Costa Boutsikaris

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Farming Status and Plans

Years actively farming:

2-5

Description of farming status, plans, and practices:

I have been working with growers in Western New York for a few years managing agroforestry crops such as shiitake mushrooms, oyster mushrooms, ginseng, berry production, and nut trees. My partner Anna and I have been growing out a small nursery of hundreds of trees to develop our own agroforestry site with great varieties of hybrid chestnuts, hazelnuts, persimmons, plums, mulberries, elderberries, and many culinary mushroom species. We are seeking land in the Hudson Valley to begin planting out an agroforestry system with the help of friends in the valley who are eager to help see more of these perennial tree crop systems take root. We would like to use draft horses for prepping growing areas and for managing the woodlands. We are members of the Ulster County Draft Horse Association and have been interning with them since January 2019. 

We would ideally like to purchase a property and a rent to own option would work the best for us. We are flexible with options, but because we want to grow a large number of tree crops that don't start yielding for 3-6 years we would be looking for a long term agreement. 

We are also open to planting trees at a site we wouldn't live at but could take care of visiting the trees three times and year and harvesting nuts in the fall. We have already started doing this on a few farms around Ulster County!

Description of marketing method:

There is a growing appreciation for agroforestry grown crops that support more sustainable and regenerative farming practices. There is a huge market demand for these locally grown fruits, nuts and mushrooms fresh and dried that can be filled in the Hudson Valley farm to table movement, farmers markets, restaraunts and NYC markets. 

 

Farm Characteristics

Preferred location:

  • Hudson Valley
    • Ulster

Desired acreage:

1-5, 6-10, 11-20, 21-50, 51-100, >100

Description of infrastructure:

Our crops are all tree-based and only need open field space for planting. We do not require irrigation. We maintain trees by mowing around them three times and year and pruning them. 

Crops and Livestock

Primary crops:

Fruits, Other Crops

Primary Livestock:

Poultry

Description of livestock/crops:

Chestnuts are a native tree to the Hudson Valley landscape and the new hybrid varieties allow them to be grown in an orchard setting produce nuts by year 4. There is a high demand for locally sourced gluten-free flour and chestnuts are the perfect tree source for a high-quality gluten-free flour that is extremely nutrient-rich. I currently manage nut trees in a silvopasture system grazing sheep and chickens between the rows of trees.

Hazelnuts are in extremely high demand right now and growers in NY are unable to keep up with the market. Hazelnuts are a very hardy tree that produces a rich protein and oil that has become a high-end crop in recent years. 

Plums, mulberries, aronia, persimmons, and elderberries are all native fruit to the region that do great fresh as well as dehydrated for selling through the winter and spring. 

Shiitake and Oyster mushrooms are high-end culinary mushrooms that grow great in the Hudson Valley and are also sold fresh as well as dried for the winter months. 

Farmland Tenure

Description of tenure options desired:

We are open to planting trees at any site if there is an agreement for us to maintain the trees and harvest from them. We are looking for a long term partnership that sees the value in tree crops and animals working together to build soil and create more resilience in our local economy. 

Additional Information

Experience description:

Currently: Managing High Falls Farm: Nut Trees/Fruit Trees Silvopasture grazing sheep and chickens between rows of trees.

1 Year with Wellspring Forest Farm, managing agroforestry systems. Mushroom production, Maple syrup, ginseng, fruit tree planting managing. 

2 Years at Hawk Meadow Farm, managing agroforestry systems, mushroom production, black locust lumber management, maple syrup, nut trees.

2 years at New Leaf Forestry, managing maple stands, forestry, wildlife management, thinning, tree planting, habitat improvement. 

Relevant documents: