We’re biking across America to capture stories of the
Local Food Movement – 
through Potlucks.
 
 

The Breadbasket of the Revolution

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.

Like what you see? More photos on Flickr

Comments

Ken Brown said on Wednesday, May 05, 2010:

That’s beautiful country. I pass through every thanksgiving when we head out to Rochester for our family gathering.

Have you heard anybody talking about “fracking” [fracturing shale bedrock to harvest natural gas]? I wonder if farmers are being pressured to lease/sell their rights to the ground below their fields.

G-Ma said on Wednesday, May 05, 2010:

Hi Guys. So glad to here from you. Sorry about the cold weather. You will be wishing for some cool weather as you go thru the summer. It is a wonderful thing your doing. I wish you many good days & nights & plenty of good fresh food.

Love to you both – ride safe be safe

Donna said on Thursday, May 06, 2010:

Love that pic of RDubois

Ted and Mary-Pat said on Thursday, May 06, 2010:

We met you at lunch at Circa in Cazenovia yesterday and hope our confirmation of taking Rt 80 (instead of much of Rt 20) worked out for you today. Route 20 west out of Cazenovia has some brutal hills. Enjoy Skaneateles – one of the most beautiful vilages in NYS. Geneva or Canadaigua would be a god logical next stop for you guys. Bike carefully and enjoy the trip

Caroline B. said on Thursday, May 06, 2010:

Beautiful photos! I think it’s great you two are doing this. I look forward to more updates from the road!

Robert said on Thursday, May 06, 2010:

Hey Ted and Mary-Pat – the route was great, indeed. We ran into some serious head winds today, but the beauty of the dandelion fields made up for any pain we were feeling.

Thanks for the suggestions! We’re planning on Canadaigua for our next stop. Take care until next time.

Pita said on Sunday, May 09, 2010:

Hey guys! Glad to hear your trip is going so well. It will be exciting to hear of all your adventures. If you are up for it I am still offering my place up for one last pot luck if you can make it down to Los Angeles. I have a couple of friends who are very excited by local food and sustainable living. I’m sure they would love to help organize a big event in LA and they have some connections within the sustainable living community. Hope to hear from you soon! Bike safely and eat well!

Susan said on Thursday, May 13, 2010:

Love the photo of the bike on the tree! Awesome! Hope you are having the time of your life. Look forward to keeping up with your journey.

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