Columbia County Fair - Chatham, NY

Columbia Fair News


Locavore Award nominees released, 13 nominees to be recognized in ceremony at Columbia Fair

Nominees have been announced for the fifth annual Victoria A. Simons Locavore Awards, which recognize notable achievement in bringing together local farmers and consumers in support of locally grown products.

Each nominee receives an engraved commemorative award. The three winning nominees each receive an additional plaque as well as $1,000 cash.

Awards are presented at the Columbia County Fair on Monday, September 1--Agriculture Appreciation Day at the Fair. The ceremony takes place on the North Gate Stage at 3:00 p.m.

The 2014 Award nominees are:

LIZ BALDWIN: After years of working a conventional dairy farm, Liz took the risky and complex step of converting her Millbrook, NY operation to sales of raw milk. It has proven to be such a success that she is now regularly increasing the size of her herd in order to meet demand. 

BERKSHIRE CO-OP MARKET: Founded in 1981, the Great Barrington Co-op is known regionally for its natural food policy, commitment to local agriculture, support of the local economy and dedication to environmental stewardship. In addition to selling fresh organic meats and fish, cheese and produce, the Co-op also sponsors farm tours, runs children’s workshops, and conducts outreach and education programs for area schools, camps and the community.

BERKSHIRE ORGANICS: Over the 6 years that Aleisha and Brian Gibbons’ Berkshire Organics has been in business, they have shown a solid commitment to local and organic foods. This year they collaborated to place several purveyors of local products under one roof on Dalton Division Road in Massachusetts, creating a one-stop shop for those interested in a locavore diet.

TESSA EDICK: Founder of the Farm On! Foundation and Friends of the Farmer, Tessa Edick raises funds for scholarships in agricultural studies and engages the community to support local farms through a variety of innovative programs, all of which foster the connection between producer and buyer, and introduce Hudson Valley residents and visitors to local farmers. She was instrumental in bringing Hudson Valley Fresh milk into the Taconic Hills School District.

FISH & GAME: All products at this Hudson, NY restaurant come from local farms that are sourced at a 40-mile maximum. (The only exception is fresh North Atlantic fish.) All animals and fish used at the restaurant are raised humanely and slaughtered in-house. Great attention also goes into preserving the bounty during winter months so that the restaurant doesn’t need to order products from outside sources in order to compensate.

LAUREN GIAMBRONE: The founder of Good Fight Herb Company, Lauren creates tinctures, tonics and ointments from herbs grown at or near her Germantown home, where she collaborates with local grower Sarah Monteiro of Farmhand Flowers. This spring, in addition to on-farm classes and plant walks, Lauren began offering subscriptions to her CSH (community supported herbalism).

NANCY FULLER GINSBERG: As host of the Food Network’s “Farmhouse Rules,” each week Nancy introduces TV audiences to local area farms and foods. Prior to joining the Food Network family, Nancy operated her own Columbia County catering business for 25 years, always featuring farm-fresh local ingredients in her recipes. Ginsberg’s, the family business, sponsors the Columbia County Fair’s annual cooking contest, which requires that contestants use at least one locally sourced ingredient in their entries.

GRAZIN’: Dan and Susan Gibson (owners of Grazin’ Angus Acres in Ghent), opened their Grazin’ Diner in Hudson in 2011, along with daughter Christine and son-in-law Chip. The restaurant’s grass-fed and finished beef, grass-fed dairy, pasture-raised eggs, chicken and pork all take a short 7.2 mile ride from farm to table; most of the other ingredients are sourced from local farms within 12 miles of the restaurant. Grazin’ also holds the distinction of being the first Animal Welfare-approved restaurant in Columbia County. 

SUSAN WOLFE-HILL: Since 2010, Susan has been Executive Chef and caterer at the Columbia Golf & Country Club in Claverack, where her menus feature healthy local food. A Columbia County native, Susan reached out to a local Girl Scout troop to help her develop an herb and vegetable garden at the Club. For many years, Susan also lent her expertise to the Hudson Salvation Army Mission, where she cooked a weekly dinner using food donated by local farmers. 

HUDSON FARMERS’ MARKET: Now in its 17th year, the market is open from early May to late November, with an additional indoor season for part of the winter, giving it one of the longest seasons in the area. The market continues to support new farmers who are just starting out, along with multi-generational farmers who have been growing produce in the County for decades.  It was one of the first farmers’ markets in New York to accept WIC coupons from its customers, ensuring accessibility to everyone seeking fresh, wholesome food. Today, some 30 vendors supply everything from eggs, pies and mushrooms to gluten-free products, while a weekly e-newsletter keeps patrons informed with recipes, special events and available produce.

CHEF JOSH KRONER: A driving force behind the Hudson Valley’s farm-to-table movement for the past 16 years, Chef Kroner’s Rhinebeck restaurant Terrapin supports local farms, uses local ingredients wherever possible, and encourages diners to eat local through promotions at seasonal farm dinners. His innovative “Kids Taste & Talk” program turns Terrapin into an interactive food classroom on several weekends throughout the year, helping to spread Locavore principles to the younger generation. 

SAINT PETER’S GLEANERS: Over the past two years, the Gleaners have established a presence at both the Chatham and Kinderhook Farmer’s Markets, where they collect donated food and deliver it to local food pantries. So far, more than 2,500 pounds of fresh, healthy food has been donated. In winter months, the Gleaners buy shares in the Chatham Coop and donate them to the food pantry.

DAN SMITH: Chef Smith has been the chef/owner of John Andrews: A Farmhouse Restaurant in South Egremont, MA since 1990. His long-standing commitment to fresh, sustainable food has always been the starting point for the restaurant’s menus, where approximately 50% of the total food purchases come from the Berkshires and Hudson Valley. Last year, John Andrews was named one of the World’s Best Farmstead Experiences by the Daily Meal – the fast-growing internet food site with more than 7 million visitors.

Previous Locavore Award winners have included Joe Gilbert at The Berry Farm in Chatham; Brian Alberg, executive chef at the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, MA; Amy Cotler of West Stockbridge, MA, writer, blogger, cooking instructor, and founding director of Berkshire Grown; the Osofsky Family of Ronnybrook Farm Dairy in Ancramdale; Laura Pensiero of Gigi Hudson Valley in Red Hook; and Liz Beals of Stuyvesant, a long-time local food advocate.

The word Locavore was coined in San Francisco at the 2005 World Environment Day to describe and promote the practice of eating a diet consisting of food harvested within a 100-mile area. The Locavore movement encourages people to grow their own food; buy from farmer’s markets, CSAs, and other local food programs; and to patronize restaurants, caterers and other food preparers that feature local ingredients.

Vicki Simons—long-time editor of The Independent Newspaper, executive director of Columbia County Bounty, and sparkplug for many causes targeting community improvement--was a strong proponent of Locavore activities as part of her commitment to see greater use of locally produced food and to keep agriculture an integral part of the community experience. 

As a writer and editor, she documented the shift to organic and niche farming activities locally, and as a motive force of Columbia County Bounty helped bring farmers together with chefs, restaurants and caterers to facilitate greater, more creative use of local food products. She also helped establish the Bounty model in Dutchess, Orange and Ulster counties as steps toward a Bounty program covering the entire Hudson Valley.

Simons died in 2010. 

Charitable contributions to the Victoria A. Simons Locavore Award Fund can be made c/o Hudson River Bank & Trust Foundation, P.O. Box 1189, Hudson, NY 12534.

Columbia County Fair is sponsored by A. Carlusso & Son, Inc. and Hudson River Bankd & Trust Co. Foundation