Saving the World One Farm at a Time

There are people that say apple growing in the Hudson Valley is dead, or darn near. They cite the growing number of farms transmogrified into McMansions as substantial proof. And, yes, according to the 2001 New York Fruit Tree and Vineyard Survey, the nearly 76,000 acres of apple orchards in 1962 had dropped to 44,563 by 2001. In Ulster County the acreage figures have dropped 48% since 1990 alone. And while it appears that apple growing in New York is in a free fall with orchards being turned into bad architecture faster than you can say Red Delicious, farmers persevere by being innovative and creative.

Agriculture is New York’s number 1 industry. New York farmers grow food for millions of New Yorkers and Americans, as well as countless others in many countries. In Ulster County, fruit production is valued at over $17 million with apples constituting almost 90% of that overall value. But beyond its economic value, farms do so much more by protecting open space, clean air and water, scenic vistas, and providing safe, local food. Without our agricultural land base, farms move away, food is grown by someone you’ll never meet, food safety oversights decline, economies become imbalanced, and, well, the food just doesn’t taste nearly as good.

For better or worse, most of our large scale food production occurs in regions or countries sparsely populated, with large amounts of acreage and economic incentives to grow there. But US apple production started right here in the Hudson Valley. It as much a part of our heritage as the Hudson Valley School artists, West Point, the Catskills, and the mighty Hudson River itself. And in much the same way as Pete Seeger and other resuscitated the Hudson River [an effort that continues to this day], we need to support the resuscitation of agriculture in the valley. And we need to support in ways that may not pay off for generations. Unlike a river, farmland once lost is rarely recovered.

Here in Stone Ridge, we have our own little orchard called, not surprisingly, Stone Ridge Orchard. This farm has been around for over 200 years and has produced such a wide range of crops that is the embodiment of diversified crop production. For the better part of the twentieth century it was properly farmed as an apple orchard. But for the better part of the 90s it was farmed with little vision for its farming future. And so when I began farming this piece of land in 2000, I worked with what I had in front of me. Changes had to be made and made quickly. Orchards were replanted. We diversified by planting a number of other fruit crops to help ease the transition from old orchards to new orchards. And while the changes that have occurred were without a doubt the right things to do, we didn’t go far enough, nor was enough time given to allow the plantings we did put in to take effect. In fact, 50% of the new orchards have not even come into full bearing yet.

As debate begins over the future of Stone Ridge Orchard, it is important that everyone place this farm in proper historical perspective. In doing so we shed new light on the value this land plays in regional food production, as well to who we are as human beings, and the valuable role open space, clean air, scenic vistas, and great tasting food have in our collective presence on this planet. Farms evolve and adapt, just as they always have, and they’ll look and feel different from the way they did in their distant past, but they’ll be there on the muddled landscape, producing food and providing peace of mind that some things are simply sacred. Today, we have an opportunity staring us in the face that will only come once: to protect this viable, productive, working farm for future generations. The greenest thing anyone can do is to see that our working farms stay working.

I encourage anyone with an interest to contact me directly or better yet stop by the farm for a walkabout and some lively conversation.

Mike Biltonen 845.687.2587

To be continued………………………..


About Farmer Mike Biltonen

Mike Biltonen is lifelong farmer with a passion for great tasting, sustainably grown food. He also has an opinion and this blog is his soapbox. But mostly he just likes to farm. Enjoy!
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Saving the World One Farm at a Time

  1. bianconero says:

    HELLO YOUR BLOG IS BEAUTIFUL! YOU GO IN MY BLOG:www.superjuventus.blogspot.comTHANK!

  2. Ferdzy says:

    Er, I like your blog too. In fact, I have linked to it and I was hoping you had not given up blogging. New York is close enough to Ontario that many of the issues you are facing are the same issues we are facing here. Good luck in your endeavors.

  3. Anonymous says:

    It’s great to read more about the background and history of the farming industry in New York. I thought you might be interested in The Eat Well Guided Tour of America. The group Sustainable Table is taking a cross-country trip to visit local and sustainable farms and restaurants, meet with farmers, and promote many of the same issues you raise here. Here is a link:

  4. Anonymous says:

    [color=red]The Most Affordable XRUMER/BACKLINK SERVICE Online!The EFFORTLESS and POWERFUL WAY TO BUILD MASSIVE # OF BACKLINKS[color=black]200,000 BLASTS of your URLs+ Anchor Tex, message, pictures (can be spinned) etc $10 USD (shared with other clients like a carpool), or $25/200k for exclusive!(you control EVERYTHING)$50 Exclusive @ 500,000 blasts.(Complete reports will be given to clients)[IMG][/IMG]For orders, questions or concerns? Email: [u]formless.void47 at [/u]Note:1. For STRICT Whitehat sites, it is advised to create buffers to pass on linkjuice. i.e. social bookmarks, cloaked pages etc.You can blast the site directly, but it entails risk.Using buffers are 100% safe, speaking from experience.2. Xrumer is a very technical tool. Just describe to me what sorts of effects you want and well make it happen!If you want to buy Xrumer?>>>>> <<<<<<[color=black]——-CLIENT 2 SAMPLE SPACE FILLED WITH URLs,Pics and Keywordsseo surrey seo tester buy pain buy it now link Xrumer Hrefer seo training class google search engine optimization cheap seo company seo quote cod buy ecommerce seo seo experience seo medical seo ny hobo seo d link buy mortgage seo seo taiji 8th simple seo denver seo company seo adwords Xrumer Recaptcha xrumer 50 seo nz seo optimising buy tag link seo position checker seo usa seo malta chinese seo expert dental seo free seo best seo program text ads seo tags google seo supervisor seo basics backlinks web seo software tampa seo company xrumer free foreign language seo boca raton seo buy domain link buy d link 655 trellian seo toolkit seo college video seo company portland seo articles seo lessons —–CLIENT 3 SAMPLE SPACE[url=]best height increase[/url] [url=]can you get genital herpes from oral sex herpes blood vaginal herpes symptoms[/url] To Use Ayahuasca Growing Ayahuasca Get Ayahuasca Can Ayahuasca Buying Ayahuasca Buy Ayahuasca —–CLIENT 4 SAMPLE SPACE[url=]yoga height increase 18yrs age[/url] [url=]male enhancement natural[/url] [url=]lcd hdtv monitor[/url] [url=]providence rhode island teeth whitening Montmagny tooth whiteninmg Gold Coast Burundi new york city teeth whitening toot whitening Hawaii tooth wahitening tooth whitening[/url] —–CLIENT 5 SAMPLE SPACE[url=]Cheap Xrumer Service[/url][url=]Cheapest Xrumer Service[/url][url=]Best Xrumer Service[/url]——– Toy Dinosaur Robotic Baby Dinosaur Buy Pleo Dinosaur Buy Ugobe Pleo Cheap Pleo Dinosaur [url=]sharp tv[/url][url=]where to buy acai berry[/url]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s