HUDSON — The Hudson Valley AgriBusiness Development Corporation (HVADC) has announced the participants in the third class of its Farm and Food Funding Accelerator (FFFA) Program. Nine farmers and food entrepreneurs were selected from a wide field of applicants to join the intensive FFFA program beginning in November.
Through a customized program, FFFA participants will engage in expert instruction, one-on-one counseling and technical assistance, group interaction and industry networking events to learn how to build their sales in anticipation of speaking with investors, discovering new market opportunities, and pitching to potential funders. The FFFA program will conclude in spring 2020 with an opportunity for peer participants to meet New York City and Hudson Valley-based funders that are seeking to invest in ventures that support the local food system.
FFFA participants are all farm, food, fiber or agriculture-dependent businesses having their home office, farm or production facility in the Hudson Valley, and sourcing the majority of their product ingredients from the region, as well as the majority of their labor force.
Joining the FFFA 2019-2020 Peer Class are:
The Ardent Homesteader, Arden, Orange County: Kristin Nelson, Owner/President. The Ardent Homesteader makes handcrafted, small-batch, salted caramel sauces.
Ardith Mae Farmstead Goat Cheese, Stuyvesant, Columbia County: Shereen Alinaghian, Owner. Ardith Mae Farm is a small Animal Welfare Approved goat dairy with a herd of Saanen, LaMancha and Alphine goats, and produces a variety of French style cheeses, cow’s milk cheeses, mixed cheeses, goat milk soap and pestos.
Atina Foods, Catskill, Greene and Ulster Counties: Carrie Dashow and Suresh Pillai, Director of Operations and Director of Production. Producer of unusual condiments such as herbal jams, ferments and pickled goods using traditional South Indian Ayurvedic recipes.
Great Song Farm, Red Hook, Dutchess County: Emily Eder and Margaret Thomas, Owners. Great Song Farm is a diversified farm growing vegetables, herbs and flowers, offering a CSA, and also serving the restaurant market.
Laughing Earth Farm, Cropseyville, Rensselaer County: Zack and Annie Metzger, Owners. Laughing Earth raises chickens, pork, turkey and beef using organic grain and pasture-based, regenerative management.
Prospect Hill Orchards: Farm Markets, Milton, Ulster County: Pamela Clarke Torres, Owner. Prospect Hill is a 200 year old family farm selling high-quality seasonal fruit and also produces dried apples and granola.
Screamin’ Onionz, Millbrook, Dutchess County: Richard and Alicia Romano, Owners. Using locally sourced onions, Screamin’ Onionz produces slow-cooked craft sauces.
Soulcraft Farm Brewery, Cambridge, Washington County: Jamie Caligure, Owner/Brewer. As a farm brewery, market and creative space, Soulcraft collaborates with local farmers, growers and producers to create unique craft beverages
Vital Eats LLC, Malta, Saratoga County: Reuben Schwartz and Jude Goldman, Co-owners. Vital Eats produces vegan plant-based, artisan sauces, condiments and gourmet fare, with products including jerky, hot sauce, ketchups, cheese sauces, and salsas.
Some FFFA Peers will first be introduced at The Valley Table’s Hudson Valley Restaurant Week Fall Kick-off being held Oct. 28 at Sloop BrewingCo.@The Factory in Hopewell Junction as part of the networking and presentation aspects of the FFFA program. Valley Table magazine is the media sponsor of the FFFA program.
Brianna Merrill will be serving as FFFA Program Coordinator, joining the advisor team with a background in farming and food systems.
“As our third class, the new FFFA participants represent the diversity of the farmers and makers in the Hudson Valley, as well as the geographical footprint that HVADC covers. Our past Peers will contribute to the program as mentors and at networking events to share their experiences with funders,” said Mary Ann Johnson, Deputy Director, HVADC. Johnson added that as a funding accelerator program, nearly $1 million in outside investments has been secured by businesses that graduated from the program thus far.
Participants in the just concluded 2018/2019 FFFA class were: Battenkill Valley Farms, Berle Farm, Farmer & Baker, Gray Family Farm, Gopal Farm, J.S.K. Cattle Company, Local Artisan Bakery, Miracle Springs Farm, Phoenicia Honey Co., and Veeda Holi Hydration. Those participating in the 2016/2017 class were: Argyle Cheese Factory, Balet Flowers and Design, Fishkill Farms, The Green Onion, Lavenlair Farm, les collines, Minkus Family Farms, Raspberry Fields Farm, and Soukup Farms. In addition to funding, past Peers have garnered scholarships or concessions through pitch competitions with Middletown’s Race4Space (Farmer & Baker), SUNY ADK Business Plan Competition (Lavenlair Farm and Argyle Cheese Factory), the SUNY New Paltz marketing intern completion (Gopal Farm) and the farmers market association business plan contest (Battenkill Valley Farms).