Wild Hive Farm was founded by Don Lewis in 1982, focusing on commercial beekeeping and selling honey at the Union Square Greenmarket in New York City. Wild Hive then began producing bee products and honey based baked goods and subsequently products using locally produced flour and selling these breads and baked goods at other farmers markets. Don hired and trained employees to mill flour and bake, thus expanding milling operations and sales. Eventually the operation was producing enough flour to also be able to sell it to the public.
Wild Hive Farm Bakery began in Don Lewis’ kitchen and he then built a commercial bakery downstairs in his home. In June, 2008, the business moved to commercial kitchen and store front premises in Clinton Corners. In November, 2008, Wild Hive Farm Store, and Café Bakery opened and began serving customers with breakfast, lunch, dinners and baked goods.
In 2009, as sales of flour and milled products increased, it became necessary to move the milling operation (the Wild Hive Farm Community Grain Project) to larger premises and Don began renovation of a nearby farm space to house the Grain Project and, eventually, an education center. The farm now produces Wild Hive Farm eggs and chicken and in time, hopes to sell our own beef and pork.
At the storefront location in Clinton Corners, the Wild Hive Farm Store and Café has grown in popularity and reputation providing meals and products based on seasonal, locally grown ingredients. Product offerings included Wild Hive brand grains, flours and breads, and both refrigerated and frozen prepared foods.
Wild Hive Flours are developing a strong following among chefs, commercial bakers and home bakers. Don plans to expand the offerings of the Wild Hive Community Grain project as time goes on and to use the Farm’s facilities as a means of teach sustainable agriculture.
Don Lewis is as committed today as he has always been to the building of a sustainable grain based food system here in the Hudson River Valley. He is frequently invited to speak to sustainable agriculture groups including the Northeast Organic Farmers Association, The Becker Forum of the Cornell Agricultural Extension Service and the Glynwood Center.
How the Cafe Grew
What began as simply a front door for the bakery and milling operation, quickly became a place to pick up your fresh produce, meats, and dairy from one place that you could trust was sourcing responsibly, while having a meal of delicious, local foods. We started to buy more chickens, to serve more fresh, local eggs, and became a spot for wi-fi, where folks in our community would be able to work, hang and gather close to home. We thought that simple was the way to be. It turns out that no public space is simple, but perhaps we would not have it any other way…
Supporting Local Economy
One of the most important elements of Sustainable Agriculture is designing systems that enhance our local community economy. Wild Hive Farm does this in a variety of ways, not only by supporting local, organic farmers through grain and produce purchases, but also by providing a number of jobs to members of the community.
Many people contribute to the process of our production, and this means jobs for bakers, millers, salespeople, welders, metal smiths, drivers, local teens, and farmers. By promoting this regional food system, and by supporting local festivals, stores, and markets, Wild Hive Farm contributes to a flourishing local economy and sets a standard for future growth and sustainability in the Hudson Valley.
The best way to ensure a stable future for our local farmers is to support them financially. Wild Hive Farm does this reliably, as we buy our grains and produce exclusively from local and regional farmers, and refuse to make any substitutions with commodity grown grains.
In this way, we hope to create a prosperous and lasting network of local farms, that will provide for, and be supported by, the community that surrounds them. By buying bread that is made using grains and produce from local farms, you are closing the “circle of sustainable agriculture” and in turn, supporting these farms by creating a demand for their production. This allows us to continue to rely on regional growers for the highest quality grains and produce possible. Thank you for your support to us, to your community, and to local, sustainable farming.
Wild Hive Farm was founded to promote sustainable agriculture in the Hudson Valley by promoting grain based local agriculture. This mission is born out of the local food movement and Wild Hive is committed to the production of locally grown and milled high quality flour. Wild Hive operations include a stone milled flour and bakery operation. In the past three years, it has expanded to include a farm to table café and local food store and an increase in milling and baking production. The driving philosophy is to make and sell quality food from local ingredients. Wild Hive has received considerable recognition for its flour, which is milled in small batches from organic grain purchased from local and regional farmers. Wild Hive is significantly different from other flours in that it is fresher, with a taste and quality difference is appreciable and is highly regarded by top chefs and “locavores” who prefer to cook and eat high quality locally sourced ingredients.