income households. Donations to the FarmShare fund can be made here.

Saranac-based bicycle tour organizers Cycle Adirondacks helped plan and execute Bike the Barns for a second year. Cycle Adirondacks’ mission is to grow and support bicycle tourism in the Adirondack region.

Photo: Bike the Barns participants ride past agricultural landscapes and mountain views in Essex; and Bike the Barns riders eating a local food lunch at DaCy Meadow Farm in Westport (courtesy Adirondack North Country Association).

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