Town of Rochester (November 16, 2021)— The Open Space Institute (OSI) today announced the transfer of a nearly 300-year-old farm in the Ulster County town of Rochester to the Hudson Valley Seed Company. Located between the Catskill Mountains and the western side of the Shawangunk Ridge, the property is near several other OSI-protected farms and is part of the highly visible and historically significant agricultural lands in the center of the Rondout Valley.
The 107-acre property was sold to Hudson Valley Seed Company (HVSC) and consists of productive farmland and woods, with almost two miles of the property running along Route 209, and Airport Road. The land will continue to be maintained as agricultural fields into the future and used by HVSC for certified-organic, locally sourced, and sustainably grown heirloom seed production.
“In an area with deep agricultural roots, protecting long-established farmland is key. Having conserved this property more than a decade ago, OSI has full confidence that the Hudson Valley Seed Company will continue our careful stewardship of the land and further the rich agriculture history of the Rondout Valley with its sustainable growing practices,” said Kim Elliman, president and CEO of the Open Space Institute.
“We are grateful to OSI for being accommodating partners and for recognizing our shared interests in seeing the property put to agricultural use in a way that is thoughtful and deliberate. This project resonates with HVSC's values to protect and steward the land so that it will remain biodiverse, while at the same time becoming agriculturally productive,” said Doug Muller, Co-Founder and Managing Director of the Hudson Valley Seed Company. “The seed company's mission is to steward and celebrate open-pollinated and organically-grown seeds. The new location will host dozens of seed crops each year; demonstration and trial gardens, in which existing varieties will be showcased and new varieties will be evaluated and developed; and an art gallery. The site will allow our company to reach its maximum potential, and we are thrilled to have worked with OSI to lay the foundation for a really exciting project.”
“We are delighted to be able to partner with the Open Space Institute and the Hudson Valley Seed Company in conserving this important place. We were especially pleased that the property will be used to cultivate so many of Hudson Valley Seed Company’s products and that the land will continue to be sustainably productive. We have long appreciated the partnership that we have had with OSI and look forward to working with Hudson Valley Seed Company as conservation stewards,” said Zali Win, the secretary of the Rondout-Esopus Land Conservancy.
The Hudson Valley Seed Company was started in 2009 and since then has grown into a popular source for heirloom and open-pollinated garden seeds and beautiful garden-themed contemporary art. A values-driven seed company, HVSC practices and promotes responsible seed production and land stewardship practices, as well as the preservation of crop diversity. The farm transferred from OSI will be HVSC’s second farm property in New York state.
A conservation easement, now held by the Rondout-Esopus Land Conservancy, will permanently protect the land as agricultural fields and the Conservancy will maintain long term management of the parcel.
The fertile agricultural fields on the property include almost 48 acres of farmland of statewide importance and approximately 27 acres of prime farmland. In addition to agricultural fields, the property contains woodlands and several riparian areas that provide important wildlife habitat.
Located in the Rondout Creek watershed, the land includes a section of the North Peterskill stream and provides improved water drainage and water absorption during storm events.
In 2010, OSI purchased a 140-acre property from the Van Diest family, and shortly after, sold a 30-acre parcel of the land to Appledoorn Farm LLC, subject to a strict conservation easement that preserves the historic farm complex. That property contains several stone structures that date back to the mid-1700s. Now, OSI has transferred the remaining 107 acres to the Hudson Valley Seed Company.
Appledoorn Farm is close to other agricultural lands that OSI has protected in the Rondout Valley, including the Davenport Farm, Davis Farm, Domino farm, the former Misner farm, Rominger Farm, Osterhoudt Farm, and Paul Farm, as well as numerous parcels along the Shawangunk Ridge from which the property can be seen. In addition to protecting land in the region for more than 30 years, OSI has also contributed to the creation of local trail systems by acquiring several stretches of the O&W Rail Trail that are now part of a growing 29-mile rail trail and recreation corridor in the Rondout Valley.
The Appledoorn Farm property has been used for agriculture since 1722, and stone structures built on the adjoining 30-acre property at that time can still be seen today.
The Open Space Institute protects scenic, natural, and historic
landscapes to provide public enjoyment, conserve habitat and working
lands, and sustain communities. Founded in 1974 to protect significant
landscapes in New York State, OSI has been a partner in the protection
of nearly 2.3 million acres in North America.