We are excited to welcome Hurd Orchards of Holley, NY, as one of our newest farms to be EcoCertified™ for 2022. Susan Hurd Machamer, her daughter Amy Machamer, and Amy’s daughter Amelia Sidonio, are the 6th, 7th and 8th generations to operate this beautiful orchard, flower farm and canning business in the lake region of northwestern New York, tucked between the banks of the Erie Canal which runs through the farm, and Lake Ontario. Their family began farming the lands there over 200 years ago.
They grow an array of fruits, vegetables and flowers, and boast over 70 varieties of apples. Those include old-fashioned and heritage varieties, as well as new experimental varieties bred for flavor, quality and natural disease resistance. Along with orchards and fields, the farm includes herb gardens, a 200-year-old barn and 150-year old herb cottage that are used for farm and private events.
We first met Amy, and their experienced orchard manager, Bill Gerling, through our colleagues at Headwater Food Hub. Headwater distributes produce from Hurd and other local orchards, and they were excited about the possibility of offering EcoCertified fruit to their customers. The Hurd family have a longstanding commitment to ecological growing practices and to making their farm a place where people can experience the bounty of the region and appreciate farm life. Their philosophy and practices are well-aligned with the Eco program and their open and collaborative approach with other orchards fits well with the network of orchards the program has built across the region. Amy says “we’ve been farming this way for a long time, and it is so great to get credit for what we do.”
Like other orchards in the EcoCertified network, Hurd Orchards markets apples in a variety of ways. They offer Pick-Your-Own and a retail farm store that includes fresh fruit as well as many foods made from farm produce–all made by hand using traditional methods and often generations-old recipes. They also sell fruit wholesale to regional groceries and schools through distributors like Headwaters, and offer many items via mail-order. During the fresh produce season, they offer a Harvest Box subscription that can be picked up weekly or monthly at the farm.
One unique experience Hurd Orchards brings to their community are their Barn lunches, offered weekly in season, featuring a thoughtful and fascinating series of topics paired with creative local menus. They describe the programs as “meaningful, beautiful, fun and delicious…and filled with surprises.” They strive to create events that celebrate the season and are “a joyful learning about foods, menus and … a heartfelt expression of the love we feel for our farm lives.”
Judging by the list of events for October, many centered around apples, there are plenty of reasons to come back often. This year’s calendar includes Autumn Still Life, a Sampling Lunch featuring the farm’s jams and preserves, a Maple Leaf Luncheon, and a series that celebrates Heritage Apples grown on the farm. Flower arranging and live music were features earlier in the season.
The Hurd Orchard website expresses their philosophy beautifully:
“Our farm philosophy centers around our love of fruit growing, our endless appreciation for the earth’s gifts, of the heritage of our region, and for the beauty which surrounds us each season.
…Our philosophy is expressed through our products, and equally through our efforts to preserve and steward wisely our fertile acres—orchards, forests, fields and meadows—and to the sustainability of our rural region. We believe in the world that Hurd Orchards represents, a world we work hard to preserve and invigorate.”
We are delighted to welcome them to the EcoCertified community!