Where we source is guided by our "do no harm commitment" - we use only sustainable seafood, grass-fed meats, and pasture-raised poultry. And we believe part of this commitment is to support and buy from our local farming community in the Northeast Region as much as we can.
To do this we work with Hudson Valley Harvest to source the majority of our produce, grass-fed meats, and pasture-raised poultry. As the aggregator and distributor for over 50 farmers in the NY Hudson Valley, Hudson Valley Harvest makes it possible for us along with a number of other restaurants, retailers, and institutions (like schools, offices, etc) in the Tri-State Area to buy local. Historically the process of buying directly from small farmers has been incredibly inefficient. But Hudson Valley Harvest helps to streamline the process of purchasing by working directly with the farmers to aggregate their products and then distribute it on their behalf taking over the cumbersome logistical process of deliveries throughout the city.
To share more details on the company and how it got started, we checked in with the founder, Paul Alward.
Why did you start Hudson Valley Harvest?
Paul: Myself and three other co-founders started it to connect farmers and eaters. We know there’s a lot of talented men and women in the valley growing amazing products, and a lot of people who want safer, traceable, more flavorful food. Our mission was to connect them.
What is the state of the farming industry in our region and forecast for the near future?
Paul: It’s challenging, but the farmers in the valley are innovators. They’ve survived by being open to change. Progressive methods, variety of crops, changes in growing methods, they do whatever it takes to produce the best food.
What challenges are farmers having in the region that Hudson Valley Harvest helps solve?
Paul: I think as tastes and buying habits constantly evolve, Hudson Valley Harvest helps small to midsize farms access the wholesale market. For decades everything has been scaled up and moved national and international. Regional markets suffered and infrastructure was lost. As consumers taste change towards local, traceable, sustainable, flavorful food it helps us de-commoditize the food system. It stops being all about price and starts being about whats best. Hudson Valley Harvest helps farmers access those markets again.
Can you share any success stories that have happened because of farmers you've worked with?
Paul: We’re proud to say that most of the farms that started with us 6 years ago are still with us today. Whether it’s changes to their crop plans, increased or newer varieties, high tunnels or greenhouses to extend the season, or just more acres in production we’ve been fortunate to be able to effect change.
Buying locally is a win for everyone - dollars stay in the community, food tastes better, and there is less of an impact on the environment from shorter transportation. We're incredibly thankful to have partners like Hudson Valley Harvest that are committed to helping farmers succeed and also believe in creating a traceable and transparent path for understanding where your food comes from.