ESSEX — After a two-year hiatus, the Adirondack North Country Association will again host its recreational bicycle tour of North Country farms, local food businesses and agricultural landscapes. The regional economic development nonprofit has announced this year’s Bike the Barns will take place in New York’s Champlain Valley on Saturday, Oct. 8.
The one-day bike ride will start and finish at the Hub on the Hill, a food processing and distribution hub and retail store in Essex. and include farm tours at Reber Rock Farm and Echo Farm, also in Essex, and Juniper Hill Farm in Wadhams. Supported by BikeADK, a Saranac Lake-based company that specializes in regional bicycle events, Bike the Barns will feature additional points of interest, a finish line celebration with local food and live music, and other opportunities to engage with the Adirondack North Country’s local food movement.
“We’re glad to be bringing Bike the Barns back this year and look forward to celebrating our region’s dynamic food and farming scene with new and returning riders,” said Adam Dewbury, director of ANCA’s local food system program. “We’ve been getting so much positive feedback from farmers and community members who were curious if ANCA would host Bike the Barns again. We’re excited to welcome cyclists of all levels who want to engage more deeply with some of our local food producers.”
The main route for this year’s event will take riders along 25-30 miles of rural roads with views of the Adirondack High Peaks, Lake Champlain and the farms, forests and fall foliage of the Champlain Valley. Riders will have the opportunity to tour and meet farmers from Reber Rock Farm, a 125-acre draft powered family farm that specializes in pastured-raised organic meats; Echo Farm, a 170-acre diversified, regenerative farm and catering operation; and Juniper Hill Farm, an organic farm that produces fresh vegetables for local restaurants and grocers, farmers’ markets and community supported agriculture (CSA) shareholders. Bike the Barns participants will also learn from Hub on the Hill staff about the variety of services the Hub provides for local farmers and consumers, including value-added food processing, packing, distribution and marketing.
“Bike the Barns is a great way for community members and visitors to connect with some of the producers whose hard work and commitment make our region’s local food scene so vibrant,” said ANCA Executive Director Elizabeth Cooper. “We’re grateful to the farmers who will be welcoming bikers onto their farms and sharing their stories. It is sure to be a fun-filled and inspiring day.”
The event builds on ANCA’s work with North Country farmers, small business owners, regional institutions and nonprofit partners on projects that strengthen farms and food businesses and increase local food access. Recent efforts include ANCA’s organizational backing of the High Peaks Farmers Market in Saranac Lake and Lake Placid and a grant program that helped local food businesses increase production and decrease food insecurity during the COVID-19 economic shutdown. In May 2022, ANCA will launch a new zero-interest loan program that will help local producers expand their operations, increase their stability and strengthen food system security.
This is the fifth year ANCA has hosted Bike the Barns since its inaugural ride in 2016. Over 200 riders and supporters participated in the most recent event in 2019. Proceeds from Bike the Barns will support North Country farms and food businesses through ANCA’s Food Systems Program.
The $75 registration fee for Bike the Barns includes a clearly marked route, mechanical support, farm tours, additional points of interest, a local food meal and an event T-shirt. Registration costs will jump to $85 on June 1 and $95 on Aug. 23. Supporters who do not wish to ride are invited to enjoy the finish-line celebration at a reduced rate.
For more information about Bike the Barns and to register, please visit www.adirondack.org/btb. Questions may be directed to ANCA at [email protected] or 518.891.6200 or Doug Haney of BikeADK at [email protected] or 518-524-4674.