You’ve been wondering about that wind turbine that went up down the road for a while now.  Or you’ve been curious about the solar panels on the neighbor’s barn that you watched fall into place, piece by piece.  How much did those installations cost?  How much electricity do they provide?  Could you afford to do the same?

Well, now you can get plugged in to the details of renewable energy at a farm near you – without having to peek over the fence. During the months of September and October, four farms around New York will open their doors to the public for a guided tour of their energy saving stategies and renewable energy systems. 

This year’s farm energy field days include something for everyone.  Jay and Polly Armour at Four Winds Farm will describe their professionally installed PV electric system and share other techniques to reduce fossil fuel use.   Jan and Ron Bever live off the grid at at Highland Hills Maple Sugar Farm and are eager to show you how to do the same. According to Jan Bever at Highland Hills Maple Sugar Farm, “you can afford renewable energy if you can buy a used car”.  Dani Baker and David Belding at Cross Island Farms will lead a tour of their brand new 10KW wind turbine and a 7KW solar array.  Combined with a 17kw back-up generator for emergencies, it is expected that this project will supply almost all of the farm’s need for electricity.  Finally, Tim and Jean McCumber at Dorpers Sheep Farm will teach a do-it-yourself solar electric and solar thermal workshop. (Rescheduled from 9/9/11)

All the field days are free and open to the public.  Refreshments will be served. For specific dates, times, and locations, see below. Please contact Violet Stone at 607-255-9227 or to register.

The Farm Energy Field Day are sponsored by the Cornell Small Farms Energy Workteam and funded by  Northeast SARE (Sustainable Ag Research and Education).  To learn more about NE SARE visit

Region: Hudson Valley, Ulster County
September 12, 2011. 10am – noon. Four Winds Farm.  158 Marabac Rd. Gardiner, NY 12525. Jay and Polly Armour operate a 24 acre diversified organic farm.  The farm raises produce, heirloom seedlings, grass-fed beef, pasture raised turkeys, and intermittently pasture-raised pork and eggs. The centerpiece of the operation is passive-solar heated and earth-cooled straw-bale vegetable barn with attached greenhouse.   A  14-kw grid-intertied PV electric system is situated on the barn roof, which is being financed by a combination of a NYSERDA grant and a low-interest loan.  A permanent raised bed system in the vegetable garden requires very little tractor time and hence very minimal fuel use.  The Armours also transport vegetables to market in a diesel van converted to run on waste vegetable oil (WVO). More info on the farm at To register, contact Violet Stone at 607-255-9227 or

Region: Central NY, Montgomery County
September  23rd. 10am – Noon.  Highland Hills Farm. 227 Green Road North. Charleston, NY  12072. Jan and Ron Bever operate their house, barn and sugar shack entirely off the grid.  They use two Southwest Windpower microturbines that generate 400 watts each and six 120 watt solar panels, along with 12 Trojan T-105 batteries to store the power.  Jan and Ron installed all the systems themselves with the help of their neighbors.  They are planning to harvest 100 gallons of sap next season from their 15 acre sustainably managed sugar bush.  Jan promises you don’t need a lot of money to get started in renewable energy. If you are looking for a do-it-yourself, affordable approach to renewable energy, come meet Jan and Ron!  More info on the farm at >
To register, contact Violet Stone at 607-255-9227 or

Region: Thousand Islands – Seaway, Jefferson County
September 28th, 2011. 10:00am – Noon. Cross Island Farms. 44301 Cross Island Rd. Wellesley Island, NY 13640.  Dani Baker and David Belding are the owners of this highly diversified organic farm, with retail sales of vegetables, eggs, beef, chicken, goat and pork.  Dani and David will lead us on a tour of their recently completed sustainable energy project, including a 10KW wind turbine and a 7KW solar array.  Combined with a 17kw back-up generator for emergencies, it is expected that this project will supply almost all of the farm’s need for electricity.  The wind and solar are grid-connected with net metering so no back up battery system is required.  The farm is also an international agri-tourism destination, offering educational organic farm tours and on-farm primitive camping.  Cross Island Farms is certified organic by NOFA-NY Certified Organic LLC.  Find directions to the farm at  To register, contact Violet Stone at 607-255-9227 or

Region: Catskills, Delaware County(Rescheduled from 9/9/11)
October 12th, 2011.  10:00am – noon. CMP Dorpers Sheep Farm. 339 Abe Boice Rd. Sidney Center, NY 13839. Tim and Jean McCumber raise a pasture based flock of 50 Dorper sheep on their 58 acre farm.  Tim installed their 6.72 kwh grid tied solar PV electric system (with financial help from the NY Power Authority) and an evacuated tube hot water system.  The farmhouse also features a high efficiency propane furnace and radiant heat.  If you are looking for some great do-it-yourself tips, this farm tour is for you!  Tim and Jean will be available to answer any questions on how to install your own systems.  To register, contact Violet Stone at 607-255-9227 or

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