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Awards of Distinction Finalist Spotlight: Culinary

Publish Date: 2020-05-13

What about your business / organization is inspiring to you?

Sunflour Bakery: The joy our food brings to our customers, and the smiles on their faces when they enter the Bakery. Our customers inspire us to help one another any way we can, specifically our hikers who may need some sweets to get them through their long journey. We are inspired when we present our customers with a custom cake they helped design and we love to see the look of happiness on their faces! 

Harlem Valley Homestead: We are inspired by helping people come together in the spirit of shared work, shared food and shared experiences. These interactions help others learn how to live a life connected to land, each other and ourselves. Every event and experience is woven into the work of the farm and changing seasons. Seeing people form a deeper understanding of the land that feeds us is endlessly gratifying.

Farmers & Chefs: We are a restaurant in the city of Poughkeepsie that has a first soil based vertical container farm in the Hudson Valley and we also have food trucks. Our company started with food trucks at the local farmer markets. We are staying true to our name Farmers & Chefs and we are fulfilling our dream of growing our food from the seed to the plate. It is a full circle for a chef!

How is your business / organization handling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic?

Sunflour Bakery: We closed our bakery on March 25 after much consideration. We felt that for the safety of our employees and our customers,  it was the right thing to do. Prior to the closure, we offered curbside pickup and delivery. Our customers were most grateful during that time, and understanding and supportive when we decided it was best to close. We are keeping in touch with our customers through email and social media. We are also trying to support local restaurants that are still open by ordering our own take-out, and posting to our social media account and tagging the local restaurants. We want to ensure that all of our small businesses make it through this difficult time. 

Harlem Valley Homestead: Right now, our biggest priority is providing our community with fresh, healthy food. In addition to the beef, pork, eggs, jams and vegetables grown on our farm, we’ve brought in other essentials like coffee, flour, salad greens, and cooking oils, sourced almost entirely from local vendors and partner farms. Our farm team is hard at work pulling seeds for our crop plans, getting ready for our grazing season, cultivating resilience and planning for an abundant future.⠀

Farmers & Chefs: We are reinventing ourselves and keeping our employees busy! We’ve started a lot of delivery, which is becoming a significant part of our business during these challenging times. Our delivery business was zero before pandemic, so incorporating this in our model will make our company stronger in the future.

What are your hopes for the future of travel in Dutchess County?

Sunflour Bakery: We hope that once this pandemic is over, people will be anxious to get out and explore their communities. We hope that small businesses will be supported and that our bakery will be a place to gather and reunite with neighbors and friends. We hope that the Appalachian Trail will be busy with hikers looking for freedom and fresh air, and city folks will delight in a visit to the country. We will be here with open doors, good food and delicious coffee. We believe Dutchess County will continue to grow and people will see the hidden gem we have here, the best is yet to come! 

Harlem Valley Homestead: The Harlem Valley and greater Dutchess County is rich in natural beauty, historic farms and innovative food producers. The tremendous diversity of our Dutchess County ecology and culture needs our respect and stewardship if we are to continue to enjoy this bounty. By promoting sustainable travel experiences, we hope to see people's connection, appreciation, and support of sustainable food, farms, and natural resources continue to deepen.

Farmers & Chefs: We believe that we will overcome this virus and hardship and that we will come back even stronger from it. We are very optimistic for the future of tourism in the Dutchess County and Hudson Valley in general!

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