Friday, September 18, 2020

Adirondack Harvest Festival goes ‘free range’

Adirondack Harvest and our annual Harvest Festival supports community businesses, the local economy, and fresh food access by creating awareness and understanding about farms, forestry, fiber and flower businesses in the Adirondacks.

We took the opportunity to host an alternative format to this year’s festival, going in new directions that expand the limits of the traditional festival format. The celebrations will be a mix of community events and virtual tours where you will get to meet the growers and makers in a new way.

And all in-person events are featuring safe, social distancing, so you’ll experience the delicious, fun festival activities- just a little more spread out.

Here’s what we mean. We’ll kick the day off in a familiar way: grab some coffee and local fruit with the Master Gardener Volunteers at the Essex County Fairgrounds, then get started with the Champlain Area Trails (CATS) hike to the Viall’s Crossing trail. This trail happily ends right near Ledge Hill Brewery, where you can sip your favorite brew and feast with Papa Duke’s BBQ for lunch and DaCy Meadow in the evening. Another festival favorite at the beer tent going Free Range this year is Ausable Brewing Company in Keeseville. Northern Feast Catering will be serving up meals there all evening as well, and be sure to check out farmstands in the area on while you’re in the neighborhood. Finish the evening off with a movie at the Whallonsburg Grange under the big tent outside. We’ll be showing Inhabit, a gorgeous “feature length documentary introducing permaculture: a design method that offers an ecological lensfor solving issues related to agriculture, economics, governance,” and more. Farmer’s Cone Creamery will be scooping hand-made ice cream. It’s all outside under the big tent with plenty of room for social distancing.

But that’s not all! Our virtual activities are designed to let you experience the Harvest like never before! You’ll find: tours, games, and Harvest as well as 4-H demos! We also share details on how to participate in the Scavenger Hunt and win great prizes!

Tours! We’re bringing you on a virtual tour, through a story map of photo galleries and videography, to meet Adirondack farmers and makers. You will get to know their creative process and see them in action growing or crafting the products you love. This year’s theme, as featured in Gwen Jamison’s artwork for the festival, is focused on women and families in farming. This year is the 100 year anniversary of the Women’s Suffrage Movement as well as a year for envisioning meaningful change and using a collective voice to work for that change through the Black Lives Matter Movement. The festival this year honors leaders and communities of the past through the present, as well the hard work, love, and dedication of growing the food that nourishes our communities and makes them resilient.

Demos! These are a festival favorite! Red Oak Food Company will be going through the process of making homemade miso. And Underwood Herbs will show us how to dig roots fall harvest. 4-Hers will demo horse massage and build a chicken coop.

Games! Think you are a localvore? Want to test your local knowledge? You’ll find pictures and descriptions of harvest businesses throughout Essex County- see if you can place them. If you are a top scorer, you can win a $50 gift certificate to the harvest business of your choice! And share the game online as a Scavenger Hunt activity!

The Scavenger Hunt, we’re calling the Adirondack Harvest Challenge! ties all of these in-person and virtual activities together, where participants post pictures of themselves enjoying Free Range activities, play the games, share virtual tour links, and more. By tagging Adirondack Harvest and #FreeRangeFest you can share the love and be entered to win some great prizes! (Your profile has to be set to ‘public’, just for the day, for us to be able to see and count your participation.) The top participant in the Scavenger Hunt will win a $200 gift certificate to any one Adirondack Harvest business, with $100 and $50 for runners-up. You can find all Hunt activities downloadable and printable in the Festival storymap.

We hope you enjoy the 2020 Free Range Adirondack Harvest Festival! We put a lot of love into bringing you closer to the many businesses that make our area unique, delicious, beautiful, fun and resilient. Help us get the word out and celebrate these growers and makers through a fun Scavenger Hunt where we can come together in a unique way to say “Thank you!” to the businesses that make the Adirondacks a wonderful place to live!

Thank you to all of our 2020 sponsors that made this year’s Adirondack Harvest Festival a success!

NYS DEC Smart Growth Grant, Adirondack Harvest, CCE Essex County,  International Paper, Adirondack Council & Essex Farm Insitute,Yankee Farm Credit, Stewart’s Shops, Chazy Westport Communications, and Champlain National Bank. Thank you to the Whallonsburg Grange and the Hub on the Hill for hosting the movie and for promoting the event!

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