TRAVEL 2023 – According to the 2017 Census of Agriculture, Columbia County boasts 518 farms on 99,179 acres of land. That’s nearly 25% of the land area of the county, according to the Columbia County Planning Department. The county’s many crops include cattle and sheep, corn, barley and apples — and more. From this is created everything from yogurt and cheese to whiskey and vodka.
There are many farms and markets that are available during the summer months to visit while in the area.
Hawthorne Valley Farm Store
The Hawthorne Valley Farm Store is one such place. Located in Ghent, the store had its beginnings as a self-serve stand in a horse barn. Today it’s a full-line organic/natural foods and grocery store that is part of the Hawthorne Valley Association, a nonprofit organization which includes under its umbrella a Waldorf school, a farm and farmer training program; a center for social research; and the Walking the Dog Theater, which creates theater events, inner development courses and community-building projects engaging children, youth and adults. The farm itself produces fruits and vegetables and Biodynamic-grown grains, among other items.
The store sells grocery products and household items that are natural or organic, and provides hot food, cold sandwiches, soups and salads from an organic deli on site. The organic bakery offers homemade sourdough and whole-grain breads, bagels, muffins, pastries, cookies, brownies, pies, tarts and other specialty baked goods for sale.
You can also purchase raw milk, cheese, yogurt, probiotic smoothies and quark from the farm’s creamery; (Quark is a type of fresh dairy product made from milk; the milk is soured, usually by adding lactic-acid bacteria cultures, and strained once the desired curdling is achieved. It can be classified as a fresh acid-set cheese.) choose from five varieties of sauerkraut made on the farm: original, ruby, tumeric, feuerkraut, caraway and jalapeno feuerkraut), plus a selection of probiotic beverages made from the kraut juice, which include kimchi and curtido, as well as the farm’s own red pepper hot sauce.
The store also sells beef, veal, pork and chicken, all farmed at Hawthorne Valley, locally grown and certified organic.
The farm offers tours as well. Guided tours are available if planned in advance by either calling the farm’s marketing director (518-672-4465 x 222) or by sending an email with your request; visitors are welcome to take self-guided tours using the maps available in the farm store.
The Hawthorne Valley Farm Store is open daily year-round from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Other Columbia County farms and markets
* Chatham Farmers & Makers Market: June–September; Fridays 3-7 p.m. Fresh local produce, baked goods, local meats and more.
* Copake Hillsdale Farmers’ Market: May–November; Saturday 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Nestled in Roeliff Jansen Park in Hillsdale.
* Germantown Farmers Market: May-October; Saturdays 10 a.m.-1 p.m., 50 Palatine Park Road in Germantown.
* Hudson Farmers Market: Local producers only; meat, eggs, plants and flowers, cheese, fruits and vegetables in season, baked goods and prepared foods, wool, wool products and farm-made crafts. EBT/SNAP machine on site. April-November; Saturdays 9 a.m.-1 p.m., rain or shine; 6th and Columbia Street, Hudson.
* Kinderhook Farmers’ Market: Local farmers’ market offering a wide variety of goods: produce, naturally raised meats, free-range eggs, baked goods, flowers, bedding plants, honey, maple syrup, jams, draft beers and crafts. Family activity areas and live music. May-October; Saturdays 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., rain or shine. Route 9 at the Village Square, Kinderhook.
* New Lebanon Farmers Market: Indoors; open seven days a week; 11 a.m.–6 p.m. Local foods, arts, crafts and more. 528 Route 20, New Lebanon.
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