Black Dirt farm in Orange CountyNothing pleases me more than to take a ride through the Hudson Valley and neighboring areas for no other reason than to get an eye full of our local farms and orchards.

This good earth of our Hudson Valley has sustained us for hundreds of years. For me, seeing working farms and orchards is amazingly comforting. There is indeed a great sense of permanence in the realization that these farms and orchards have provided and will continue to provide us with their bounty and beauty.

The next time you’re sojourning in the Hudson Valley, be sure to stop and appreciate the wonder of our farms and orchards. Take a peek at sheep grazing on a Columbia County hillside, grapes growing on a Dutchess County vineyard, dairy cows grazing on a Delaware County pasture, rows of corn along the banks of the Wallkill River in Ulster County or fruit laden orchards in any of our Hudson Valley counties.

If you make it down to the Black Dirt Region around Warwick and Pine Island in Orange County, grab a handful of farm soil and run it through your fingers. You will remember the look and feel of it forever.

It’s truly inspiring to see how our local farms have embraced new and beneficial farming techniques and concepts: Sustainable farming, natural and organic methods, biodynamic and diversified soil management, green farming, and humane treatment of farm animals just to name a few.

Do something good for yourself and your Hudson River Valley community. Purchase local produce and fruit, meats and poultry from our local farms and orchards, at farmers markets,  from farmstands or  pick-your-own farms and orchards or from vendors selling locally grown products. Join a Community Supported Agriculture program. Keep your eyes open for the restaurants that use local ingredients.

Supporting our local growers helps keep us and the Hudson Valley healthy and beautiful. I tip my hat to the families whose lives are engaged in the stewardship of so grand a natural gift. Here’s to you farm folks!

The Sojourner