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Bon Appetit

Bon Appetit

How did Laura Ferrara, an in-demand fashion stylist, end up running Westwind Orchard, an organic apple farm, with her husband in upstate New York? For Ferrara, the seeds were planted decades ago. Since she was young, she’s been immersed in gardening, canning, winemaking, and butchery, ahead-of-the-curve skills she picked up from her family, who’d emigrated with her from Campania, Italy, to Park Slope, Brooklyn. “We lived in a brownstone with figs, grapes, string beans, tomatoes, peppers, and flowers growing in the backyard,” she remembers. “My uncle still makes his own wine.” Not that this old-world mentality was necessarily endearing at the time. “As a teenager, I finally had to tell my mom: ‘Please, stop making my clothes!’ I wanted Gloria Vanderbilt jeans like the other girls had.” In 1995, Ferrara met the fashion photographer Fabio Chizzola, a fellow Italian, at a dinner with friends; they married three years later. In 2002, when their son, Matteo, was a toddler, they found the perfect weekend retreat in Accord, New York: a dormant farm with a rustic 18th-century stone house, an old barn, and 33 acres of apple trees. They soon convinced several friends to buy houses of their own nearby. But figuring […]

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The New York Times

The New York Times

An Upstate Farm Brings a Fashion Photographer Back to His Roots Randy Harris for The New York Times —– Fabio Chizzola and Laura Ferrara moved this barn, which was built just before the Civil War, from the side of the road to the middle of their property in Accord, N.Y. More Photos » FABIO CHIZZOLA, a fashion photographer, was 4 years old when his family began leaving their home in Rome to spend summers in the mountains of Italy. When he turned 12, his father started farming a small plot of land there, less than a half-acre on which he grew tomatoes, string beans, onions and potatoes for the family. But the young Mr. Chizzola wasn’t interested. “I would go biking,” he said, “play soccer, chase the girls, do wheelies with my bike.” It wasn’t until much later — after moving to New York City, oddly enough — that he began to develop an enthusiasm for farming. In 2002, he and his wife, Laura Ferrara, a freelance fashion and beauty stylist, were looking for a place to spend weekends in the Catskill Mountains. And, almost by chance, they discovered what would become Mr. Chizzola’s new passion: a 32-acre apple orchard. […]

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Bluestone Press

Bluestone Press

 Westwind Orchard’s Accord location is a bit off the beaten trail, but it’s a suitable site for a farm choosing to step away from the path of standard apple cultivation practices. This Certified Naturally Grown You-Pick orchard uses only organic methods for pest and weed control, a system that’s fairly common in dry western states like California, but in the northeast, is a rarity. A drastic increase in pest and disease pressure comes along with our moister climate, which means a trickier journey to a good organic apple. It takes hard work, a strong big-picture vision, and plenty of determination to grow this way in the Hudson Valley, and owner Fabio Chizzola has all of these qualities. When he and his wife, Laura Ferrara purchased the farm in 2002 as a retreat from the city for themselves and their son, it was primarily because of the property’s 1770s stone house, though they intended to revive the dilapidated orchard to a limited extent. But it didn’t take long until that small agricultural ambition expanded. The 32-acre farm straddles both sides of the road. There’s a sturdy deer fence around one five-acre parcel, and it protects the newest plantings of trees, rows […]

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Elle Magazine US

Fashion stylist Laura Ferrara may just be upstate New York’s chicest farmer. (Think Wellies and Stella McCartney sweaters.) She and her husband, photographer Fabio Chizzola, own Westwind Orchard, with 500 McIntosh and Cortland trees (to name two types) and a 1770s stone house. In less than 10 years, the couple has become expert in certified naturally grown techniques and beekeeping—when Ferrara’s not baking her signature apple cake with chocolate and walnuts or playing hostess to her tastemaker friends. “Maybe I should start a fashion commune next,” she jokes. We hope she’s serious.   http://www.elle.com/fashion/spotlight/fashion-news-laura-ferrara-319990

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Catskill Mountain Foundation

Honeybees and apples are intimately connected. Honeybees and corn share conjugal bonds as well. Interconnectedness. If anyone doubts the ramification our food choices have on our world, please read a recent article in London’s The Guardian entitled “Pesticides: Germany Bans Chemicals Linked to Honeybee Devastation:” “Germany has banned a family of pesticides that are blamed for the deaths of millions of honeybees. The German Federal Office of Consumer Protection and Food Safety (BVL) has suspended the registration for eight pesticide seed treatment products used in rapeseed oil and sweet corn. The move follows reports from German beekeepers in the Baden-Württemberg region that two thirds of their bees died earlier this month following the application of a pesticide called clothianidin.” Choose to eat sweet corn or an apple or any other vegetable or fruit grown conventionally, chances are you are contributing, as an accomplice—wittingly or not—to the death of honeybees. Maybe this news prompts a “So what?” Bees are bees are bees—some variation on yellow and black endowed with nasty stingers, all of them. (As a matter of fact, yellow jackets and hornets are the ornery, sting-happy bees and they are carnivorous. Is there a connection…?) Untrue. Take a look closer […]

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