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Steve Knight, CEO of United Helpers, stands in front of the safe in the old Community Bank building in Canton.  He hopes this will be part of a business incubator and food hub for the agricultural community.  Photo: David Sommerstein.
Steve Knight, CEO of United Helpers, stands in front of the safe in the old Community Bank building in Canton. He hopes this will be part of a business incubator and food hub for the agricultural community. Photo: David Sommerstein.

How "food hubs" could create jobs in the North Country

According to the USDA, there are more than 200 regional "Food Hubs" in the US. The USDA says it believes the hubs "offer strong and sound infrastructure support to producers across the country which will also help build a stronger regional food system."

New York recently announced funding for four more across the state, including one in Canton, through its Regional Economic Development Councils. Canton's grant is for $350,000. The details are still in flux, but David Sommerstein spoke with one of the project's organizers, United Helpers CEO Steve Knight, to get a sense of the food hub's vision.

United Helpers is a non-for-profit organization known more for health care than for work on food issues, but it's bought the old Community Bank building, on Main Street in Canton, to house its new for-profit business incubator, Sparx Corp. Sparx, says Knight, is a partner in the food hub project.  Go to full article
North Country wines were featured at the Viticulture 2013 conference in Rochester earlier this month.  Photo: David Sommerstein.

What North Country wineries are doing right

When you hear New York wines, you probably think about the Finger Lakes. Wineries in that region have become world famous for their Rieslings and other white and red wines.

There are four other official wine regions in New York - the Hudson Valley, the shore of Lake Erie, the Niagara Escarpment, and Long Island.

There are also almost 30 wineries in the North Country, and wine aficionados are starting to take notice.  Go to full article
Eric Andrus working on his farm-to-market sailboat. Photo: Sarah Harris

Can North Country farmers feed NYC market?

Demand for local food has skyrocketed in big cities like New York and Boston. But do North Country farmers have a role to play in feeding those cities?  Go to full article
Dairy farmer Mike Kiechle of Philadelphia, NY, spreads manure from his tractor. He's the kind of small farmer the new rules are trying to target, but he says he doubts he'll grow his herd bigger. Photo: David Sommerstein

Will the Greek yogurt boom help dairy farmers?

Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced New York will be one of four states in a test program to include Greek yogurt in school lunches.

State...  Go to full article
An Amish farm in St. Lawrence county. Photo: Sarah Harris

Amish farmers partner with Agri-Mark

Most of the North Country is losing population, and losing farms. But there's one group that keeps growing: Old Order Amish. They're drawn to the St. Lawrence Valley by the...  Go to full article
Chicks at Renee Smith's farm, DeKalb Junction, NY. Photo: Julie Grant

Local chicken processing gets USDA cerification

The North Country local food movement just got a big boost. The ribbon was cut Thursday on a new, USDA-certified, mobile poultry processing unit.

The project is...  Go to full article
Les and Erica Goodman. Photo: Sarah Harris

From milk to beer: Dairy family switches to hops

Agriculture in the North Country is changing - and the evidence is everywhere. For the Goodmans, a longtime dairy family in Fort Ann, in Washington County, it's time to get...  Go to full article
Cows grazing at Bob Zufall's farm in Lisbon, NY. Photo: David Pynchon

Two farms, two very different views on sustainability

The term sustainability is now commonplace. Everything from furniture, to travel, to shopping at Walmart is described as "sustainable." Usage has stretched so far that it's...  Go to full article
The Northern Grape Project's test vines at Coyote Moon winery, Clayton. Photo: David Sommerstein

North Country wines survive the cold, please the palate

The New York wine industry is booming. According to the New York Wine and Grape Foundation, five million people visit New York wineries every year. The industry generates...  Go to full article
Ellen Beberman's hillside market garden. Photo: Zach Hirsch

Listen: Ellen Beberman on mountain gardening

Ellen Beberman is the manager of the farmers market in Tupper Lake, where she also sells her own produce. She grows her onions, leafy greens, carrots in perhaps the last...  Go to full article
Michael Aubertine pours out a sample of one of his spirits at the Clayton Distillery. Photo: Joanna Richards

Local food craze hits booze market, too

The local food trend in the north country is starting to fill a new niche: alcoholic beverages. And not only are brewers and winemakers crafting their products here, but...  Go to full article
Roseanne Gallagher, with chickens. Photo: Sarah Harris.

Certified naturally grown: an organic alternative

It can be expensive and time-consuming for farmers, especially small farmers, to go through the organic certification process. But there's another option. It's called...  Go to full article

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