The Daily Catch

Sam Rose Will Move His Farm to Hearty Roots’ New Route 9 Parcel In a Bid to Grow More Food for the Community

Sam Rose, co-founder of Four Corners Farm, will move his community farm operation to Hearty Roots’ new farm on Route 9 (photo by Kathryn Wheeler).

Two of Red Hook’s most prominent farms will join forces this spring as Four Corners’ Sam Rose moves his operation to Hearty Roots’ newly purchased 97-acre plot at the Cookingham East property off North Broadway/Route 9. 

Rose will lease 3.5 acres of the 45 acres that co-owners Ben Shute and Lindsey Lusher Shute will use for commercial food production. Under a new name, yet to be determined, Rose will establish an official 501(c)3 non-profit, which will be a scaled-up version of his three-year-old community farm, Four Corners.

Rose launched his farm with landowners Frank and Liza Parker Migliorelli off Budds Corner Road in 2021 both to grow food for wholesale and to offer community garden plots for adoption by area residents (See our story).

For now, the adopt-a-plot community farm offering will be curtailed, Rose said, but he hopes to revive it down the road. Community plots currently take up one-third of Four Corners’ 3.5-acre community space. 

Aside from sharing farm equipment with Hearty Roots, Rose’s farm will operate independently, he said. However, the farmers all share a similar vision: a designated portion of the land will be set aside to grow food to sell and donate to the community. 

Rose’s new plot will be dedicated solely to growing food for community organizations, like Red Hook Responds and the Red Hook public schools; the latter now sources 30 percent of lunch ingredients locally. Rose will step away from producing commercial grains, as he did on 125 acres of the Migliorellis’ land until Fall 2023. 

Four Corners Farm has been known in large measure for its assortment of community events (photo courtesy of Sam Rose).

“[Hearty Roots] realized the potential of this site for community engagement,” Rose said. “We’re coming at it from different angles but it is the same common vision.” Rose said he and the Shutes are ironing out the details of the agreement.

The decision to move arose from a conversation between Rose and Ben Shute less than two months ago. Shute said, for him, it was a matter of talking with “the right person at the right time.” Rose has previously done farm work for the Shutes.

The Shutes are nationally known members of the farming community. In 2009, they established a non-profit, the National Young Farmers Coalition, which provides opportunities and support for young and new farmers nationwide. 

To Rose, Four Corners was like an “incubator” for the model of a farm focused entirely around providing food and agricultural education for the community. In its three years, Four Corners held multiple community events, rented out summer garden plots to residents, and ran educational events for community members in both Spanish and English; Rose is bilingual. These events coincided with the production of thousands of pounds of fresh produce that went to multiple community organizations. 

Frank Migliorelli applauded the Four Corners project for its effort and impact. “We think we definitely hit the mark providing thousands of pounds of food, and quite a few memorable community events and programs,” he said. According to an announcement released by Rose, the Migliorellis are planning on taking a one-year hiatus to do farm infrastructure improvements, mend the water distribution system, and establish new community partnerships. 

“They were happy for me, this is an amicable transition and a natural evolution,” Rose said of the Migliorellis. As for the Migliorellis continuing the mission of Four Corners, Rose said, “The more the merrier.” Neither Frank nor Liza Migliorelli could be reached for comment Monday.

Rose will operate his new farm on the southern portion of the Cookingham East parcel, inside the yellow boundary adjacent to Route 9. The farmland on the east flank is now owned by Hearty Roots (map by Scenic Hudson).

As Rose plans to break ground at Hearty Roots’ property in coming weeks, growing a wide assortment of vegetables, he is still planning how and when to roll out future programming. He plans to do so in phases. This summer, he will continue his farm apprenticeship program, a paid position for high-school and college students.

Rose plans to continue financial partnerships with local donors, such as the Ascienzo Family Foundation, and pursue grants through state and federal programs. “We’ve got some great allies,” he said of partnerships established during his time at Four Corners. “It’s been humbling and a privilege to work within such a collaborative community. A good deal of what we have been able to accomplish is due to volunteers and partner institutions.”

So far, the community and partners of Four Corners have been supportive, said Rose, who mastered his farming skills during several years in Mexico. While some community members who farmed a plot off Budds Corners Road had “grown attached to that piece of property,” they were understanding and even excited for the transition, he said. 

The proximity of a planned 40-unit housing development at Cookingham East also excites both Rose and the Shutes. As part of the town’s $1.575-million purchase of the 113-acre Cookingham East property last June, 12 acres were set aside for the development of a neighborhood and mixed-use commercial area. The project is expected to be built by RUPCO, a Kingston non-profit housing developer. Rose said he expects the combination of farmland, preserved forest, and fields across Route 9  at Cookingham West, as well as the new neighborhood, will make for a vibrant corner of Red Hook.

Lettuces of several varieties have been grown for several years by Rose at Four Corners Farm (photo courtesy of Sam Rose).

“A lot of land, a lot of capacity, a lot of cumulative experience. We anticipate exponential community impact,” Rose said. 

One response to “Sam Rose Will Move His Farm to Hearty Roots’ New Route 9 Parcel In a Bid to Grow More Food for the Community”

  1. Christopher Klose says:

    Great news for Red Hook and farming’s future here! Glad, too,that the article confirms it will be on Route 9.

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