Fabulous late-summer weather greeted hikers who turned out for the Farm-to-Fest hike hosted by Champlain Area Trails (CATS) Saturday, September 16. Over 90 hikers of all ages participated in the second annual hike kicking off the Adirondack Harvest Festival held at the Essex County Fairgrounds in Westport.
Hikers walked four miles through the verdant forests and lush pastures of DaCy Meadow Farm, with its views of Toll Gate Hill, Lake Champlain, and the forested West Champlain Hills, finishing up at the Adirondack Harvest Festival. Once there, hikers joined festival-goers celebrating the harvest with locally-produced food, brews and wines, demonstrations, music, and exhibits.
“This is such a great event,” said hiker Delia Thompson. “It is so beautiful on the trail and then to see all this bounty, just the array of local foods, makes it even better.”
Hiker David McNamara agreed. “The hike was a good warm-up to come down here and have a delicious lunch and take home some really fresh food grown right around here.”
The Adirondack Harvest Festival highlights the resurgence of local farms producing vegetables, fruit, and meat for regional markets. It also shows the value-added products like cheese, jams, juices, and cooked food provided by the food trucks. The tie-in with the developing Champlain Area Trails network all combines to make the Champlain Valley and Adirondacks more attractive for residents, visitors, and people looking for a great place to live.
“It is amazing to see how farming and trails have come together to provide a great future for the Champlain Valley,” said Chris Maron, CATS executive director. “As we become known as a hub for farms growing real food and wonderful opportunities to hike, bike, and ride from town-to-town, we will see more people and businesses here year-round.”
Information on future CATS events and activities is available on the website at www.champlainareatrails.com and by following CATS on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Champlain Area Trails (CATS) is a nonprofit organization that creates and maintains hiking and cross-country ski trails in the Champlain Valley, with the goal of linking communities, connecting people with nature and promoting economic vitality. CATS is also an accredited land trust working to conserve natural communities, farmland, clean water, and scenic vistas.