Farmers’ Markets in Full Swing!

A Guide to Columbia County’s Farmers’ Markets

It’s not hard to find fresh, beautiful produce here in the Hudson Valley—there are a countless number of farms in Columbia County alone! So, next time you need to stock up, skip the grocery store and head outside to your nearest farmers’ market to support your local farmers.

Here’s a list of farmers’ markets in Columbia County that are worth a visit:

Copake Hillsdale Farmers’ Market

Saturdays 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. May 26 – October 27, 2018

From baked goods to fresh flowers and live music, this market won’t disappoint. It’s situated right next to the Roeliff Jansen Park so bring along your dog and take a hike after you buy some goodies.

Hudson Farmers’ Market

Saturdays 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.  April 28 to November 17, 2018

Start by hitting up the Destino tent for some delicious breakfast tacos before visiting the different vendors at Columbia County’s largest farmers market.

Chatham Farmers’ Market

Fridays 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. June – October

Before heading home after work, make a quick detour to the Chatham Farmers’ Market located near the gazebo in the center of town and pick up some fresh ingredients for a delicious Friday night dinner!

Kinderhook Farmers’ Market

Saturdays 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. May – October

Join local farmers and food producers at the Village Green in Kinderhook for a wonderful market featuring different specialty vendors—from coffee roasters to creameries—every week.

Valatie Farmers’ Market

Sundays 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. May – September

End your weekend in Valatie picking out handmade soaps and fresh herbs at the market located just outside the Valatie Medical Arts Building. Make sure to stick around for the live music and occasional raffle drawings!

Woodlands & Wildlands at Spencertown Academy

Spencertown Academy Arts Center presents “Woodlands and Wetlands” art exhibition featuring artists Jacqueline Altman, James Coe, George Dirolf, Ellen Jouret-Epstein, Roger McKee, and Burdette Parks. The show is on display through June 17. Gallery hours are Saturdays and Sundays from 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Admission is free and the artworks are for sale; a portion of the proceeds benefits the Academy.

On June 3 at 2:00 p.m., Columbia Land Conservancy Stewardship and Education Manager Heidi Bock will give an illustrated talk titled “Woodland Pools: Important Habitats or Just Big Puddles?”; following the presentation and time to view the art exhibit, participants will have the option to join Bock at Harris Conservation Area in nearby Austerlitz, NY, where she will lead a nature walk to see the regional woodland and various wetlands. The nature hike isn’t too strenuous, but comfortable shoes are recommended as it is on wooded trails. Admission to both the talk and walk are free. Advance reservations are encouraged; please email art@spencertownacademy.org.

Volunteer Norma Cohenis curating this exhibition; Leslie Gabosh, Barbara Lax Kranz, and Lynn Rothenberg are also members of the Academy Gallery Committee. “Starting with a title and a simple idea about nature, the exhibit has dynamically developed into a compelling multi-media, multi-layered, textured, and interconnected ‘patchwork quilt’ of these two living environments,” says Cohen. “The artists acknowledge and celebrate the flora, fauna,and aquatic areas within these eco-systems through depictions of specific species, in addition to nature’s more encompassing vistas. With respect, creativity, and keen intellectual interest in their subjects, each artist makes unique contributions to the gestalt of the show.”

“Foggy Bank, Saranac River” by Burdette Parks

Join us for Family Fun Day!

It’s almost time to celebrate the most fun day of the year! This year, we’ll celebrate at Siegel-Kline Kill Conservation Area from 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m., and we have so much fun planned! Attendees can learn about fly tying from local expert BIll Newcomb, try their hand at archery with Stacy Preusser from DEC, and check out live animals from the Southern Vermont Natural History Museum. We’ll also have displays from the Ghent Town Historian, local master gardeners, and Zero to Go, an organization dedicated to zero-waste events. Families can build pollinator hotels, decorate a peat pot and plant a native plant, blow giant bubbles, and go on a nature-themed scavenger hunt.

There will also be new CLC swag available to purchase, music by Joe Adee, delicious barbecue for purchase from Capital Q, and free Stewart’s ice cream. Registration is strongly encouraged so that we can make sure there’s plenty of refreshments, and we ask for a $20/family donation. We ask that you please leave your lovely dogs at home for this event.

We thank event sponsors Key Bank and Columbia County Tourism for their support!

Register today!

Want to volunteer? Sign up here!

Please be sure to register so that we can be in touch in the event of a cancellation. We suggest a $20/family or $5/individual donation to support this event and all the great work we do at Siegel-Kline Kill and our other sites.

Best Spring Walks at Public Conservation Areas

Spring is finally here and it’s time to hit the trail! Lucky for you, CLC has miles of stunning trails open to the public at our Public Conservation Areas scattered throughout the county. To make it even easier, we have compiled a list of the can’t-miss walks and hikes of the season. What’d we miss? Let us know in the comments!

Blue/Stockport-Greenport Trail (Greenport Conservation Area)
After grabbing lunch in Hudson, take a walk near the Hudson River along the Stockport-Greenport Trail. Once you pass through fields of wildflowers, cross streams, and traverse forested slopes, you will be rewarded with breath-taking views of the Hudson River and the Catskill Mountains. To access this trail, follow the Access for All Trail until you reach the Blue Trail. This is a moderate out-and-back route around 2.6 miles.

 

Yellow to Blue Trails (Harris Conservation Area)
A great walk for families—follow the blue trail from the parking lot and find yourself walking upland into a beautiful hemlock forest. After connecting with the yellow trail, which will eventually loop you back around to the parking lot, you will pass a tranquil woodland pond, multiple active vernal pools, and an old stone wall. This site is rich in biodiversity, so while this walk is only one mile, you could spend hours here admiring the cool habitats and even cooler creatures.

Blue Trail to Green Trail (Drowned Lands Swamp)
Start on the relatively flat blue trail and skirt along the edge of the swamp. Your proximity to the wetland will be perfect for wildlife viewing, as well as catching sight of spring ephemeral wildlflowers. On your way back, you can take the Cross Trail to get to the Green Trail, which will lead you to the summit of Old Crocken where you will take in beautiful views of the Taconic and Catskill Mountains. This shorter walk is suited for visitors of all ages.

Green Loop Trail (Ooms Conservation Area)
This trail is beautiful at any time of the year, offering an almost two-mile walk around Sutherland Pond. Be sure to bring your binoculars because the rolling grasslands around the pond provides habitat for grassland birds, including the bobolink and several different sparrows. We’ve also seen eagles at the site, and heard rumors of osprey! If you get tired along the way, take a seat at one of the benches you pass or at the gazebo, which offers Catskill Mountain views to your west.

Foraging at Public Conservation Areas

It’s ramp season, and the allium lovers among us are ecstatic! We’d like to remind everyone that while some of our Public Conservation Areas may play host to the tasty treats, we do not allow foraging for ramps (or other edibles) at any of our sites.

Why not?

  • First and foremost, many ramps are overharvested to the point where their populations are threatened. CLC does not have the organizational capacity to closely monitor foragers and ensure that ramps are harvested sustainably.
  • Many ramps are also located off-trail. Going off the trails at our sites is highly discouraged, as there’s potential for foragers to damage fragile flora and fauna, like ephemeral spring wildflowers that are often growing at the same time ramps are. Pick closer to the trails, of course, and you risk noshing on a ramp that’s been previously doused by our trails’ many dog patrons!
  • And of course, there’s the potential that you could pick something poisonous, and harm yourself. For example, false hellebore looks a lot like ramps, and sends people to the emergency room each year.

Thanks for understanding and complying with this policy! You can also check out these tips to be a sustainable harvester if you find ramps on non-CLC lands that permit foraging.

Painting credit: Frans Ykens – Still Life with Shrimps, Ramps, Flowers and a Glass Vase

Conservation Advisory Council Meeting Coming Up!

Who can help you find information about what’s killing ash trees?  Or whether to believe tales about cougars? If your town is lucky enough to have a Conservation Advisory Council (CAC) they will be able to help. CACs are local advisory boards created by towns to provide information and consultation to the town regarding water, open space, wildlife, and natural resources.  Often, CACs help local residents as well as serving as an information resource for town councils and planning & zoning boards.

We invite you to learn about CACs and what they do at the Columbia County Conservation Advisory Council (CAC) Roundtable Wednesday, May 30, 2018 at the Philmont Public Library. Newcomers are always welcome. The agenda includes time for networking and brief updates about the activities of CACs from around the county. On the 30th, the guest speaker is Bill Schongar, regional forester with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Bill will discuss the “Right to Practice Forestry” law as well as local rules about forestry in our state.

Please contact Christine Vanderlan with any questions, and be sure to sign up if you plan to attend. CLC sponsors the CAC Roundtable meetings several times each year. If you cannot attend this one, we hope to see you at the fall Roundtable. Get on the Roundtable e-mail list to learn about upcoming meeting dates.

Spring has Sprung at Overmountain Conservation Area!

Sunday April 24, volunteers, trustees, and friends gathered at the soon-to-be-open Overmountain Conservation Area in Ancram for a sneak peek at what is to become CLCs newest and biggest Public Conservation Area.

Everyone was able to finish waking up by enjoying hot coffee and breakfast pastries while hearing about some of the historic use of the property and how it came to be donated to CLC. The group then split into two separate guided hikes lead by Trustee Will Yandik and staff member Ian Schillinger-Brokaw. These hikes delved deeper into the natural history of the area highlighting some of the unique features and critical ecosystems found on the property.

We walked out to a deep farm pond that was believed to have been an old schist quarry where they talked about farm ponds contributions to biodiversity. Even though they are man-made farm ponds have the potential to provide habitat for important macroinvertebrates such as Dragonflys!!! From here we moved onto a conversation about grassland bird habitat and what CLCs plans are to support these birds that are struggling in Columbia County and the greater USA. We then proceeded on to talk about some of the great work that has been done by the Greenagers and SCA crews on the property. These groups in addition to working on trails created many natural deer exclosures to protect small saplings from deer browsing. Being entirely constructed from wood and sticks found on site they proved to stand the test of time and remained mostly un-damaged over the past two years. It was quite heartening to see that inside the protective barriers many small saplings were thriving. These exclosures are an astatically pleasing, economical and effective way to help protect small stands of young trees on your property and are pretty easy to make on a sunny Sunday afternoon!!

There were several unexpected finds during the day. One of the boldest Savannah sparrows any of us had ever seen graced us with his song for several minutes atop the gazebo as we were getting ready to leave for our hikes. We then also found many Goldenrod galls created by gallflys and the wasps that try and eat them, woodpeckers that sounded like “drunk monkeys typing on an old type writer” and even the skeleton of a deer that most likely fell prey to some of the many coyotes in the area.

The event served as a perfect sneak peek into the potential of this new Public Conservation Area and CLC cannot wait to officially open its doors to everyone September 21. We hope to see you there!