top of page

Hudson Valley Farm and Food Funding Accelerator Participants Announced

Dec 1, 2018

Eleven Food Entrepreneurs from Across the Region Begin Intensive Training Program to Prepare to Present to Potential Funders

Eleven Food Entrepreneurs from Across the Region Begin Intensive

Training Program to Prepare to Present to Potential Funders

The Hudson Valley AgriBusiness Development Corporation (HVADC) has announced the participants in its second class of its Farm and Food Funding Accelerator (FFFA) Program.  Eleven farmers and food entrepreneurs were selected from a wide field of applicants to join the intensive FFFA program beginning in November.


Through a customized program, FFFA participants will engage in expert instruction, one-on-one counseling and technical assistance, group interaction and industry networking events to learn how to build their sales in anticipation of speaking with investors, discover new market opportunities, and pitch to potential funders. The FFFA program will conclude in spring 2019 with an opportunity for Peer participants to meet New York City and Hudson Valley-based funders that are seeking to invest in ventures that support the local food system. Sylke Chesterfield, a business consultant and certified coach of Chesterfield Advantage, is leading the program, as FFFA Coordinator.


“We had a very diverse applicant pool, including start-ups as well as those already seasoned in a variety of food production channels. Products and business models within the group vary greatly, ranging from consumer packaged goods to retail locations to agri-tourism destinations, and they will all benefit from the Peer interaction the program affords as they prepare to meet our network of potential funders next spring,” said Chesterfield.


FFFA participants are all farm, food, fiber or agriculture-dependent businesses having their home office, farm or production facility in the Hudson Valley, and sourcing the majority of their product ingredients from the region, as well as the majority of their labor force.


Joining the FFFA 2018-2019 Peer Class are:

  • Battenkill Valley Farms, Cambridge, NY (Washington County):  Ted Berndt, Member. Battenkill is developing an agri-tourism destination and market projected to include a farmers market, craft fair and craft beverage facility

  • Berle Farm, Hoosick, NY (Rensselaer County):  Beatrice Berle, Owner and Farmer. Berle Farm is a certified organic dairy business producing yogurt and aged cheese in its on-farm creamery, also selling breeding stock, steers, calves and packaged beef as well as diversified vegetable and fruit crops, and maple syrup and cornmeal.

  • Farmer and Baker, Middletown, NY (Orange County): Cristina and Carlos Garcia, Owners.  The Farmer and Baker is being developed as a retail bakery and food market with vegetables, eggs, grains, meats and fish sourced from the couple’s farm.

  • Gopal Farm, New Paltz, NY (Ulster County): Nimai Gupta, Co-Owner and CEO. Gopal Farm is an organic, no-kill, biodynamic farm following the rudiments of permaculture, which produces ethnic Indian vegetables, herbs, beans, grains and milk products.

  • Gray Family Farm, Windsor, NY (Orange County): Shelly Gray, Member. Gray Family Farm raises poultry, vegetables, maple syrup, honey, hay and flowers, and sells beef from another farmer.


  • JSK Cattle Company, LLC, Millbrook, NY (Dutchess County): Jason and Heather Kading, owners.  JSK raises pasture grazed cows, pigs, and chickens and sells meets and eggs at their farm store as well as to other farms, online and wholesale to other farm stores and restaurants.


  • Local Artisan Bakery, Kingston, NY (Ulster County):  Karianna Haasch, Owner. Local Artisan Bakery produces small batch, highly crafted cakes, cupcakes, cookies, breads/rolls, pastries, pies and scones using locally sourced ingredients.


  • Miracle Springs Farm, Gallatin, NY (Columbia Country):  Jaimie Cloud, Owner. Miracle Springs Farm raises goats, and grows a variety of vegetables. It produces cheese in partnership with Chaseholm Farm with sales being made through farmers markets, retail stores, a cheese club and a CSA.


  • Phoenicia Honey Co., Mount Tremper, NY (Ulster County):  Rebecca Shim, Owner. Phoenicia Honey is a farm-based business crafting infused honeys as well as other bee inspired products, including a skincare line and beeswax candles.


  • Royal Strawberry Hill Farm LLC, Poughkeepsie, NY (Dutchess County) Elizabeth Kucinich, Director. Royal Strawberry Hill Farm is developing an agro-ecological foodscape and farm complex which will provide sanctuary for humans, domesticated animals, and wildlife, featuring therapeutic and educational programs.


  • Veeda Holi Hydration, Newburgh, NY (Orange County) Jose Quezada, Founder/CEO. Veeda Holi Hydration is a plant-based, cold-press beverage company committed to redefining hydration for the health conscious consumer by delivering a product with high nutrition, low calorie, carbohydrate and sugar attributes.


Some FFFA Peers were first introduced at The Valley Table’s Hudson Valley Restaurant Week Fall Kick-Off held October 22 at Tuthilltown Spirits Distillery in Gardiner as part of the networking and presentation aspects of the FFFA program. The Valley Table magazine is the media sponsor of the FFFA program. Peers also participated in the Taste of New York’s October 30 business expo events held at Anthony’s Pier 9 in New Windsor and simultaneously at The Desmond in Albany. Combined, the three events attracted over 200 food industry leaders, chefs and media.


“Through our initial FFFA class in 2016, we found that the Peers thought that the networking aspect of the program both with industry experts, as well as peer-to-peer, really rounded out the curriculum, added to their experience, aided them in refining their plans and messaging, and even led to sales,” said Todd Erling, Executive Director, HVADC.


Funding for FFFA was made possible by the US Department of Commerce Economic Development Agency. Additional FFFA program details may be found at Questions regarding the FFFA program may be directed to 518-432-5360 or

Logo and photos: HVADC

bottom of page