With an interest in sharing their finds and promoting local food producers, they started Hudson Grown a Web site devoted to "good eating in the valley." The site offers a number of handy resources, my favorite being the "edible map." Hudson Grown also features timely articles on local restaurants and food trends. Kelly's enthusiasm and knowledge, coupled with Paul's gorgeous photography make this site pleasing to all senses.
Kelly and Paul were kind enough to answer some questions as they prepare for the spring harvest.
What inspired you to launch Hudson Grown?
I like to write, Paul likes to shoot beautiful food and we both love supporting local producers. It seemed a natural outlet for all of our interests. Plus, it's a good excuse to explore and meet people making wonderful things.
Local food awareness can't possibly be a new trend, why do you think it's become so popular recently?
Well all the foodies have been touting it forever because local food means its in season, and therefore at peak deliciousness. But I think it really hit home when oil prices spiked and then food prices followed. I think it was a reality check for people: why is the price of gas tied to the price of food? Local eggs suddenly didn't seem so pricey.
Combine that with increasing awareness of the environment and toss in a couple scares (peanuts, etc.) and you've got people really examining where everything comes from.
I believe the last spike of interest was during the energy crisis of the 70's. And while people arrive at this from a few different directions, those people interested organic foods for reasons of health or foodies who do it for flavor or quality that can't be had any other way, it's only been a short time that eating locally is "a choice".
Where do you shop for your food?
Paul and I belong to a CSA and Beacon has a year-round farmer's market. A local friend has organized a group for purchasing directly from farms for things like meat, poultry and milk. We're also fortunate that Beacon Natural Market carries lots of local items, like stone ground flour from Wild Hive Farm.
Is there one Hudson Valley food experience that cannot be missed?
Well, I surely haven't tried all of them, but spring time is the best for visiting baby animals. Sprout Creek Farm has lots of calves and lambs and you can taste the cheeses they make there. Goat kids get very excited when people come to visit!
In the fall, the Hudson Valley Garlic Festival is a lot of fun - and garlic grown up here is slightly different from what you'll find in the supermarket. Go hungry.
Do you have any recommendations for people who are looking for local food in their own areas?
Go talk to the farmers and patrons at your local farmer's market. If you don't know where one is, LocalHarvest.org is a fantastic resource.