We rarely do a theme issue, and we didn’t plan for this issue to be one, but as it evolved, we saw a pattern, and the more we explored it the more fun it became.
We’re talking about opposites here—young and old, veteran and neophyte, mainstream and experimental. There’s no inviolate party line, not a sole outlook or single analysis of a subject that’s acceptable, no oath or allegiance. (Thankfully, we’re not part of the Washington crowd these days—the contentious, confrontational culture that has become our government unfortunately infects our entire society with fear and conformity—exactly the opposite of what our founders envisioned.)
In these pages, we celebrate an iconic Hudson Valley market, established by Italian immigrants near Poughkeepsie exactly 100 years ago. Adams Fairacre Farms, once not much more than a roadside vegetable stand, is now a four-store force that pretty much sets the standard when it comes to select local and organic products, garden and landscape supplies. On the other side of that coin is a young entrepreneur in Beacon who could have written the book on “doing it my way.” Jason Schuler is a part of the current craft beverage renaissance in the valley, but he didn’t follow the crowd into distilled spirits, beer, wine or cider. He developed a line of specialized non-alcoholic syrups and tinctures for mixing with cocktails or carbonated water. Initial production was in a rented restaurant kitchen in Beacon after hours; his success spurred the move to a new manufacturing center in Dutchess County that is a whole ’nother story.
If there was yet another side of the coin it would no doubt feature a bust of Keith Stewart, our farmer-turned-writer, who here muses on the fate of Hudson Valley agriculture when the current crop of decidedly aged farmers moves on, or under, as the case may be. The counterpoint is a look at the valley’s Community Suppported Agriculture farms and the influence of the newly formed Hudson Valley CSA Coalition, which aims to promote both the philosophy and practice of CSA subscription farming, itself an innovative, forward-looking agricultural and economic model. Reinvention, too, was the whole purpose behind the migration of bluecashew Kitchen Homestead from Rhinebeck to downtown Kingston last year, and by all accounts the Kingston duo that owns the business chose a winning move. Robin Cherry tells the whole story.
We cover a lot of exciting ground in this issue, literally and thematically. (You may cover a lot of ground, too, once you’ve looked over the list of participating restaurants in this spring’s Hudson Valley Restaurant Week. A trip to any of them is worth it.) There’s a whole lot more where this came from, so stay with us.