Farmers from Orange County had a lot on their minds when they spoke with Senator Charles Schumer and the co-founder of Amy's Kitchen, Andy Berliner, on Wednesday.
The Senate's minority leader led a roundtable with executives from Amy's Kitchen to discuss needs with farmers ahead of Farm Bill legislation, and to engage the community on opportunities to produce items for Amy's Kitchen. The national organic food processor is setting up shop in Goshen and set to begin production in 2021. They're looking for suppliers to meet current demand at other processing facilities as well as in the future for the Goshen plant.
But farmers say that labor shortages are causing problems for their industry, and have concerns how the plant could affect the labor pool. And, since Amy's requires organic certified food, many farmers would have to convert or expand organic products to meet demand.
"It all sounds good, but to implement that and put that into the structure of your business and put it into motion," said Andrew Gurda of Davandjer Farms, "it takes years, and it takes a lot of learning. You're learning how to grow something without conventional ways."
Amy's Kitchen says it has helped many farmers grow along with its business, and anticipates the same in the Hudson Valley. Schumer is hoping to use the information gained in this session to push assistance in the upcoming Farm Bill.