GREENWICH, NY—July 30, 2015—One of the Capital Region’s most
celebrated farms, the historic Hand Melon Farm, is now permanently protected
through a conservation easement secured through the Agricultural Stewardship
Association (ASA), with grant support from the New York State Department of
Agriculture and Markets via the state Environmental Protection Fund, and from the
Open Space Institute (OSI).
and historic Hand Melon Farm produces one of the region’s most well-known and
cherished crops, the Hand melon. The Hand Melon farm was started in
1908 by the great-grandfather of the current owner, John Hand.
with Mr. Hand, ASA purchased a conservation easement in order to permanently protect
the high-valued farmland and
support its thriving farming operations. The conservation easement was
supported by funding from New York State’s Environmental Protection
Fund through the Department of Agriculture and Markets’ Farmland Protection and
Implementation Grants program, and matched by a grant from OSI.
“We are so
pleased that with the help of the funding from the Farmland Protection and
Implementation Grants program, the historic Hand Melon Farm will to be able to continue
to grow, producing its famous Hand melons and more than 20 other crops,” said Commissioner
Richard A. Ball, New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets. “The
program is critical to making sure our state’s lands are protected for the
purpose of sustaining our farm operations, like the Hand Melon Farm, and
supporting our agriculture economy. We thank our partners for their commitment to the project.”
project honors and preserves a model farm and a community asset that has become
synonymous with summer in the Saratoga region,” said Kim Elliman, OSI’s
President and CEO. “This conservation easement represents the best type of
farmland protection project made possible by the state’s Environmental
Protection Fund. We congratulate the state and our partner ASA on this amazing accomplishment.”
an honor to work with the Hand family to conserve such a prominent farm. This
project would not have been possible without help from the state program and OSI, which provided the
money needed to match the state funds. We are grateful to OSI for their support,”
said Teri Ptacek, ASA’s Executive Director.
are very excited to have worked with ASA in order to conserve this beautiful
farm. The thought of housing or commercial development someday covering these
wonderfully productive fields where my family has lived for over 100 years is
just unfathomable,” said John Hand.
within view of the Saratoga Battlefield, located across the Hudson River in Easton, the 419-acre Hand Melon Farm is also listed as a high
conservation priority within the American Battlefield Protection Program’s
study of the region.
vegetables produced at the Hand Melon Farm are sold through its popular local
farmstand on State Route 29 in Greenwich, pick-your-own at the farm, melon mail-order, and
“local wholesale” to area farmstands, restaurants and the cooperative wholesale
market in the Albany-Saratoga Region.
which participates in a number of industry, educational and research projects,
is also a model of responsible farm practice in the region. The Cornell Plant
Pathology Department has conducted melon disease research on the farm for over
20 years, while mulching, forest stewardship and farmland erosion are all handled using
sustainable farming practices.
York Department of Agriculture and Markets’ mission is to foster a competitive
food and agricultural industry that benefits producers and consumers alike. The
Department works diligently to promote a viable agricultural industry, foster
agricultural environmental stewardship, and safeguard the state’s food supply.
protects scenic, natural and historic landscapes to provide public enjoyment,
conserve habitat and working lands and sustain communities. Over the past
decades, OSI, partnering with ASA and others, has actively protected several
key properties in the region, including the 1997 acquisition of a nearly
900-acre conservation easement on Allenwaite Dairy Farm in Easton, the 2005
conservation easement acquisition on 380 acres of the Saratoga Sod Farm, and
the 2006 acquisition of the historic Sword Surrender Site.
founded 25 years ago as a non-profit land trust focusing on farmland
conservation in Washington and Rensselaer counties. Today, ASA has conserved 16,000 acres, protected 101 farms, and is celebrating its 25th anniversary at its Forever Farmland Supper on Aug. 6, 2015 at the Hand Melon Farm.
For press photos of the Hand Melon
Farm, please click here.
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