The Adirondack North Country Association (ANCA) has announced the recipients of its Local Farm Grant program, which was launched in October 2019 to support farmers and food producers who are strengthening the region’s agriculture and food systems.
A total sum of $103,962 in grant funds have been awarded to the following northern New York farms: Argyle Cheese Farmer in Argyle; Blue Pepper Farm in Jay; Juniper Hill Farm in Wadhams; Mace Chasm Farm in Keeseville; Milkweed Tussock Tubers in Heuvelton; North Branch Farms in Henderson; Peacock and Pony Farm in Natural Bridge; and Triple Green Jade Farm in Willsboro.
The Local Farm Grant program was designed to support projects that address gaps in the local food supply chain, increase opportunity for value-added processing or secure business development services. The grants provide financial support where traditional funding resources like bank loans are not accessible.
Blue Pepper Farm owners Shannon and Tyler Eaton will use their grant award to construct an on-farm creamery for producing sheep milk yogurt. The facility will allow them to increase production and expand their dairy product line, which represents a growing segment of their diversified farm business. Blue Pepper Farm, which has been in business since 2012, also produces grass-fed lamb, sheepskins, yarn, pork, eggs and poultry.
Argyle Cheese Factory, which is owned and operated by Dave and Marge Randles, will use grant funding to purchase a batch freezer and scooping cabinet for producing and preparing frozen dairy desserts. The new equipment is part of a larger business expansion that includes a new retail location.
Adam Hainer of Juniper Hill Farm will purchase equipment for processing butternut squash grown on the organic vegetable farm. The peeling machine will allow the farm to sell more squash to schools and other institutions that prefer minimally processed vegetables. Since processing will take place during the winter, the project will provide more year-round work for employees.
Mace Chasm Farm owner Asa Thomas-Train will use grant funds toward the purchase a curing cabinet that will help their farm and butcher shop increase sausage and cured meat production. By expanding its value-added products, the farm will increase production during the slower winter months and opportunities to sell at urban markets outside the local area.
Catherine Bennett, sole owner and operator of Milkweed Tussock Tubers, will use her grant award to partially cover costs associated with becoming a certified disease-free seed potato producer, which will open up regional and national markets for her organic potatoes.
Jay and Kathryn Canzonier will use grant funds to purchase and replace parts for North Branch Farm’s produce packing equipment. The equipment helps the farm and orchard business provide clean fruit and vegetables for their retail store and for wholesale clients such as Jefferson County schools.
Liam Carney of Peacock and Pony Farm will use his grant award to partially fund the construction of a heated greenhouse and laboratory to help increase the production of gourmet mushrooms on his family’s farm.
Triple Green Jade Farm owner Dan Rivera will purchase cow milking equipment to establish a small dairy on their farm. The dairy will allow them to continue to diversify their farm business, which specializes in wood-fired oven baked breads and crackers.
The Local Farm Grant program was funded in full by anonymous donors who participated in ANCA’s fourth annual Bike the Barns event on September 29, 2019. Inspired by the farms along the route and motivated by their own appreciation of local farms, they committed $100,000 to go directly to North Country farm businesses through a competitive grant process.
Photo of Blue Pepper Farm by Lisa Godfrey provided.