Plankenhorn Farm

Plankenhorn Farm

Hudson Valley Fresh is a dairy farmer partnership located in the Hudson Valley.  This group of farmers are “dedicated to preserving the agricultural heritage of the Hudson River Valley and promoting it as one of the premier food regions of the United States.”

Hudson Valley Fresh is the brainchild of Dr. Sam Simon who owns Plankenhorn Farm.

Dr. Sam Simon knows (and loves) cows. His father Kurt was a cattle dealer and Sam learned long ago how to spot a quality cow. He grew up on a 200 acre dairy farm in Middletown, New York, and upon his father’s death in 1969, kept the family farm going while in medical school, later settling in Poughkeepsie to practice medicine as an orthopedic surgeon. Retiring 22 years later, Sam went back to his love of dairy farming. Based on a handshake, he purchased the 150 acre Plankenhorn Farm in Pleasant Valley in 1995 from his patient, Lester Plankenhorn, the only surviving member of the family, whose father had bought the farm in 1922 after crossing the Hudson River via the Poughkeepsie Railroad Bridge in a cattle car to keep the cows calm. The farm name remains Plankenhorn out of respect for the previous owners. “Great farmers, outstanding cow people,” says Sam.

Holstein Cows

Holstein Cows

Sam sold Plankenhorn’s dairy cows in October 2011 and now raises and breeds Holstein heifers as replacement animals for other dairy farms. He also continues to raise hay and corn to feed their heifers as well. Sam remains involved in the daily operations of Hudson Valley Fresh and stays in this business not only because he loves cows but because, as he says, “someone needs to be an advocate for these family dairy farmers. Many co-ops treat milk as just a commodity but we take a lot of pride in our product and deserve recognition for that. All milk is not created equal.”

Farm And Trucks

Farm and Trucks

It just so happens that my sister-in-law, Katie (Zoe) Ferris, is using these high quality local dairy products at Zoe’s Ice Cream Barn.   She asked me to photograph some of the farms to display in the shop.  For me it is a great opportunity to visit real farms, talk to real farmers, and begin a new series on family farms in the Hudson Valley.

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About the Author: James Crisp

James M. Crisp has been an architect for well over 30 years. His architectural firm, Crisp Architects, designs projects throughout New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts. In April of 2007, Taunton Press published 'On the Porch' by James M. Crisp and Sandra Mahoney.

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    Carol Shrigley January 19, 2017 at 9:08 am

    What a cool story about love of the land and family heritage and the thoughtfulness of Dr. Simon keeping out of respect the Plankenhorn family name on this farm! We, too, have family farms in Nebraska and heritage is something very special to us, too.
    The photos are stunning! I am so glad you shared this with us!
    If I were a Holsteiner, I’d want to live at Plankenhorn!
    Wishing you all the best in this New Year,
    Carol Shrigley & Family
    La Jolla, California

  2. Aa2Cbf39867Dfccabe80558316A86802?S=54&R=G
    James Crisp January 19, 2017 at 10:24 am

    Thank you for your kind words and letting me know about your family farm. These farms are very special and we all hope they can stay around for many more generations of farmers.

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