At the intersection of 9G and Route 199 is the Montgomery Place Orchards Farm Market, where there has been a farm stand since the turn of the last century. I found Telea Fincke in the back sorting fruit while her daughter, Caroline, was taking the seeds from red raspberries to make jam. Telea and Doug tend the orchards with heart, and people say their fruit tastes better than what they can get down the road. "If we could just teach our trees to have the fruit ready on the weekends," Telea explained, people who visit would be happier. We started to talk about the seasonal nature of local fruit and produce, and that people are accustomed to having seasonal items at non-seasonal times. "We could grown more, but the heart would go out of it. Doug likes to touch every tree."
Our conversation turned to the economics of growing and farming, and the relationship with the way people want to buy food. Telea is as passionate about educating people as she is about being involved in the whole process of growing fruit and veggies: selecting the right piece of land, the right variety of trees, planting, tending, harvesting, and finally selling at the stand. We talked about the economic bind farmers are in, having to constantly produce more to keep their cash flow going at a rate that will sustain their business, only to have the increased production drive down the prices making it harder the next year to stay in business. "But, how do you change it?" she asked.
I learned a lot, and I knew there was more to learn. I bought two pints of the black raspberries. I could tell there was more to them than just fruit from a roadside stand. As I headed north to Hudson, I realized that the only thing simple about this fruit was finding Montgomery Place Orchards Farm Market on 9G.
Hudson Valley, NY