Spring Growth

Spring Growth

Thursday, December 15, 2011

From Edible Finger Lakes...

Local Hero Farm, 2010: Sweet Land Farm
Written by Jessie Cacciola
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Every year, we hold our own version of the Oscars: the Local Hero Awards. This year, since we have this great blog space now, we're looking back at all our past winners, every day till the voting booth closes this Friday, December 16th.

Each December, readers vote for their local hero chefs, farmers, non-profits and artisans, and the following March, the winners are awarded with a feature in the magazine. This week, we're looking back at the winners of 2010, when Sweet Land was our hero farm. (Their winter CSA, by the way, which runs now till February, still has a few shares left. Head over here to nab one, prorated at a sweet late-comer discount. They've also extended pick-up to Brooklyn this year, if you know of any downstate friends looking for a bi-weekly supply of squash, winter greens and garlic.)

The following appeared as a Notable in our spring 2011 issue.

Farm: Sweet Land Farm

By Jessie Cacciola

Whether for its rich, glacial highland soil or the delicious abundance in yields, the Sweet Land Farm moniker works. Founded in 2003 by Paul Martin and Evangeline Sarat, the members-only operation in Trumansburg owes its genesis to a 1999 conference on community-supported agriculture where the couple met. "We just got caught up in the bug of farming," says Martin, who, like Sarat, dropped out of college to pursue a hands-on education on small farms in Lancaster County Pennsylvania, and in Cortland, New York.

Since buying what was previously a dairy, they've developed a seven-year rotation to insure that from season to season, none of their 70 crops is sown repeatedly in the same location. They also put a premium on enhancing soil fertility. "We sow a cover crop after every vegetable, to put back what we took from the soil," says Martin, "and an extra cover crop to give back to the land."

With a hoop house and a root cellar in the mix—plus U-pick herbs, strawberries, flowers and more—Sweet Land offers both summer and winter memberships. "Our mission is to run a farm business that helps our family, community and environment to thrive in health, spirit and economy," says Martin. "We like families to come out and enjoy it."

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