First Hudson Valley Harvest Festival attracts hundreds
Ulster County celebrates its rich agricultural history, one that took a hit with some of the severe weather we've dealt with since last year's tropical storms. As Solomon Syed reports, the first ever Hudson Valley Harvest Festival's proving to be a tribute to the area's resilience and recovery.
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NEW PALTZ, N.Y. -- A full array of fall's finest produce was on display at the Hudson Valley Harvest Festival.
"There are some absolutely beautiful products here," said Lydia Reidy of the county's Cornell Cooperative Extension.
That, in and of itself, is a reason to celebrate.
"People all over the county have been struggling with the weather," said Magen Markham, County Farming Market Coordinator.
Late last summer and early fall there was the flooding.
"We started with the damage of Irene and Lee," said Michael Berg, Family of Woodstock, Inc.
Then came heat, frost and drought.
"We had the earliest spring in the last 50 years, and that led to significant problems for our local commercial growers," explained Michael Fargione, Cornell Cooperative Extension.
New York's apples are down 54 percent according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Dry conditions have also shortened the pumpkin growing season and damaged other vegetables. Still, the haul at the harvest looked like a bumper crop thanks to a lot of hard work and hope.
"That's part of being a farmer, you've got to roll with the punches," said Mackenzie Boylen of Wright's Farm. "Next year's going to be a good crop so we have to look forward to that."
An event that brings out hundreds to sample the fruits of your labor certainly helps.
"We are going to have it every year," said Berg of the festival. "We can already see how successful it is, and it can only grow."
In addition to trying make this a yearly festival, the proceeds will also benefit the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County and Family of Woodstock, Inc.