Since 1972, Hawthorne Valley Farm (HVF) has been producing high-quality, biodynamic and organic foods while providing farm-based learning experiences for children and adults. Our 400-acre biodynamic farm includes a dairy herd, on-site dairy processing center and creamery, vegetable garden, four CSA groups, five Greenmarkets, certified organic bakery, lacto-fermented vegetable processing kitchen, a full-line natural foods grocery store, and Place Based Learning Center. HVF is a member of Hawthorne Valley Association, a diverse not-for-profit committed to social and cultural renewal through the integration of education, agriculture, and the arts.
The fermented foods business, aka the Sauerkraut Cellar, makes eight naturally fermented organic products, from plain sauerkraut to ginger carrots to kimchi. These ferments are so popular that we need to increase production to meet demand, and for this we need to upgrade our core piece of equipment — the cabbage shredder. This is a specialized piece of custom equipment to process cabbage, built to our specifications, and will cost $40,000. Increasing our production of fermented vegetables has a considerable impact on all aspects of our farm and its viability as a foodshed and dynamic agricultural institution. This equipment would allow us to buy, process and preserve more vegetables from more regional biodynamic and organic farmers, all while making traditionally-preserved nutritious fermented foods more widely available and understood. We believe that the demand for these products reflects an increasing public awareness of local, organic, high-quality foods, and we strive to meet that demand while retaining an ecologically-sound, hands-on, human scale of artisanal production. We believe it is possible to make these high-quality farmstead products on a scale which can meet some of the demands of our current industrialized food system, while establishing creative new routes of marketing and distribution, without compromising quality or integrity of the product or our collective values as a biodynamic farm and educational center. Expanding our production will also encourage a more widespread understanding of fermented foods and their benefits, all while continuing to co-create a unique, multifaceted, educational farm and local food hub in Columbia County. It starts with the right tools to do the job, and our ability to quickly shred thousands of pounds of cabbage is reliant on having this piece of equipment replaced.