Bike the Barns is all about connecting with our food, our farms and our farming landscapes. This year's event will feature several farm stops, which provide an opportunity to meet the farmers and learn more about their operations and their work. There are also several optional points of interest where riders can learn more about the local history, culture and agricultural heritage.
Host farm and start/finish location:
Tucker Farms: An agricultural Adirondack mainstay, Tucker Farms is a 5th generation, 150-year-old, family-owned and operated potato farm in Gabriels. The farm's relative isolation and high elevation is ideal for growing vigorous, top-quality, disease-free seed potatoes. Their main business is growing and selling NYS certified seed potatoes to commercial potato growers, market gardeners and home gardeners, and they ship their certified seed potatoes to growers in at least forty states and Canada. In season, the farm produces and markets their famous TuckerTaters™ tablestock potatoes, as well as fresh vegetables, hay and straw. The Tuckers offer agritourism activities including the Great Adirondack Corn Maze™ and farm tours for schools and other groups. This mountain farm provides a scenic location for special events, including weddings, celebrations, fundraisers and other gatherings. Learn more on the farm website and event venue website.
Additional farm stops:
Dandelion Farms: This Saranac Lake business utilizes a hydroponic growing system built inside a re-purposed shipping container. Growing in a closed environment allows farmers Aurora White and Jenni Evans to grow year round and eliminates the use of herbicides and pesticides. Their desire is to grow as efficiently as they can with little impact on the environment. They are currently growing heads and loose leaf lettuce that can be purchased via CSA, at their farm store, farmers market booth, or enjoyed at Fiddlehead Bistro, Blue Moon Cafe and the Adirondack Medical Center Cafeteria. Follow Dandelion Farms on Facebook and Instagram.
Iron Rooster Farm: Stephanie DeJoseph and Everette Fowler run a proper old-fashioned homestead in Gabriels — much like the families who have lived and worked on their land since their house was built in 1906. Raising chickens, ducks and sheep, as well as a greenhouse flower and vegetable garden — Stephanie and Everette are creative and industrious. Stephanie holds a Bachelor’s degree in Interior Design from Appalachian State University in North Carolina which helped her find an outlet for her artistic skills and develop her sewing and embroidery business, La Mia Designs. Everette works at the NY Department of Transportation daily. When not building and bettering the property, he is growing his lawn care and care-taking business, Iron Rooster Amenities.
Kate Mountain Farm: This diversified farm is located in the town of Vermontville in Franklin County, NY. They currently raise Berkshire and Mangalitsa pigs, a curly haired breed preferred for its hardiness, exceptional meat quality, and charcuterie curing properties. Currently undergoing application for humane management practices, their pigs are rotationally grazed in wooded paddocks, offered fresh flowing water, and basic shelter. All meat products are processed under USDA supervision at a humane certified facility. Kate Mountain Farm grows vegetables for home and restaurant in its high tunnel and market garden, and manages their mixed hardwood and pine forest using sustainable practices following a management plan developed in tandem with Franklin County Soil & Water and Natural Resources Conservation Services. Through such practices, Kate Mountain produces rough-cut lumber and manages a small sugaring operation. Learn more on Kate Mountain Farm's website, on Facebook and on Instagram.
Sunwarm Gardens: This one-acre flower farm in Vermontville includes a greenhouse, an unheated hoophouse with drip irrigation and permanent beds for intensive production. The addition of a walk-in cooler in 2019 allows post-harvest conditioning, greatly improving the longevity of their cut flowers. Farmers Ellen Beberman and Rich Brandt grow dozens of varieties of annual, biennial and perennial flowers that thrive throughout our cool summers. Flowers are available by custom order, bouquets at farmers markets, and home/business delivery during summer months (June through October). Wholesale is also available to local florists and wedding designers. They are members of the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers, and NY State Grown & Certified. Rich's primary job is science manager at the Atmospheric Research Center at Whiteface Mountain. Learn more on the farm’s website, on Facebook and on Instagram.
Sanctuary Farm: Named for a Nature Conservancy property that owner Denise Griffin’s grandparents managed and where Denise and the other grandkids spent summer vacations, Sanctuary Farm is a small market garden specializing in asparagus and winter storage veggies. Denise bought the land six years ago and is enjoying her return to farming after a 20 year hiatus when she left farming in order to support herself and her family. The land was farmed previously by John Thomas, who was formerly enslaved. Black pioneers like Thomas who were given free land in the Adirondacks from the land magnate and radical abolitionist, Gerrit Smith, used their improved land to gain access to the vote.
Points and presenters of interest:
We're excited to welcome the following groups and points of interest to this year's tour! During your ride, you'll have the chance to learn about the fascinating history and culture that is deeply engrained in the region's agricultural heritage.
John Brown Lives! Friends of Freedom: John Brown Lives! is a non-profit organization supporting human rights and social justice issues in the memory of Abolitionist John Brown. JBL! is a freedom education project founded in 1999 to promote social justice and human rights through the exploration of issues, social movements and events, many of them rooted in Adirondack history. JBL!, in collaboration with North Country Underground Railroad Historical Association and North Star Underground Railroad Museum at this year's Bike the Barns lunch stop at Sanctuary Farm, which has its own ties to African American history in the Adirondacks.
Harmony Hills Farmstead: Located along the 70-mile Harvest route, Harmony Hills Farmstead is also supplying tasty and nutritious beef jerky snacks for this year's Bike the Barns. Harmony Hills is a diversified livestock farm that engages in holistic management practices, utilizing natural husbandry and healthy environmental habitats for their animals. Their products are available for on-farm pick-up and at local farmers markets.
Hex & Hop: This new Bloomingdale brewery is also providing locally brewed beer for the finish line dinner celebration at Tucker Farms. Owners Ethan and Nick are an engineer and an apiarist, and completely in love with beer. Careers of craft, years of exploration, and large appetites have brought us to the North Country for an ideal setting in which to bring their passions to the glass. Stop by Hex & Hop along the Sprout, Veggie and Harvest route to see how bees and beer are a unique showcase for our farmers, our growers and our wilderness.
Historic Saranac Lake: This Saranac Lake nonprofit will share their innovative educational and outreach project, the Cure Porch on Wheels, at the Bike the Barns event site at Tucker Farms. HSL staff will be present to talk about Saranac Lake's tuberculosis history and topics relevant to the farming heritage of our region.
Mountain Meadow Market: This small farm is right down the road from Tucker Farms in Gabriels, NY. ANCA's own Jennifer Perry operates this greenhouse garden where she grows a variety of fresh vegetables and herbs in a gothic style greenhouse. Stop by and learn how high-tunnel agriculture helps extend the short growing season in the Adirondacks.
Moonstone Farm: This historic farm and Route 3 landmark is right along the Harvest and Veggie Routes. The farm features a self-serve farm stand as well as a variety of agricultural endeavors including greenhouse grown vegetables, sunflowers, hops, laying hens, llamas and more. This is also the home of ADK Noodle Company, producers of fresh pasta made from local ingredients including fresh eggs from the farm. Stop by, stretch your legs and say hello!
Paul Smith's College VIC: Home of the annual Adirondack Rural Skills and Homesteading Festival (which takes place the day before Bike the Barns) and a great place forest and wetland walks, hands-on learning opportunities and guest lecture presentations, the VIC is right off this year's Harvest route.
Six Nations Indian Museum: The Six Nations Indian Museum, located in Onchiota, NY, features thousands of artifacts with an emphasis on the culture of the Six Nations of the Iroquois Confederacy (Haudenosaunee). The Six Nations are: Mohawk, Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca and Tuscarora. The museum gift shop carries Mohawk baskets, beadwork, books, t-shirts, silver jewelry, and acrylic paintings that reflects Six Nations culture. The museum is an optional stop along two 2019 Bike the Barns routes (Sprout and Veggie routes) and will be open to visitors on event day.
All photos courtesy of participating farms.