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Inaugural Class of Hudson Valley Farm and Food Business Accelerator Program Announced

Oct 3, 2016

Nine Food Entrepreneurs from Across the Region Begin Six Month Training Program

HUDSON, NY – October 3, 2016 – The Hudson Valley AgriBusiness Development Corporation (HVADC) has announced the participants in its first year’s Farm and Food Business Accelerator (FFBA) Program.  Nine farmers and food entrepreneurs were selected from a wide field of applicants to join the FFBA program beginning in October


FFBA is an intensive training program designed to help farmers and food entrepreneurs scale their business, build sales, and access financial sources. The curriculum includes online training activities, expert instruction, one-on-one mentoring sessions, group interaction and industry networking events. The FFBA program will conclude in spring 2017 with an opportunity for participants to meet New York City and Hudson Valley-based funders that are seeking to invest in ventures that support the local food system. Nathan Forster, the founder of Groundwork Companies, is leading the program, as FFBA Project Manager.


“ We had a very diverse applicant pool, with many already seasoned in a variety of food production channels, but all so eager to take their businesses up a notch with fresh distribution and or product development ideas,” according Mary Ann Johnson, HVADC  Projects Director.


Joining the first year class will be:

  • Argyle Cheese Factory LLC, Argyle, NY (Washington County):  Marjorie and David Randles, Partners.  Argyle is a farm producing cheese, yogurt and buttermilk as well using these products as a base for smoothies, salad dressings and cheesecakes.

  • Balet Flowers & Design, Malta, NY (Saratoga County):  Suzanne Balet Haight, Owner. Balet sells annuals perennials, vegetable plants and herbs at its farm’s garden market, and at farmers markets.

  • Fishkill Farms, Hopewell Junction, NY, (Dutchess County): Josh Morgenthau, Managing Member. Fishkill Farms operates an on-farm cidery, tasting room, and event space.

  • The Green Onion, LLC, Chester, NY (Orange County):Hillary and Claire Lindsay, Owners. The Green Onion is an agri-cultural center with a market, events and education.

  • Lavenlair Farm, LLC, Whitehall, NY (Washington County): David J. Allen, Owner.  Lavenlair Farms is a 4000 plant lavender farm selling 18 varieties of lavender and produces a wide variety of lavender bath and body products,  and lavender honey.

  • Les Collines, Craryville, NY (Columbia County):  Brigid Dorsey, Owner. Les Collines produces locally sourced, savory and sweet artisanal jellies and preserves.

  • Raspberry Fields Farm, LLC, Marlboro, NY, (Ulster County):  Sara Higgins, Principal. Raspberry Fields Farms is a small batch, artisan purveyors of granola, cookies and gift boxes.

  •  Minkus Family Farms, Inc., New Hampton, NY (Orange County):  Dylan Dembeck, Manager and Rick Minkus, Owner. Minkus Farms grows, pack and distributes onions.  

  • Soukup Farms, Dover Plains, NY (Dutchess County): Jennifer Soukup, Owner. Soukup is a family farm producing handmade maple products, and selling pumpkins and hay.


The FFBA program will kick-off October 24 at an “Access Capital” workshop and resource expo being held at the Henry A Wallace Center at the FDR Presidential Library and Home in Hyde Park. The event is sponsored by HVADC, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Empire State Development, and the New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets.


To prepare the FFBA participants for accessing capital, the FFBA course curriculum will include sessions on: The Fundamentals of Accessing Capital, Business Planning, Financials and Management: Marketing, and Accessing Capital. Mentoring Leaders Ajax Greene of On Belay Business Advisors and Scott Tillitt of Antidote Collective will participate throughout the program. Further FFBA instructor/mentor and curriculum details may be found at

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