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Meet Our Producers: Indian Ladder Farms

Indian Ladder Farms just celebrated its centennial. Founded by Peter Gansevoort Ten Eyck in 1916 and located in Altamont, New York, the popular orchard and agritourism destination is under the stewardship of the fourth generation of the Ten Eyck Family, aided by a team of experienced managers and staff. It produces over 40 varieties of apples in an orchard covering 65 acres.

The five existing farms that comprise Indian Ladder Farms lie beneath the cliffs of the Helderberg Escarpment. Under watch of the founder, Indian Ladder began as an orchard selling thousands of apple bushels each year to Albany Public Markets and approximately 100 head of prize-winning Guernsey cattle in its dairy operation. The farm also raised large flocks of turkeys and Rhode Island Red chickens. Unfortunately, in July 1949, the barn housing the dairy cattle was destroyed in a fire, and the family decided not to re-establish the dairy operation.

Over the years, the Ten Eyck family introduced several apple innovations to the business. In the 1960s, the farm began pressing cider on the front porch where the Indian Ladder Farms Cidery and Brewery Tasting Room stands today, and in the mid-1970s, John Ten Eyck spearheaded the farms’ pick-your-own apples. At the same time, John's brother Peter introduced the production of cider doughnuts to the retail market and began hosting school field trips. Indian Ladder ultimately built an addition onto the farm-market building to accommodate the cider press, which features a massive window, allowing the public to watch cider making.

The Ten Eyck family has always been at the forefront of the conservation and sustainable agriculture movement. For one thing, Indian Ladder Farms’ apples are certified “eco,” in accordance with the guidelines of project Red Tomato, a nonprofit organization that strives to bring fairness, transparency, and sustainability to every aspect of the food business. On an eco-apple farm, specific growing standards are followed—this involves using a combination of long-standing agricultural practices, as well as advanced ecological orchard management methods to minimize spraying and other environmentally disruptive practices. Furthermore, Indian Ladder Farms works with Mohawk Hudson Land Conservancy, Open Space Institute, Town of New Scotland, and State of New York’s Farmland Protection Program, placing a permanent agricultural conservation easement on the farm.

Look for the "eco" label on the Indian Ladder apples sold at the co-op. For more information about this producer, go to www.indianladderfarms.com.

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At Honest Weight Food Co-op, we truly value the small businesses and dedicated individuals who work hard to produce the exceptional products we carry. We think their exceptional stories demonstrate the importance of supporting local, and why we're so committed to it!

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