We thought it would be great to introduce you to one of the farmers who sells their foods with Down to Earth Farmers Markets at Morningside Park Farmers Market in Harlem every week on the corner of 110th Street and Manhattan Avenue.
Down to Earth Farmers Markets writes that walking with a farmer always results in a feeling of gratitude. Somebody is out there growing our food. And it’s not only that – farmers think about how to grow more food, better food all the time.
On September 30th, 2015, the Down to Earth Markets crew had the good fortune to walk with Ken Migliorelli of Migliorelli Farm, a family run fruit and vegetable farm located in Northern Dutchess County in the Hudson Valley Region of New York.
Now in its third generation, Migliorelli Farm, almost had its breaking point in the early 1980s. The farm economy was brutal then, and Ken’s grandparents got close to walking away from it all. Ken had recently graduated from college, and convinced the family to try selling at farmers markets. They sold at their first market in 1982, and it proved to be the vehicle to get the farm up and running again.
Today they manage approximately 1,000 acres on their farm, including 60 acres of apples, 20 acres of pears, endless other orchard and vegetable fields, beef cattle, and a recent foray into rye, barley, and oats. (Note: Not an exhaustive list – just some of the crops that come to mind.) They join Down to Earth Farmers Markets in Queens, Park Slope, Larchmont, Piermont, Rye, and Morningside Park in Manhattan every week.
Migliorelli’s fruit orchards make their home on the highest points of their land. It’s proven to be advantageous for the farm, as frost settles in the lower lying areas. The high elevation saves their fruit trees on the rare occasion of a frost while the trees still bear fruit. Ken walked us through two different orchards: one with traditional apple tree growing and another with a new German modeling of apple growing that he saw in Italy.
While driving pass the pear orchard, we learned another thing: “The pear block is my favorite,” said Ken, “When these trees get covered by snow in the winter, they look like soldiers in formation. It’s beautiful see.”
Ken also toured us through several vegetable fields, fields of rye, storage facilities, and showed us the on site location for From the Ground Brewery. As he drove, he shared plans for the coming years: “I keep vegetables on a 3-4 year rotation with cover crops,” and then he gave details, field by field. It’s an art and science, for certain.
At one point during the drive, Ken said, “There’s nothing easy with agriculture. Well, ok, maybe lilacs. You grow lilacs and put them in a vase. That sounds pretty easy. But farming is definitely not a stagnant vocation.”
This story has been edited with permission from Down to Earth Farmers Markets for Harlem World Magazine.