I grew up in the 50's and 60's in Jamesport, NY on eastern Long Island
in the heart of farm country. My family were not farmers but were in
the restaurant business so I was surrounded by food. In season we
always bought produce from the farmstands along with beautiful flowers
In the 70's my generation was on the move. That meant that lots of
those old family farms I grew up with were on the block with kids
opting out and land prices soaring in pristine vacation land
surrounded by the Peconic Bay, LI Sound and the Atlantic Ocean. This
island land poised within these waters is full of sand; there’s no
other soil like this in the state. Thankfully the government stepped
in and provided money to farmer/landowners to keep the land in trust,
so to speak. Grapes found a home and really saved the land out there.
Horse farms also played a large part in keeping the land from being
lost to development. There are many wineries now, even in my little
one stop light town of Jamesport. Happily, there’s still a lot of
food grown out there too and some of it organic.
I moved to the Saugerties/Woodstock area in 1972 and soon after we
joined the Beggar’s Banquet food coop in Woodstock. Bulk foods were
delivered to the community center and members would gather to bag up
their orders. At this time I was also getting acquainted with the
local health food stores and my food world was changing fast.
In 1991 I was living in Saugerties at a former retreat for nuns that
was owned by a well known musician who had converted the place into
five apartments rented out to artists and musicians and the like. One
of the tenants, Brian Farmer (his real name) along with his Mom Rema,
who lived nearby, started one of the first, or the first local
organic CSA on that land. I didn’t have much to do with this
operation but did get to help plant the strawberries and
blueberries...I’ll never forget tasting those first berries...I
remembered that taste. I was blown away that it had been so very many
years since I’d tasted that rich berry flavor...the intervening
berries had been poor knock offs. That was another changing moment in
food for me. Around this time another CSA came into being, Cody Creek
Farm. Viv and Jim Beatrice were the founding farmers and today are
members of Hearty Roots.
I’ve been a member of Hearty Roots Farm since the beginning and I have
been nourished on so many levels. Every year I pack my freezers with
veggies, a variety of sauces and dishes to savor in the winter months.
This farm has been a blessing in my life. We are so fortunate to
benefit from the incredible dedication, very hard work and great
passion the farmers and their assistants bring to Hearty Roots.