The Hudson Valley is ripe (groan) with gardening and agricultural resources. Something bugging your plants? Call a Master Gardener. Not enough space for a vegetable garden? How about a CSA? Or a Farmers’ Market. Want to hang out with like minded gardeners and maybe volunteer some time? There are organizations for that, too. Oh, the things you’ll learn!
Cornell Cooperative Extension and Master Gardener Programs
The Cooperative Extension System offers information and education on a variety of topics, including gardening. Their Master Gardener program is an organization of volunteers trained in community horticulture. That means they have a lot of knowledge to help us in our backyard gardens. They offer lots of free information, including a call in hot line. They also host workshops, create demonstration gardens, and work with community groups. Most charge a nominal fee for diagnostics and soil testing. I’ve listed links to the county offices as well as the Master Gardener/Gardening sections of their web sites.
|Albany County||Extension Office||Master Gardener Program|
|Columbia County||Extension Office||Master Gardener Program|
|Dutchess County||Extension Office||Master Gardener Program|
|Greene County||Extension Office||Master Gardener Program|
|Orange County||Extension Office||Master Gardener Program|
|Putnam County||Extension Office||Master Gardener Program|
|Rensselaer County||Extension Office||Master Gardener Program|
|Rockland County||Extension Office||Master Gardener Program|
|Ulster County||Extension Office||Master Gardener Program|
|Westchester County||Extension Office||Master Gardener Program|
Even if you grow your own, the variety at farmers markets is dizzying. And they offer so much more than vegetables. Looking for local cheese, lamb, mushrooms, a freshly made pie?
Farms and Pick Your Own
In addition to farmers markets, many local farms have their own stands that are open all week long. And an increasing amount of them offer “You Pick” offereings for popular items like berries and pumpkins. In the fall, keep watch for harvest festivals, corn mazes and other family fun.
CSAs (Coummnity Supported Agriculture)
To gain all the perks of have a large backyard vegetable garden without the work, consider a CSA. In a CSA, regional farmers grow a variety of vegetables and fruits and members buy a “share”. Each week you get a portion of the harvest as your share. Generally you have to stop by to pick it up, which is a nice way to see where your food is coming from.
Since we don’t live by vegetables alone, I’ve also included links to local wineries. Many grow their own grapes, others purchase grapes to ferment. All are interesting agricultural businesses to tour and test out.
And finally, I haven’t overlooked those of you who prefer a good brew. Local craft beer makers keep popping up all over the region. Have a look at the list of choices on the Hudson Vally Beer Trail.