Posted by Aaron Zueck | May 04, 2010
Having some roadside fun. Check out more photos at flickr.com/bikeloc
After one more day heading south through Vermont on the beautiful Champlain Lake Bikeway, we crossed the Larabees Ferry – a beautiful 2 dollar ride across the lake. And all of the sudden we were in New York. The unofficial state car of Vermont, the Subaru, was now less common. Barroom conversations seemed to revolve around horse and car racing, and surely lawn-care, since we were seeing fresh-cut grass everywhere. And the unified local-food pride we’d seen in Vermont was less apparent – syrup and cheese stands proudly proclaiming their foods’ local heritage, which were common in Vermont, had disappeared, or at least been more broadly displaced by Price Chopper, Wal-Mart, and Stewart’s.
But the terrain lost none of its beauty.
We rode through the Adirondacks and past Saratoga Springs, couch surfing after a nearly 80 mile day.
Saturday, we were potluck-bound. With weary legs, we met Michelle at the Schoharie (pronounced “Scary” by the locals) County building. Michelle had volunteered to organize the potluck as a way to bring some of the members of the valley together around food at a critical point. The area was known as the breadbasket of the Revolution – and its residents are proud of the fact that it fed George Washington’s army. Agriculture still remains the primary driver of the local economic engine.
But that engine has been sputtering for a while. Dairy farms, just like we saw in Vermont, are fighting a steep uphill battle. Some members of the community are making change, and we were able to learn their stories over a potluck and a few more meals. We were put up by Jim and Adele Hayes at Sap Bush Hollow Farm where we saw first hand what it takes to operate a grass-fed meat farm. The Hayeses told us about the challenges they have overcome in the last 32 years in turning their hilly land into premium pasture, and producing some of the finest meats around. These people are in the same league as Joel Salatin, who you may remember from Food Inc.
Since then we’ve been dodging storms, bobbing up and down hills, and making some interesting homestay friends. We’re making our way westward to the finger lakes and more local food adventure, hailstorms be dammed.
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