Denison Farm: The Move Toward Organic
Written by Abby Zlotnick, a summer intern for Saratoga Farmers’ Market and Saratoga Springs native.
In 2004, two farmers—Brian and Justine Denison—left Maine, left their farm, and left their way of farming behind. At the time, the Denisons operated a large 110-acre conventional farm, but when the use of chemicals and pesticides began to cause illness in the family, the two knew they had to find a new way to grow.
Schaghticoke (Rensselaer County) is now home to Denison Farm, which flourishes using organic practices and no longer uses harsh, chemical pesticides that were harming both the farmers and the consumers.
The farm is located just off of Route 67 on 164 acres of land. The farm cultivates 22 acres and the rest of the land contains woods, creeks, swamps, and open land. This land supported development of the first Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program in New York State, and in 2012 was conserved through the efforts of the Agricultural Stewardship Association, meaning it can never be developed. It will remain a “forever-farm” since the land became a part of ASA, a farmland trust.
The Denisons grow a wide variety of produce, including many types of salad greens, carrots, kale, broccoli, garlic, beets, squash, leeks, strawberries, watermelon, cantaloupe, and sweet corn. The list goes on and on, depending on what is in season. While Denison Farm’s products are not USDA certified organic, the farm abides by the organic practices completely and is certified through an alternative agency called “Certified Naturally Grown.”
The farm’s products are for sale every Saturday at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market from 9 am – 1 pm. Denison Farm is located in the north pavilion near the big white tent. Additionally, products are for sale at select retail markets in the area.
In addition to selling at these venues, Denison Farm also has a CSA program with 500 members. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) allows members to pay for partial costs of the farm and in exchange, the farm provides the members with 22 weeks of fresh vegetables. The box received each week may contain greens, lettuces, root vegetables, herbs, and an “in-season” crop. Typically, the box contains six to eleven items and can be picked up at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market or other locations.
Not sure what to do with the Lacinato or Curly Kale you just picked up from Denison Farm? Check out the healthy summer recipe below.
Kale and Scape Frittata
*Items available at the market
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup (1/2 lb) chopped and cooked kale* (collard greens* are a great substitute)
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese or similar cheese*
1 Tbsp. chopped parsley*, cilantro* or basil*
½ cup finely chopped garlic scapes*
½ cup chopped scallions* (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients except the oil, scapes, and scallions.
Heat oil in a 10” ovenproof skillet on the stove. Add the scapes and scallions and sauté until tender on medium heat for about 5 minutes.
Pour egg mixture in skillet with scapes and scallions and cook over low heat for 3 minutes.
Place in oven and bake uncovered for 10 minutes or until top is set. Cut into wedges and serve.