static1.squarespace-1Apple lovers, apple likers and even those who are on the fence about apples will find a lot to like and a lot to learn at the NOFA-NY Winter Conferencestatic1.squarespace in Saratoga Springs from January 22-24, 2016.

On Friday, January 22, the fruit workshop track begins at 9 am with Benign Neglect: Orcharding on the Horizon, a 3-hour workshop by Know Your Roots encompassing organic, biodynamic and holistic approaches in the orchard. After lunch from 1:15-4:30 pm, Cider Making from Fruit to Sale surveys the craft cider business with segments on orchard design, variety selection, equipment, licensing, and market opportunities. Thanks to South Hill Cider, Redbyrd Orchard Cider, and West Haven Farm.

feb9_13_0075Saturday afternoon from 3-4:15 pm features Cider: A Guided Tasting and Discussion of Cidermaking, a conversation with cider tasting on fruit selection, fermentation, blending & bottling and how these decisions affect flavor. Sunday from 9:30-10:45 am, Growing Good Fruit: Organic Insect and Disease Management is an opportunity to discuss apple pests and disease in New York. The highlight of this workshop will be an extended Q&A session to answer your questions on pest and disease management. You can send your questions to farmerhelp@nofany.org or bring them with you to the workshop.

Not an apple fan? Fear not, there will also be sessions on U-Pick Organic Strawberries (Saturday, 8-9:15 am), Fruit Tree Planting and Establishment (Saturday, 9:30-10:45 am), and Fruits for Small Gardens (Saturday, 3-4:15 pm). There are a lot of learning opportunities in fruit at the conference this year.

It’s not too late to register! Visit www.nofanyconference.org. We’re taking registrations through January 15.



Mushroom cultivation for food and medicine is a progressive and 10455698_779104102146445_223868833291702764_nexciting portion of the agricultural system. They can be an interesting niche and make for some added diversification in the ever-changing landscape of modern farming.

For the urban farmer with limited space, mushroom cultivation can be a profitable endeavor. From edible to medicinal, mushrooms can be cultivated in a number of ways and marketed from fresh to added-value products.

From 8 -9:15 am on Saturday’s Urban Farming Track, join Olga Tzogas from Rochester NY’s Smugtown Mushrooms and learn direct methods of mushroom cultivation. web-SMUGTOWN-master

Learn how to set up a fruiting room, lab, and the appropriate mediums for a growing substrate. Olga will review the benefits and challenges of indoor cultivation and how immersing yourself within the community not only lends itself to direct sales, but helps strengthen community ties. In her words, “cultures around cultivation.”

imgresMore and more studies are proving the positive symbiosis between mushrooms and human health. Many of these fungi have been cultured and administered for millennia. Olga will demonstrate how Smugtown Mushrooms not only provides Rochester chefs with high-demand fresh mushrooms, she will also examine the potential of growing for medicinal markets.

Whether considering fungi for profit or to enjoy cultivation for personal use, this presentation will certainly lead you in right direction.

“Grow” Your Grain & Field Crops Knowledge at Next Month’s Winter Conference


Considering where you want to spend your time at our 2016 Winter Conference? The Grains and Field Crops track has eight wonderfully diverse workshops, all serving our conference theme of “Good Hard Work.”

In the “growing” category:

  • George Wright from Castor River Farm in Metcalfe, Ontario, explains how his FrankferdFarmshull-less oats have become a popular breakfast cereal
  • Lyle Ferderber from Frankferd Farms Food shares his nearly 40 year-old story of how his farm still grows and mills local grain, and
  • Michael Cohen from Community Sharecroppers leads a discussion with other Capital District gardeners on how you can grow wheat on a small and affordable scale

Find a market and get to market:

  • Frankferd Farms Food takes you through the process of finding a
    market by creating products for local and regional customers
  • Half the grains sold by Castor River Farm are gluten free; learn from this expert on getting the popular gluten-free grains to market

Sharpen your skills by sharpening your blade:scythe

  • Take part in an interactive demonstration of peening and sharpening the European scythe blade by Emily Guirl and Elizabeth Benjamin from Scythe Supply.

How’s Your Soil’s Health?:

  • Cornell University’s Soil Guru Robert Schindelbeck provides comprehensive soil health assessment tools to guide soil management.

Heritage Grain Renaissance in the 21st Century:

You still can register now by visiting our website. For questions or if you would like additional information, please feel free to call our office at 585-271-1979 ext. 1. Thanks, and we look forward to seeing you in Saratoga Spring next month, January 22-24.

Four Innovative Farmers Launch Friday Morning Conference Intensive

unnamed-3See how the power of community and individual ingenuity can be fused to make great tools for the farm and homestead. Kicking off the Gardening and Homesteading track at the upcoming Winter Conference, January 22-24, 2016 in Saratoga Springs is FarmHack, featuring four growers’ perspectives.

Beginning at 9:00 am at this First Friday intensive, you’ll hear from Michael Cohen, a backyard grain grower discussing how he has repurposed and modified commonly available tools and devices to process his backyard grain.


Daniel Grover will discuss horse-powered market gardening equipment, updating the old and modifying new.

Erik Fellenz, certified organic market farmer with welder & shop experience will share time-saving tools he has built for the pack shed and field.

unnamed-2Andy Fellenz, NOFA’s Organic Fruit and Vegetable Coordinator and farmer with son Erik, will discuss a Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SARE) Farmer Grant project to build a high tunnel boom sprayer.  Chris Callahan—an Ag Engineer from the University of Vermont and FarmHack aficionado—will moderate and tie together the different strands.

Bring your questions and thoughts, and be prepared for a morning filled with new ideas and sharing!


Homeopathy and Nutrient Management Featured in Winter Conference Dairy and Grazing Track

grazing cows

NOFA-NY’s Annual Winter Conference will be held this January 22-24th 2016 at the Hilton in Saratoga Springs, NY, and has great things to share in the Dairy and Grazing Track!  We have an awesome lineup this year on topics ranging from pastured rabbits to pastured turkeys, developing pasture-watering systems that can handle the extreme weather conditions of New York, and managing nutrients in your pastures featuring Organic Valley Agronomist Mark Kopecky.  Each workshop during the Saturday and Sunday program is 75-minutes in length and spaced throughout the day to allow you to learn about multiple topics in the area of grazing.

NOFA-NY is fortunate to be able to feature within the Dairy and Grazing Track a day-long intensive workshop on Taking Your Homeopathic Skills to the Next Level.  We are excited to have expert veterinarians Susan Beal of Laughing Oak Farm and Mary Ellen Finger of Horseman Trail Farm lead this workshop focused on improving overall livestock health and providing remedies using alternative treatments.  The day will be interactive and will include a discussion about the dynamics of disease, obstacles that impact vital health and treatment response patterns, and a look at case studies.  There will be hands-on work with both the repertory (dictionary of symptoms) and materia medica (dictionary of medicines).  Participants will receive materials with their registration for this intensive course.

Register now by visiting our website to be sure you don’t miss out.  If you have questions or would like additional information, please feel free to call our office at 585-271-1979 ext. 1.  Thanks, and we look forward to seeing you at the conference!

Homeopathy books 2