Agriculture, Business, Central New York, Feature

What Needs Heat and Grows in the Winter in Central New York?

Emily Burrichter surveyed rows of vegetables in one of Main Street Farms’ high tunnels in Homer, New York.

Main Street Farms grows despite harsh winter and cultivates strong community ties

The answer to what needs heat and grows year-round is Main Street Farms. The farm is located in Homer and Cortland.

Bob Cat and Allan Gandelman co-founded the farm and they both said winter poses some challenges, but so far, business has run smoothly. “We slow down a little bit in the winter but we keep going and have a ton of food,” Gandelman said. “So the only real challenge is that we don’t take enough time off.”

Gandelman and Bob Cat harvest from six different properties, but are searching for a way to consolidate their land so they can expand. Main Street will gradually take over a farm owned by an aging farmer in the Homer-Cortland area.

 

Part of Main Street Farms' farming techniques includes aquaponics.

Part of Main Street Farms’ farming techniques includes aquaponics. (c) 2015 Dan Mantooth

“He really liked what we were doing and wants to see his land farmed in a sustainable way, so we’re going to be slowly transitioning to take over his property,” Bob Cat said.

The new property is 200 acres. Main Street currently farms less than 50 total.

Main Street sells its vegetables through wholesale to local restaurants, such as Lofo and Lemon Grass in Syracuse; farmers markets; and community supported agriculture shares (CSAs), which allow customers to buy shares of produce and get fresh vegetables delivered weekly or biweekly.

Main Street has about 140 CSA deliveries, but expects to more than double that next year.