Thursday, August 7, 2008

Saunderskill Farms at the Ellenville Farmers Market

I look forward every week to the Ellenville Farmers Market. Saunderskill is one of the reasons why. I usually stock up on my local produce from them for Aroma Thyme Bistro. I love their tomatoes, green beans and berries.

The history of Saunderskill Farms (named for the tributary of the Rondout Creek that flows through it) is as rich as the soil that has supported it for 12 generations. Originally granted to Lieutenant Hendrick J. Schoonmaker by Peter Stuyvesant in 1663 as payment for military service, the family's original 300 acres of prime Rondout bottomland has been continuously farmed since 1680.

Second in age only to the Hull family farm in Southhold, Long Island, Saunderskill Farm now includes more than 800 acres of vegetables, flowers and orchards. The stone manor house, built in 1787, still stands on the property, as does the barn that housed oxen used to pull barges on the Delaware & Hudson Canal, a section of which meanders through the property. Saunderskill is one of the few farms in the nation to have received the rare Tricentennial Award from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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