Introducing Bear Creek Farm
The hamlet of Stanfordville is one of the small Dutchess County villages clustered around the Taconic Parkway in upstate New York. The first Dutch and French Huguenots colonists arrived in the late Seventeenth Century to farm its fertile Hudson Valley. By the middle of the Nineteenth Century the Industrial Revolution made its way up the Hudson, and, for a time, Stanfordville bustled with cotton and paper mills, wagon wheel and tool factories that harnessed the energy of the region’s many rivers. The revolution, though, proved short-lived, and the town returned to its agricultural origins. Today Stanfordville is at the center of the farm-to-table, slow food movement that has taken hold in Dutchess County. Sixty-seven percent of the land in Stanford, the town of which tiny Stanfordville is a part, is farmed. The county’s farms teem with diverse crops and livestock: you name it, and there is likely a Dutchess farmer who grows it. Hops, oilseeds, tree nuts all thrive in this rich soil. So do beef and dairy cattle and Heritage hogs. From the middle of the Nineteenth Century through the middle of the Twentieth, generations of family farmers lived and tended the apple orchards at Bear Creek Farm in Stanfordville. Like too many family farms, however, Bear Creek was left to lie fallow, and eventually the orchard disappeared. The number of Hudson Valley farms fell precipitously in the early 1970s through the 1990s. It was in 1986, during this period of decline, that entrepreneur Debra Kaye purchased the thirty-eight acres and restored the 1850 farmhouse. specialists at Cornell later, Debra planted a trial 500 tubers in the spring of 2014 and sold her first crop of 3,000 dahlias at Hudson Valley farmers’ markets. She was ready to take the next steps, preparing the land for continuous and sustainable use as a flower farm.