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Thanksgiving Farm

Chaka Wilson Sep 8 , 2016

"What happens here matters everywhere"

Thanksgiving Farm is so much more than an organic farm.  It is part of a large-scale care facility, The Center for Discovery.  Founded in 1948, the center provides health, educational and residential services for approximately 500 children and adults (ages 5 to 78) with severe disabilities and medical frailties. Thanksgiving Farm is designed to provide both quality food for the center and meaningful work for the residents who live there.  So, the farm operates with two goals in mind:  a consistent production of high quality product to cover the food and nutrition needs of their residents or ‘guests’ as they call them.  The second goal is the integration of their guests in specific parts of the farm operation, like flat seeding, post-harvest preparation, egg collecting and processing, herb growing and processing to name a few. These goals and the great variety of crops and livestock give a unique character to the farm.

Situated 80 miles northwest of New York City, Thanksgiving Farm is a 310 acre farm that is a self-sustaining, environmentally-focused organic farm encompassing several different types of agriculture. The farm grows roughly 60 different types of vegetables, flowers, and herbs and is home to several species of livestock including beef cattle, laying hens, pigs, and sheep.  Farm products are certified organic and animals are pasture-raised. The farm’s organic methods and practices are thoughtfully designed to promote the long term health and sustainability of the land, water and food systems that extend well beyond its fences.

Thanksgiving Farm is also a thriving community supported agriculture (CSA) project, which is a means through which people can re-establish a connection with the place they live through the food that is produced there. CSA is a two way relationship; the farm provides fresh vegetables, fruits, and herbs throughout the growing season, and, in turn, its members (comprised of center staff, family of guests and local area residents) make a financial commitment to the farm in the spring, and share in the harvest through the summer into autumn.   The CSA Project has also created a lasting connection between the farm and the rural hamlet of Hurleyville in Sullivan County, New York.  It is their hope that the growth of this farm and center, including its innovative housing options for residents who will live and work and farm in and around the town will help make Hurleyville a model of regional economic development.

Thanksgiving Farm was introduced to Baldor by  Chef Cesare Casella,  who, aside from being a world renowned chef, also heads the center’s department of nutritional arts, which employs a groundbreaking approach to providing all individuals at The Center for Discovery with the ultimate whole foods experience.  As the farm began to expand, it was also beginning to amass a surplus of certain items. Casella suggested that they contact his friends at Baldor to explore the option of wholesaling some of their produce.  According to Greg York, the farm manager, “we’ve always produced very high quality organic produce.  The people we grow for are the most fragile and therefore deserve the absolute best and most healthy food.” The first two items Baldor will introduce to the market are Thanksgiving Farm’s organic whole garlic and organic squash. “There’s something particular about our soil” Mr. York continues, “it produces great products with exceptional taste.  We are confident Baldor’s customers will also take note of the quality and taste.”

Baldor has long been at the forefront of supporting local farms, but we immediately knew there was something quite special about Thanksgiving Farm and The Center for Discovery. We look forward to supporting them as their crops and wholesale business continues to grow.

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