KENOZA LAKE, NY — There are 12 farms listed on the Farmstock Working Farms tour in Sullivan County this year. That’s up from eight last year when the tour was initiated by the newly formed Sullivan County Farm Network.
The goal of the tour is to help support the local farming community while expanding agriculture and local food in the county. Along with that, according to the organization’s website, the aim is “to strengthen communication between those who grow food with those who consume it.”
In the case of the Rivendel Farm in Kenoza Lake on July 31, the communication not only concerned food but also wool. Lisa Rose, a wool spinner, gave a demonstration about felting. She said interest in such things as weaving, spinning and felting is growing along with the local food movement. A member of the Woodland Woodland Weavers and Spinners Guild, Rose said, “We’ve had quite an increase in our membership in the last couple of years because people are interested in getting back to things that are natural and doing more crafts kinds of things. We’ve got a lot of new members who are under age 25.”
She said the event at the Rivendel Farm was successful in helping to open communications to the non-farming community. Rose said, “We’ve had people who had never been on a farm before, coming in and seeing what it was all about. From my perspective, if you are going to use the fleece from an animal, they were able to see all the steps that go into that. There were a lot of people who said they never realized all the work that goes into farming.”
Linda Rajlevsky, who with her husband owns the farm, said that people had various reasons for going to the event. There were some that were thinking of getting into farming who had lots of questions. Rajlevsky added that one of the reasons she decided to have the event was to find out if they would enjoy adding an agritourism component to their sheep farming operation.
There are four more Farmstock events scheduled for this summer: on August 13, Rafters Farm in Roscoe will feature horse rides and free-range chickens; on August 20 the Oak Ridge Farm will demonstrate hands-on horse car, harnessing and driving; on August 27 at Channery Hill Farm in Callicoon Center, herbs and vegetable growing will be the topic along with canning and preservation; on September 3, at Bridle Hill Farm in Jeffersonville there will be a “western trail ride, and an English trotting lunge session.”
Go to www.sullivancountyfarmnetwork.org  for more information.
The Sullivan County Farm Network, meanwhile, continues efforts to support agriculture in other ways. On August 20, network members Cindy Gieger, Amy Erlwein and Sonja Hedlund travelled to Albany with several county officials to meet with New York State Commissioner of Agriculture and Markets Darrell Aubertine. See page 10.