Sunday, March 6, 2022

An Invitation to the Silver Lake Community:
Shop local, shop organic: New York second only to California 
in organic farmland

By KORI SCIANDRA, ksciandra@batavianews.com

Organically farmed products are in high demand among New Yorkers, with 323,081 acres of organic farmland farmed throughout New York State. This accounts for 4.68 percent of all farmland. This indicates, “NYS has the second largest organic farmland share in the United States,” according to a new report by the USDA at Commodity.com — a level second only to California.

Organic dairy products are at the top of the list, leading with $1.5 billion of $10 billion in annual sales, with chicken sales not far behind at $1.1 billion.

According to the USDA survey, organic food sales have more than tripled since 2008. Among those farms helping to provide a viable organic food source is Porter Farms CSA, in Elba, which is a fourth-generation, family-operated vegetable farm.

Porter Farms, which was founded by Jack and Dorothy Porter with focus on raising livestock, now specializes in organic produce, such as beets, bok choy, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, collard greens, eggplant, leeks, peppers and more.

After raising six children (Steve, Mike, Bess, Julie, Bea, and Emily) on the farm, Jack and his sons, Steve and Mike, began transitioning the farmland to certified organic in 1990 as they now farm 500 acres.

“Our first field was certified in 1990, making us the first farm in Western New York to be certified. My grandpa was instrumental in determining the criteria for certification of an organic field, and my dad was a board member of the Organic Farming Research Foundation,” said Katie Porter Metzler, who manages the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, greenhouses, and crop production for Porter Farms.

Though her father Steve, her Uncle Mike, and Grandfather have passed, Katie and her family members still manage and operate certified organic farmland with the majority of their crops grown at the main farm on Edgerton Road, in Elba.

“I think organic farming is in such high demand because consumers are focusing on where their food comes from and how it is produced. The amount of organic farms in the United States has grown significantly since we were first certified in 1990, therefore the amount of goods that consumers can purchase has also increased. Organic foods have become more visible as a result,” said Katie.

To qualify and maintain certified organic, Porter Farms must be compliant with National Organic Standards.

“...Each year we submit our application to be certified and an inspector visits our farm. We must maintain very detailed records to show our inspector — what seeds were purchased, when and where we planted them, and any amendments that were added into our soil. The inspector checks buffers between our fields and conventional farms to ensure that pesticides are not running off or blowing into our fields. A big part of our organic certification is ensuring that we rotate our crops from field-to-field each year. This rotation helps to maintain soil fertility and decrease pest pressure. We also cannot use any synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides and rely on our crop rotation, plastic mulching, and cultivating to suppress weeds,” said Katie.

Porter Farms sells their organically grown produce through their local CSA.

“…When individuals sign up for our season, they are essentially signing up to share the costs, risks and bounty of growing food in an environmentally-friendly fashion. CSA participants, through their membership, help pay for seeds, greenhouse supplies, irrigation supplies, equipment maintenance, fuel, labor, etc. In return, our farm provides 20 weeks of fresh, certified-organic produce throughout the growing season,” said Katie. “We also sell some produce, our naturally fed beef, and other products in our on-site farm store.”

Registration for the 2022 season is open. A large bag of produce includes six to 10 different vegetables, which varies each week. Though the purchase of organic produce can be expensive, there are ways to purchase healthy, fresh, locally grown produce on a budget.

“...One recommendation I have for consumers to purchase certified organic products in a cost effective way is to join a CSA program. For about $20 per week, our CSA customers receive 8 to 10 varieties of our organic vegetables. Whatever is ripe and ready to be harvested can be found in our shares. If we have a bounty harvest, we harvest as much as possible to include in our shares. 

For instance, last year we gave out a ton of green beans over the course of three weeks. We knew it was a lot of beans all at once, but we provide recipes, storage tips, and preservation ideas so our members can get the most out of their share. We often get emails and messages from members in late winter saying that they just used up the last of their winter squashes, onions, etc. that we gave out throughout the season,” said Katie.

For more information, visit porterfarms.org, email csa@porterfarms.org, or call (585) 757-6823.

“I would encourage people to focus on supporting any local farm, whether that be conventional or organic. Buying local not only decreases the carbon footprint of your fruits and vegetables, but it also keeps money right here in [the GLOW counties]. There are so many wonderful family-owned farms and markets right in our backyards and I would encourage people to support them when they can,” said Katie.

For more information about organic farmland, see the full report from the USDA at https://commodity.com/blog/most-organic-farms/. Check back here for further opportunities and additional information.

1 comment:

  1. We are in conversations with Porter Farms about a category of CSA membership for the 10-week summer season (the first weekend in July through Labor Day weekend) with a weekly Friday afternoon delivery to The Institute of fresh, organic, locally grown produce. If you're interested in knowing more, email: silverlakearts@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete

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SILVER LAKE EXPERIENCE (SLE) - Registration now Open for this August 4-6, 2022's SLE. See: SilverLakeExperience.org

W. PETE MAIRS

W. PETE MAIRS
Walter D. “Pete” Mairs, 81, died peacefully on July 23, 2021. Born in Avon, N.Y., on Sept. 3, 1939, Pete was a longtime resident of Geneva, N.Y., and these past many years in Buffalo, N.Y., as well as his beloved Silver Lake. Pete is survived by his wife, Linda Bergstrom Mairs, a loving and true companion; children, Mimi C. Mairs, Jonathan B. Mairs; sisters, June Huff, Helen Dole; brother, Thomas Mairs; stepchildren, Daniel Brinkworth, Jennie Ramsey; sister-in-law, Anne Bergstrom, eight beautiful grandchildren, and nieces and nephews. A service and celebration of life is planned for the fall when all can share the joy of Pete’s life together. Arrangements by Stephenson – Dougherty Funeral Home, Avon, N.Y.

Editor's Note: It was a privilege knowing and working with Pete Mairs during his presidency of the Silver Lake Institute. He was a kind and gentle man, but also firm in his leadership. I served as Treasurer and Chaplain of SLI during those years and I could always depend on Pete's presence in the worship service. He was a man of faith and a gem of a human being. May he rest in God's care.

GERALD C. SAHRLE

GERALD C. SAHRLE
Gerald C. Sahrle, 80, of Perry, passed away on Sunday, Oct. 24, 2021, at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester. He was born on Oct. 10, 1941, in Wayland, N.Y., to the late Charles A. and Helen I. (Blowers) Sahrle. Gerry was a line foreman for 32 1/2 years for NYSE&G, working out of the Perry and Hamburg locations, and was a Town of Perry Councilman. He was a member of the Free and Accepted Masons of the Constellation Lodge -404 in Perry. He was an avid fisherman, hunter and woodworker. He is survived by his wife, Valary A. (Conley) Sahrle; 1 son, Gerald (Pamela) Sahrle II of Silver Springs; 2 sisters, Millie Edmond of Greece, Bonnie Fink of Winston-Salem, N.C., 3 brothers, Ronald (Linda) Sahrle of Dansville, Robert (Susan) Sahrle of Springwater, Kenneth Sahrle of Dansville; 5 grandchildren, Bradley Musscarella, Stone and Winston Sahrle, Conley and Cooper Gayton; along with many nieces, nephews and friends. Along with his parents, he is preceded in death by a brother, Thomas Sahrle, who passed away in 2012. Services will be held at the convenience of the family. Gerry will be laid to rest in West Perry Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to the Perry Center Fire Department, P.O. Box 204, Perry, NY 14530. For more information, please call (585) 237-2626 or to leave a message of condolence, visit www.eatonwatsonfuneralhome.com. Arrangements completed by Eaton-Watson Funeral Home, LLC. 98 North Main Street, Perry, NY 14530.

Editor's Note: Gerald and Valarie could always be seen in the family pew with Pamela, Stone and Winston at Perry First United Methodist Church and continue to be loved. Gerry will be sorely missed. Both were supporters of the Arts at the Silver Lake Institute and Valarie was active in painting and participating in the Annual Show in August. Valarie's presence was always valued and appreciated.

KATHARINE E. PRACZKAJLO ("Kathy P.")

KATHARINE E. PRACZKAJLO ("Kathy P.")
"Kathy P." passed November 8, 2021, of Hamburg and Boston, NY. Beloved daughter of Joseph and Barbara Michalak; loving sister of Daniel Michalak; devoted wife of the late Jeffrey Praczkajlo; cherished mother of Jennifer (Shawn) Jump; loving babcia of Lily Jump; also survived by many beloved family members and friends who became her family. A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date.

Editor's Note: "Kathy P." as she was better known to us at Silver Lake was an annual summer visitor for most of the last number of years at the invitation of Silver Laker Julia Hoffner. She stayed at the Hoffner Cottage, and became known as both the fun visitor with the vivacious smile to the neighbors at the intersection of Haven Ave. and the Ames Walkway. Kathy P. and Julie could be seen walking and talking between the cottage and the Hoffner boathouse where they could be close to the water. She was also occasionally seen at the Saturday morning breakfasts at Stoody Hall. Her stay was anywhere between 4 days and a week where she had the opportunity to develop a love for Silver Lake. She was not yet eligible for retirement when late last week she developed "a cold" and had to remain home from her job. She did not update her condition over the weekend so the local police made a wellness visit and found her deceased on Monday. She was one of those many people who found Silver Lake and friendship for brief respites where she also found new strength and energy to return to work. She is being particularly mourned by those in the Haven/Ames neighborhood. She will be memorialized next summer at the annual Celebration of Life Memorial Service at Epworth Hall.

BRENDA J. PADDOCK

BRENDA J. PADDOCK
Brenda Joan Paddock, 82, of Perry, born April 15, 1939, now resides in heaven with her Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Brenda met Jesus as her Savior in 1965. She met him in person on Nov. 14, 2021. She had a beautiful homecoming with music, singing and praying, leading her into Glory. Her last words were “I am well, I am well.”

Brenda’s greatest loves were her family and friends. Brenda had five children with her husband Roger: Don and Daelene Paddock of Florida, Jody and Tim Von Sanden of Pavilion, Bradley and Jeanie Paddock of Warsaw, Jennifer and Paul Guy of Massachusetts, and Nathan and Jill Paddock of Perry.

Brenda dearly loved her grandchildren: Jessica Morillo, Nikki and Clint O’Brien, Luke Paddock, Paul Paddock, Ian and Brooklyn Paddock, Joe and Louana Paddock, Burke and Megan Paddock, Aaron Paddock, Ellen Paddock, Andrew Paddock, Rachael Paddock, Abigail Paddock, Erik and Cassandra Von Sanden, Jacquelyn and Michael Jones, Tim Von Sanden, Brandon and Brandee Paddock, Jamey and Laura Paddock, Peter and Kara Guy, Candy and Jay Waitkevich, Marlo and Ryan Bolger and Jenna and Rory Peterson.

Brenda was blessed and loved her great grandchildren: Chloe, Olivia and Nicholas Von Sanden, Joshua and Jaxon Morillo, Jameson and Cassandra O’Brien, Atlas Paddock, Noah and Ezra Jones, Colton, Brantley and Charlotte Guy, Cameron Waitkevich, Amelia Bolger and Brennen Leonard.

Brenda is also survived by her brother and sister in laws; Frank and Emma Paddock, Viva and Jim Phillips-Richardson and Kurt and Lynn Paddock.

Brenda first started working as a secretary at Perry Central School. She then assisted her husband building Paddock’s Breeding Service. Roger and Brenda together built and ran the Sandsabarn teenage nightclub. Brenda was owner and operator of Serendipity Travel. Brenda’s pleasures included playing organ and piano. She played at a number of area churches along with performing for her loved ones. UPDATED -- Brenda also played with conviction at both indoor and outdoor services at the Silver Lake Institute where her grandson, Luke, sang at Epworth Hall on several occasions and was appreciated by all who heard his inspiring voice.

Brenda was preceded in death by her parents Noble and Freda Buckland, her husband Roger and son Bradley.

A Committal service at West Perry Cemetery will be held tomorrow, Wednesday, November 17 at 11 a.m., followed by a Celebration of Life at LaGrange Baptist Church at 4 p.m.

Memorial donations may be made in Brenda’s honor to the LaGrange Baptist Church 7092 LaGrange Rd. Perry, NY 14530 or to the First Congregational Church P.O. Box 156 Perry, NY 14530. Arrangements completed by Eaton-Watson Funeral Home, LLC. 98 N. Main St., Perry, N.Y. 14530. For more information or to sign the online guest registry please visit www.eatonwatsonfuneralhome.com.

AUGUST 4-7, 2022

AUGUST 4-7, 2022
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