SOMERS, N.Y. -- Stuart's Fruit Farm in Somers, the oldest working farm in Westchester County, will be protected from development.
Stuart's has operated since 1828, has 172 acres, and is a tempting parcel of land for development. But with $3 million in grants from various agencies, including $1.84 million awarded to the Westchester Land Trust, Stuart's will remain open for flowers, vegetables, apple picking and Christmas trees.
WLT was awarded $1.84 million from New York State’s Department of Agriculture and Markets to facilitate the permanent protection of Stuart’s. Westchester County, Scenic Hudson, the Town of Somers, and Somers Land Trust, the Watershed Agricultural Council and the Westchester County Agriculture and Farmland Protection Board also supported the protection plan, which raised $3 million to protect Stuart's from development.
“This award from the State Department of Agriculture and Markets to permanently conserve Stuart’s Farm is a gratifying validation of Scenic Hudson’s Foodshed Conservation Plan”, said Steve Rosenberg, Senior Vice President of Scenic Hudson. “The award and 27 others in seven counties across the Hudson Valley, means that the Stuarts and other farm families can realize cash equity from their farms without selling them for development. We thank Governor Cuomo and the Department of Agriculture and Markets, the Hudson Valley legislative delegation in Albany, as well as Westchester County, the Town of Somers, and the Westchester Land Trust for their commitment to conserving this very special part of the Hudson Valley.”
"Congratulations are deserved for the broad scope of public and private partners who have come together to preserve this great piece of living history—especially for our kids,” said Westchester County Executive Robert P. Astorino. “Saving this farm will serve the public good for generations to come.”
State farmland protection projects are time intensive and involve a highly competitive application process. Lori Ensinger, President of The Westchester Land Trust, said the Stuarts have been dedicated stewards of the land and faced mounting pressure to sell.
“We are extremely grateful to the Department of Agriculture and Markets for affirming the importance of this farm in the broader agricultural industry of the Hudson Valley,'' Ensiger said.
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