This webinar examines how two New York counties supported the development of food processing facilities to help farmers expand their businesses and create jobs and opportunities for residents.
Download the Powerpoint Presentations
Farm to Table Co-Packers [PDF]
Read About the Speakers
Chris Harmon, Executive Director, Center for Agricultural Development & Entreprenuership
Chris Harmon originally hails from Indiana and graduated from Ball State University in Muncie with a Bachelor of Science degree in land resource management with a focus on soil science, and a minor in energy resources. He moved to New York in 1991 to work for The Nature Conservancy as the Preserve Manager of the Lower Hudson Chapter and later became the Director of Stewardship Operations for the Eastern New York Chapter when the two chapters merged.
Chris left The Nature Conservancy in 2002 to pursue his dream of farming. With his wife and two children they purchased a 117 acre farm in Otsego County and began raising grass fed beef, pastured poultry and hogs. He sold at several farmers’ markets for six years. He now sells primarily to individuals, restaurants and CSA’s. Chris and his family now run a hundred head of beef and farm 300 acres. Harmon became the Executive Director of CADE, the Center for Agricultural Development and Entrepreneurship, in 2007 after deciding to scale back his farming operation in order to spend more time with his family.
CADE, Inc. is a non-profit agricultural development organization serving farmers and agricultural businesses in New York. Since its inception, CADE has worked to connect producers of value-added farm products to markets. The organization conducts research on agricultural opportunities and markets with the goal of building a thriving community-based regional food system. CADE is basically a non-profit consulting firm in the area of Sustainable Agriculture. They provide strategic, technical assistance to clients (farmers, distributors, slaughterhouses, creameries, and commercial kitchens) in the areas of business development, financing, accounting, e-commerce, distribution and marketing.
Chris and his wife, Kara, and two children, Toby and Addison, live in Upstate New York on Sunset View Farm in Milford in Otsego County.
Jim Hyland, President, Winter Sun Farms; Partner, Farm to Table Co-Packers
Jim Hyland and his family moved to the Hudson Valley to become involved in the growing local, sustainable food movement. In 2006, Jim received a $59,160 NYS (FAID) Grant to conduct a feasibility study on creating a regional label for a line of frozen vegetable products.
Winter Sun Farms started with the simple notion of wanting more local food all year long. Jim’s idea came from the personal experience of freezing his surplus CSA share, so his family could enjoy local food in the winter. Winter Sun Farms works with small local farms to freeze their produce and then distributes it through membership in a winter CSA program. By supporting Winter Sun Farms, members get great tasting food while supporting local farms. This year Winter Sun Farms had over 1,400 winter share members and has started selling to colleges and schools.
The growth of Winter Sun Farms and the lack of regional food processing kitchens, has led Jim to build a new 21,000 sq ft processing kitchen in Kingston N.Y. called Farm to Table Co-Packers. With his business partner, Luc Roels (Pika’s Farm Table), they have converted an old IBM cafeteria kitchen into a full production kitchen. Besides producing Winter Sun Farms products the kitchen offers co-packing services to farmers and food entrepreneurs throughout the region. The kitchen will also include a 1,000 sq ft incubator kitchen where farms will be able to do small batch production and product development.