Long gone are the days where the hills and dales of New York's Hudson River Valley were filled with majestic apple trees and the scent of ripening fruit. Yet there is still one place where the magic of those times gone by live on. Westwind Orchard is an historic apple orchard located in the Hudson River Valley, in the shadow of the Catskill Mountains, right here in Accord, NY to be precise. Westwind Orchard is an historic orchard with a story that starts in the 1930s when it was first planted by Chester Khon. Westwind was tended and farmed by him for the next 40 years or so before it was purchased by the Schoonmaker family/owners and operators of local, 11th generation Saunderskill Farms. Then, in 2002, the Chizzola family bought the property. In 2009 we began by renovating the orchards, clearing brush, reviving older trees, taking out old and dead ones, and planting new trees of newer varieties all in anticipation of one day having a modern, organic orchard and farm. Well, we are here to tell you that it has not been easy and it's certainly still a work in progress. Early on I (Fabio, the farmer) started to read books about apple growing, attend conferences, and, most importantly, become part of a regional apple growing community. Everyone thought I was totally crazy. Well, after nearly a decade of reviving the farm and orchard, I have to agree, I WAS CRAZY, but not totally. Westwind Orchard is more than just a passing hobby, it is a passion. One that I pursue with the same vigor and intensity with which I pursued rockclimibing (a little hobby of mine that first brought me to this part of New York) so long ago. Today, Westwind Orchard stands for more than just local, organic apples. Westwind Orchard is a vision of a local farming future for our region. Westwind is the original name of the orchard, and we are proud we kept it. We learned soon after we bought the orchard why the original owners chose this name, the west winds are the predominant winds in the orchard, in fact we have to keep this in mind when we anchor our newly planted trees (so they don't blow over!). When we first came to this land, the orchard was totally overgrown. But these old trees looked fascinating and so we tried to give the land to a farmer to revive the orchard. But nobody wanted it. As we have found out, the amount of time and money to get the orchard back in production would be enormous. In the end, we decided to do it on our own. We first started by annually pruning the over 500 old trees. Then we got Honeybees, and got 40,000 or more free workers to pollinate our trees and flowers. After which we built a deer fence, so we could keep those beautiful but disruptive creatures away from our trees. And finally, we started to diversify our orchard with new Apple trees. But not just Apples.......we also planted Pears, Berries, Garlic, Winter Squash, and Grapes. Who knows what's next? Well, we can tell you it doesn't end there, because last year we actually made our biggest accomplishment and achieved our goal of having Westwind become a Certified Organic farm!!! Today, after many trials and tribulations, Westwind Orchard is born again!!! As nice as it sounds, we still have a long way to go. Step by step, we are becoming a Holistic Community Orchard. We are moving away from traditional organic farming techniques and introducing materials like neem oil, Effective Microbes (EM), seaweed, kelp and compost teas to help us grow healthier soil, trees, fruits and vegetables. We strongly believe in LOCAL FOOD and in OUR COMMUNITY. Everyone needs farms (and farmers!), but more importantly they need good, wholesome, healthy food, what better place to get it than right here. The Chizzola family hopes you'll come visit Westwind Orchard soon. Come see what we're doing, how we're doing it, and mostly enjoy the fruits of our labor, from us to you.
In the beginning, food was grown just how Nature intended. That's why there's a reason food tastes better when grown naturally and we are just down the road. Our appetites for good, clean, locally grown food have brought us back to our farms and the way food was meant to be...naturally. We are proud to say we are Certified Organic by NOFA-NY Certified Organic LLC.
Friday, Saturdays and Sundays from first week of september thru last week of October
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