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Four Essex Co. farms get grants

SARANAC LAKE — Eight North Country farms recently received grant funding from the Adirondack North Country Association.

Among them were four farms in Essex County: Blue Pepper Farm in Jay, Juniper Hill Farm in Wadhams, Mace Chasm Farm in Keeseville and Triple Green Jade Farm in Willsboro.

Those farms, along with the four others, all received portions of $103,962 in grant funds.

The Local Farm Grant program was launched in October 2019 to support farmers and food producers who are strengthening the region’s agriculture and food systems, according to an ANCA release.

“We received an unprecedented number of applications for this grant, and it was incredibly challenging for the grant committee to narrow it down to the final recipients,” said ANCA Executive Director Kate Fish. She added that 52 farms and food businesses applied for over $1 million in funding to support projects valued at a total of over $2 million.

The grant program was designed to support projects that address gaps in the local food supply chain, increase opportunity for value-added processing or secure business development services. The grants provide financial support where traditional funding resources like bank loans are not accessible.

Adam Hainer of Juniper Hill Farm plans on using the funds for equipment for processing butternut squash grown on the organic vegetable farm. The peeling machine will allow the farm to sell more squash to schools and other institutions that prefer minimally processed vegetables.

Mace Chasm Farm owner Asa Thomas-Train will use grant funds toward the purchase a curing cabinet that will help their farm and butcher shop increase sausage and cured meat production.

Triple Green Jade Farm owner Dan Rivera will purchase cow milking equipment to establish a small dairy on their farm.

Blue Pepper Farm owners Shannon and Tyler Eaton will use their grant award to construct an on-farm creamery for producing sheep milk yogurt.

The Local Farm Grant program was funded in full by anonymous donors who participated in ANCA’s fourth annual Bike the Barns event in September 2019.

Inspired by the farms along the route and motivated by their own appreciation of local farms, they committed $100,000 to go directly to North Country farm businesses through a competitive grant process.

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