Two New Stops!

We’re pleased to announce Ensign Brook Farm and Booth Farm as two new exciting stops along the 15-mile route.

A beautiful sheep farm, Ensign Brook has three different registered flocks – Romney, Merino-crosses, and Cheviot – which yield whole range of fibers.  This variety allows for interesting and unique yarns and roving, which are spun in small quantities to ensure quality.  Also available are watercolor and landscape paintings by Karin, the farmer herself!  You won’t want to miss what will surely be a fun stop!

Booth Farm has an interesting history and currently produces compost for sale.  From their website: “Six generations of Booths have run a dairy farm along the Hudson on what was originally part of the Schuyler Land Grant. The growth of the dairy business raised concerns for the surroundings, especially the beautiful Hudson River. Kevin Booth began experimenting with composting to better manage the animal waste. Today, after many years of experimentation, education, and determination, Booth’s Blend compost, an all natural product, is available to help you create beautiful plantings.”  Their farm overlooks the Saratoga Battlefield, a sight you won’t want to miss!

Tour de History

“Tour de Farm” is perhaps a slight misnomer, because the ride rolls through areas rich with significant historical influence.  “Tour de Farm and History” better represents the tour, but is also a mouthful!  On the tour, not only will you see farms, but also many Revolutionary War historic sites.

In 1777, American soldiers fought two fierce battled against the British and forced surrender on the land which is now the Saratoga National Historical Park.  According to Sir Edward Shepherd Creasy’s The Fifteen Decisive Battles of the World: from Marathon to Waterloothe Saratoga Battles rank as the 13th most important battles in world history.

On the 35-mile route, you’ll pass through (and stop by) historic houses, farms and, significant sites of the Saratoga Battles, which include:

The Schuyler House

The Schuyler House is located 8 miles north of the Battlefield.

The Schuyler House is the restored country house of American General Philip J. Schuyler, a hero of the Saratoga Battles, both before and after the Revolutionary War.  The original house was actually burned by the British; the one that stands today was built in 1777.

Sword Surrender Site

“Surrender of General Burgoyne” by John Trumbull, 1822.

Faced with overwhelming numbers, Burgoyne surrendered his sword to General Gates on October 17, 1777.  Burgoyne’s depleted army, some 6,000 men, marched out of its camp “with the Honors of War” and  stacked its weapons along the west bank of the Hudson River at the Field of Grounded Arms.

Freeman Farm Overlook

The view from the former farm site. Although the view is mostly obscured from heavy tree growth, the view remains similar to what it was in 1777.

Major fighting took place on the land leased from farmer John Freeman, a loyalists who went north and joined British forces, on September 19, 1777.

The Neilson House 

From the Neilson House, one has an almost 360-degree view of the battlefield.

Built by John and Lydia Neilson in 1775 or 1776, the infamous General Benedict Arnold used this house as headquarters in 1777.  Today, it looks much the same and will be host to a “Progressive Encampment” during Tour de Farm.

Think you’ll be tired from all that biking? Imagine these soldiers and their families who marched many miles on foot!

The Saratoga National Historical Park was first authorized as a New York State historical preserve in 1927 and was made part of the National Park Service when authorized by Congress in 1938.

A Case for Farmland Conservation.

Twenty-four year old Michael Kilpatrick, of Kilpatrick Family Farm, has been farming in Washington County since he was a fourteen.  He recently shared his testimony to the House Committee on Agriculture for the 2012 Farm Bill on the National Young Farmers’ Coalition blog.  Among many impending issues for young farmers, such as regulation and farmer education, Michael makes a strong case for farmland protection.

As a farmer who leases land on from four different properties, Michael understands the value of making prime farmland affordable.  He says,

Part of America’s greatness is in its amazing soil. It fueled the Westward Expansion, and even now its products are a major part of our exports and competitive edge. Good farmland is not cheap and it is being gobbled up by development companies at an alarming rate–over 1,200,000 acres in 2011 alone. That is 1,200,000 acres that will probably never be farmed again, that is forever lost to urban sprawl, shopping centers, or factories.

He also cites the Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program as an essential part of farmland conservation:

Protecting our farmland is also vitally important. The Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP) administered by the United States Department of Agriculture has been a significant partner in this effort. The main goal of this program should be to protect at risk, working farmland for active agricultural production.

The testimony is compelling, well written and worth a read, especially if you’re interested in the issues today’s farmers face.  Read Michael’s full testimony here.

In addition to running a CSA, Kilpatrick Family Farm sells at the Saratoga Springs and Glens Falls Farmer’s Market, as well as resturants Beekman Street Bistro, 50 South, and Four Seasons Natural Foods.

Ready for Rhubarb Season?

Despite this year’s erratic weather, in May one can safely say that spring is here.  One of the earliest indicators of spring are the tart red and pink stalks of the rhubarb plant.

Often paired with strawberries, rhubarb crumble is a very easy, delicious dessert to make.  Here’s a great recipe, in case you pick some up at the farmer’s market or in your own backyard!

Fun fact:  Rhubarb is usually considered to be a vegetable; however, a New York court decided in 1947 that since it was used in the United States as a fruit, it was to be counted as a fruit for the purposes of regulations and duties.  This new order caused a reduction on imported rhubarb tariffs, as tariffs were higher for vegetables than fruits.

New stop this year!

Riders on the 35-mile route are in for a treat this year when we stop at the beautiful 40-year old, 400-acre McMahon Thoroughbred Farm!

Saratoga Springs is renowned for it’s rich history, but is perhaps most well known for the Saratoga Race Course.  Open since 1864, the Saratoga Race Course became wildly popular among the rich and famous, already flocking to Saratoga from New York City for its natural mineral springs.

The combination of the glamourous racetrack, casino, and an ever-growing number of resorts and spas made Saratoga Springs the perfect getaway for the wealthy of the Victorian Era.

Read more about the history of horse racing in Saratoga Springs!

Don’t miss a book launch featuring Luke Deikis from Quincy Farm!

Williamstown, MA, may or may not be a bit of a hike for ya’ll, but if you happen to be in the area, be sure to visit the Greenhorns official book launch!  50 Dispatches from the New Farmers’ Movement features 50 essays from new farmers, edited by Zoë Bradbury, Severine von Tscharner Fleming, and Paula Manalo.

Luke Deikis of Quincy Farm (which happens to be one of our awesome stops on Tour de Farm!) will be speaking!

For more information visit http://storey.com/prebook_detail.php?isbn=9781603427722&cat=PreRelease