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HVADC Client Update: Shaker Creek Farm

Feb 1, 2023

Shaker Creek Farm in Stephentown, was first featured in the HVADC Cultivator in November 2021 after it received Business Technical Assistance (BTA) through the HVADC Incubator Without Walls Program.

Shaker Creek Farm in Stephentown, was first featured in the HVADC Cultivator in November 2021 after it received Business Technical Assistance (BTA) through the HVADC Incubator Without Walls Program. The small poultry farm’s owners Alison Basdekis and Keegan Schelling worked closely with HVADC’s agriculture-focused business consultant Greg Mruk to develop a business plan.  Mruk also provided strategic planning, financial education and human resources coaching.   

The plan was unique in that it factored in and allowed for the young family to have time away from work. Basdekis will be quick to tell you that things come up and there’s still not a lot of downtime on a farm no matter what, but accounting for time away from the farm as a resource to manage, makes them better farmers.     

“We are going into our third season since working with Greg,” she said. “We’ve streamlined the operation even further and have had success. The focus is still very much on poultry. We also do eggs and I maintain a small tree nursery and a small vegetable and herb program.”   

In 2021, after working with Mruk, Shaker Creek got a coveted spot at the Hudson Farmer’s Market. Their chicken instantly got noticed and purchased quickly at the lucrative market.   

“We are actually sold out of product right now because customers have gotten to know our quality,” Basdekis said.


Shaker Creek also ended its season a bit early this year out of concern for the avian flu. Because of this decision they raised 600 less chickens this year but intend to get back to their previous capacity of 3,000 birds in 2023, and will likely need to grow that figure in coming years.


“We have people knocking on our door” said Basdekis, who added they are being solicited by new wholesale and restaurant clients all the time. While she admits it’s a good problem to have, she and Schelling need to thoughtfully evaluate their options to make sure they grow at a rate they can keep up with, and ensure that their business plan for the expansion continues to factor in their desired quality of life.

The farm is also in the process of establishing a regionally adapted, regenerative agroforestry system utilizing apples, chestnuts, hazelnuts, berries, and pasture raised animals as well as many other perennial crops.    

“We are in the exploration mode,” She said. “We haven’t hit go. Right now I’m in a quiet moment, planning, writing grants and spending really important time with our daughter, who’s five and a half.”   

Because of increased demand, Shaker Creek has recently entered another round of BTA with HVADC and partner Berkshire Agricultural Ventures. Both organizations are invested members of the Agricultural Viability Alliance, which seeks to bring greater governmental attention and funding to BTA in the sector. Shaker Creek will be working with an advisor on forecasting the farm’s market in a rapidly changing economic climate.  


“Our goal is not to be this big poultry operation, but to improve the land we are farming on and work at the capacity that feels right,” Basdekis said.     

Basdekis recently left her position as a private school administrator to focus on the farm full time and they have hired part-time help, which was needed as Schelling took on a full time position as the Perennial Program Manager of Rigor Hill Farm in Ghent. That farm feeds the owner’s One White Street restaurant and Rigor Hill Market, both in the Tribeca neighborhood of Manhattan. Clearly there’s a lot of work to do at Shaker Creek but the family is trying to get things in…balance.   

“I wouldn’t call it ‘balanced’” Basdekis said, noting that work is almost always crazy busy but the family tries to prioritize finding some time to focus on themselves. “It’s never perfect. We are putting stakes in our downtime just like we do in our production plan.”   

She says says they are excited to launch their third outdoor season at the Hudson Farmers’ Market on April 22.  


“Shaker Creek is an impressive operation and Alison and Keegan are impressive farmers,” said Mary Ann Johnson, HVADC Deputy Director. “I know most farmers see working 24/7 as the only option, so the fact that Shaker Creek is even attempting to address finding a balance is commendable.”


To learn more about the Business Technical Assistance that HVADC can provide farms and food producers visit

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