No Farms, No Food: Senator Ball Fights to Save Local Hudson Valley Farm
Pine Plains, N.Y. – 8/15/2013 – Senator Greg Ball (R, C, I – Patterson) is fighting to for a local Hudson Valley Farm, Coach Farm, to be included back into a NYC farmer’s market that formerly accounted for 10 percent of their annual sales.
Coach Farm is located in the Hudson Valley town of Pine Plains, just two hours outside of New York City. Since they were first introduced over twenty-five years ago, Coach Farm cheeses have won many competitions and awards for their cheese, milk and yogurt all produced by their over 900 French Alpine dairy goats, born and raised on their farm.
“As a 4-H member in Dutchess County I toured this farm when it first opened and have visited the farm regularly as an adult. This is one of the treasures of the Hudson Valley and we need to work together to keep them. It has been made clear to me that their business has been dramatically and negatively affected by a decision to ban them from the New York City Greenmarket Farmers Market. This decision must be reversed. I join many local residents, including the dozens employed directly by the farm, in expressing real concern for the financial and emotional hardship caused by what seems like a mindless bureaucratic decision,” said Senator Greg Ball. “Growing up I ran a small private dairy farm, grew a 2 acre market garden and ran a small farm where I raised meat and produce. I sold the products I made at a small roadside food stand. The issues confronted by Coach Farm are close to my heart. Coach Farm employs local workers and is great for our local Hudson Valley economy. I am urging everyone to join this cause and help me reach out to our friends in elected and appointed positions who can help correct this obvious wrong. Let’s all fight until the New York City Greenmarket properly reconsiders their decision and includes Coach Farm into the farmer’s market. Rules are one thing but senseless red tape is another story and I am asking that those people who are in a position to right this wrong do so immediately.”
Coach Farm is located in the Hudson Valley town of Pine Plains, just two hours outside of New York City. Since they were first introduced over twenty five years ago, Coach Farm cheeses have won many competitions and awards for their cheese, milk and yogurt all produced by their over 900 French Alpine dairy goats, born and raised on their farm.
Miles and Lillian Cahn of Coach Leather Company founded Coach Farm over twenty-five years ago. When they owned the company it was a proud and prestigious member of the NYS Greenmarket. The Greenmarket is a program of the Grow NYC, a privately funded nonprofit organization, which works to conserve farmland and ensure a continuing supply of fresh, local produce to New Yorkers.
In 2008, Mr. Cahn sold the farm to Best Cheese Company, located in Mount Kisco New York. When Coach Farm reapplied for the Greenmarket they were deemed ineligible. Greenmarket citied that the new parent company, Best Cheese Company, while based in Mount Kisco, is actually a division of Uniekaas International based in the Netherlands. According to Greenmarket, Coach Farm is ultimately owned by a foreign entity and is no longer considered a farm and thus they are no longer eligible for the farmers market.
“The Greenmarket says we are not a farm. Tell that to the 28 New York residents that make up the crew here, who make the cheese, feed and milk the goats,” said Steven Margarities, President of Coach Farm. “We purchased Coach Farm to save it from bankruptcy. Unfortunately, with the Green Market’s decision not to allow us into the market, they have really given the company a death sentence. The survival of this company is directly tied to the revenue from this market.”
Mark Newbold, Coach Farm cheesemaker, said on average the farm’s sales annually at the Greenmarket would exceed $250,000 each year. In addition to these loss of sales Coach Farm has lost placement in some of NYC finer restaurants and replaced with other states products and even with foreign product. The Greenmarket provides visibility of their products to a diverse amount of people. Not being in the market accounts for more than a 10 percent dip in sales.
“We are a local Hudson Valley business that employs over two dozen local residents. Not being included in the Greenmarket has placed an extraordinary financial hardship on our small business. In 2012 Coach Farm’s losses exceeded $750,000. We can only loose so long before we are going to be forced out of business,” said Newbold. “It was my honor to give Senator Ball and his team a tour of our farm and to explain our hardships. I thank him for all the work he is doing on our behalf to help us get back into the Greenmarket.”
“At a time when local businesses are under unnecessary and inordinate stress from Washington and Albany, to allow a bureaucratic technicality to deny a “truly” local farm access to a thriving NYC market is government absurdity at its worst,” said Dutchess County Comptroller Jim Coughlan. “As a County Comptroller, I see assisting local business to grow revenue streams as a core purpose of County government.”
For more information contact Joe Bachmeier at Joe@ball4ny.com or (845) 531-9796.