Sullivan County Democrat
Callicoon, New York
April 10, 2012 Issue
National Award-winning, Family-run Newspaper
Established 1891
news | sports | obituaries | archives | classifieds | subscribe | links | contact | tv listings | lottery



"The Wild Gardener"
Peter Loewer's Weekly
Column in the Democrat

"The Mouth That Roars"
Bill Liblick's Weekly
Column in the Democrat

"Inside Out"
Jeanne Sager's Weekly
Column in the Democrat

"Give Us Paws"
Ruth Huggler's Weekly
Column in the Democrat

John Conway's Look Back at the History of Sullivan County

Sullivan Renaissance

Sullivan County Chamber
Of Commerce & Industry

Sullivan County
Visitor's Association

Sullivan County
Government Center

Sullivan County
Partnership for
Economic Development

Please visit our
Community Links
section for other
Sullivan County

PLEASE NOTE: If you bookmark a particular link from the current news, sports or obituaries offered on our Website, be aware that the URL address will change once it is archived. Bookmarking an archived link is therefore the surest way to retain access to a particular article.


Anya Tikka | Democrat

Sullivan County Farmers’ Market Manager Joseph Lennon said the last indoor market of the season at the Delaware Youth Center was one of the largest of the season.

Report: County’s farmers can tap huge market

By Anya Tikka
CALLICOON — Sullivan County could be the prime fresh food supplier for the Metropolitan New York City area according to the new study by the Open Space Institute.
Working together with the Urban Design Lab of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, Catskill Mountainkeeper, the Upper Delaware Preservation Coalition and the Watershed Agricultural Council, the report details that not only are several local farms already supplying markets and high end restaurants in the city, but the demand by the metro area for fresh, locally grown quality food is also steadily increasing, making local farming a potent economic player in the region.
The report, “Ground Up: Cultivating Sustainable Agriculture in the Catskill Region” (view it at was presented at the Callicoon Farmers’ Market on Saturday. According to Jennifer K. Grossman, Vice President for Land Acquisition of the OSI, the next steps in the process are the distribution and marketing: how to get the produce to the growing urban markets efficiently and profitably.
A farmer profiled in the report, Greg Swartz of Willow Wisp Organic Farm in Damascus, PA, said he’s already supplying the metro markets on his own, but, “I want more farmers in this area, because together we can be more successful. It’s not competitive [right now].”
He added that the success in this area depends on the support of the local community, and “I need to get my price.”
Swartz emphasized that in order to provide quality fresh produce, the price will actually be higher due to the cost of both farming and distribution and storing.
Grossman and Swartz both explained that the government sets the price of milk below the cost of production, making it hard for the farmers. One of the solutions offered by Grossman is something called “value added processing,” in this case making cheese, yogurt and ice cream out of the milk, products that are not regulated by the local government, and could be sold at a higher prices as specialties of the region.
“What if we had our own creamery, selling our own ice cream brand, yogurt and so on”, she wondered.
County and state legislators are taking interest in the new possibilities presented by the report. New York Assembly member Aileen Gunther said “I’ll take this for you to Albany. I’m here to support you.”
Luiz Aragon, commissioner of the Sullivan County Division of Planning and Environmental Management also pledged his support, acknowledging the ever growing demand for locally grown fresh foods due to the increasing consumer awareness of the health benefits. He said he’s working with a group of farmers with further plans. One of the initiatives that came up in the presentations is too get schools to serve local milk in support of the local farmers.
Farmers’ Market Manager Joseph Lennon estimated about 300 people came to the market on the rainy Easter Saturday, a larger turnout than usual.
“This is our last market indoors,” said Lennon. “Next week, we’ll move outdoors.”
Congressman Maurice Hinchey could not attend due to being sick.
In addition to Swartz, Mark Dunau, John Gorzynski, Richard Dirie, Tim Tonjes, and Marc Jaffe are the five local farmers featured in the report for their successful farming and businesses. Gorzynski actually started NYC’s first Greenmarket, and is the overall go-to mentor for local potential farmers.
Swartz said local apprenticeship is crucial in the process. He spent eight years as an apprentice before branching out on his own, a key factor, he claimed.
“Farming here isn’t easy, you have to learn the local conditions of soil, weather etc.” He added it’s the same wherever you farm. Swartz grows 50 different vegetables on 12 acres with his wife Tannis Kowalchuk, and “the business in growing.”
Many speakers emphasized how farming has a low carbon footprint, and does not threaten the environment or water, making it an attractive economic growth industry for the area. Local support is very important,
“Let’s keep buying!” said Gunther to enthusiastic applause.
“There has never been a problem with the production,” said Grossman, adding marketing/branding, and distribution/transport are the key areas to work on.

Copyright © 1999-2012 Catskill-Delaware Publications.
The information you receive online from the Sullivan County Democrat Online Edition is protected by the copyright laws
of the United States. Please read our user agreement and our use information
privacy statement.
Internet Services provided by Time Warner, Site Design by Green Enterprises

Please be aware that once a new issue is posted on this site, the immediate previous issue's links change. Check our Archives section to obtain the new links for old issues.
top of page       top of page