First up in our deep diving newsletters is Blue Star Farm-- the WINNER of HFM's BESTtomato two weeks ago. If you're a regular to the Hudson Farmers' Market then you know our vendors by name. Sue Decker is the owner, operator, and smiling face of Blue Star Farm. The vibrant and always laughing woman you see each week!
[Market is every Saturday, rain or shine. Hours are 9am to 1pm. Corner of 6th and Columbia St.]
Sue's path toward farming began when she was a core member of a NYC CSA while working in graphic design for Time Warner. Her involvement with the CSA, as both a member and their newsletter writer, solidified her interest and commitment to farming. Sue had a drive to pursue more meaningful work and within a year transitioned into internships at Windflower Farm in Easton, NY and then Charlestown Farm in Phoenixville, PA.
The owners of Charlestown Farm were in the process of stepping away from on-the-ground management and Sue proved to be the right person for the job. She worked as their farm manager for 3 years before starting Blue Star Farm in Styuvesant, NY in 2008.
Her first full season farming was extremely rainy-- what she described as the worst in a hundred years. The rain effected the crops so much that she was forced to link up with Beth's Farm Kitchen for additional income. This was also where she established connections in Kinderhook that led to renting multiple acres of farmland that she is still using to this day.
Her Stuyvesant farmland is mostly dedicated to greenhouse growing and storage facilities (washing, cooler, etc), but it's also where she has bee boxes, chickens, fruit and nut tree orchard experiments (like paw paws, Asian pears, peaches, and pecans), and her home. The farmland in Kinderhook is for field crops like strawberries, garlic, cucumber, greens, melons, and so much more.
Sue's commitment to regenerative agriculture is clear. She and her team really do grow with such integrity and quality-- maintaining that level of attention is pretty marvelous. Because Blue Star is Certified Naturally Grown [and SOLAR powered!] they are not interested in spraying anything on the crops. Getting on top of pests can lead to creativity. Dealing with a microscopic soil pest recently, Sue experimented with growing a cover crop of mustard greens, chopping them up, and solarizing the mix to create a low-key mustard gas. She's not quite sure it will work to combat the pests, but she's in good spirits about it.
Right now Sue is planning for next year while still growing and harvesting outdoors. She just put in a pond for additional irrigation. She also has a group of women growing marigolds on a parcel of her land for Dia de Los Muertos as a type of micro-incubator. She has all her winter green starters ready-- hoping to transplant soon for both winter and spring harvest.
Bringing that creative energy to everything she does, her previous experiments in growing turmeric and Thai ginger have been super successful. She is currently years deep and both crops have a strong customer base who looks forward to when these are available at market. Another path she is following is frozen, vacuum-sealed fruits and vegetables as a way to extend the life of her harvest and to provide you will wholesome veggies during the winter.
If you love us and Blue Star and stand alongside our history please vote for usas one of the nation's best farmers' markets. Recognition and participation is enough for us, but the cash prizes would be amazing. This means we could expand our community offerings!
The Kitchen Girls are performing from 10am to noon. Our vendors love when they are at market! This will be a paired down performance, but we're certain it will still be a ton of fun.
Wild Roots will be joining us in guest tent #1 (juniper blue goat milk soap pictured above). Hudson Valley Distillery will be in guest tent #2. Artemisia Negra is in Edenesque's spot (Jaguar Mary among the artemisia pictured below). Elementsof Beauty will be in guest spot #3. And the Firemen's Association of New York will be in guest spot #4.