Down To Earth & Down To Business: Columbia County Farm
Since the beginning of the recession, times have been tough for everyone. But as Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports, there’s one organic food business in Columbia County that's thriving…
When Gunther Fishgold bought his first pallet of organic cashews to sell in 1999, he was simply trying to make some extra money to support his organic vegetable farm and bakery in the Finger Lakes region during the winter slow season.
Fishgold points out that first small order for organic nuts morphed into a $10-million organic food and snack operation. Products are prepared by hand, in small batches.
CEO Darren Grout says the company' is focused on taking good care of its customers, 39 employees and the environment. Several solar panels dot the landscape on the 10-acre farm in Valatie, providing 75 per cent of the electricity needed to keep things running.
Tierra Farm has firmly rooted itself in the community with a strong social and environmental consciousness.
Grout says the employees are close-knit - he explains the company has been generous with benefits - the kind many companies have phased out in today's economic climate - things like no-cost health, vision and dental insurance, paid vacations, 401k options and average raise of more than 10 percent. Intense Job training is also sacrosanct:
- Dan Dwyer is the company's "coffee-roasting technician" -
Officials say the company is continuously innovating and upgrading.
Tierra Farm has just opened a new store with coffee bar onsite ; its products are also available at more than 20 locations throughout the Hudson Valley and the Capital Region.