Sample the Niagara region's freshest flavors at these 10 stops:
McCollum Orchards sells more than 40 vegetable and herb varieties at its farm stand between June and October.
Bistro Europa prepares dishes featuring regional produce, seafood and meat.
Blackman Homestead Farm offers apple and pear “u-pick” September through November.
Blue Monk serves up European pub fare and local beer.
Community Beer Works produces craft beers poured only in the Buffalo region.
Elmwood-Bidwell Farmers Market features local products, cooking demonstrations and entertainment from May to December.
Farmers & Artisans carries fresh and prepared foods from nearly 50 New York vendors.
First Light Farm & Creamery is known for small-batch cheeses crafted from goat and cow milk.
Niagara Wine Trail is a downloadable self-guided-tour map that helps visitors explore this emerging wine region.
Singer Farm Naturals specializes in cherries and garlic.
From city life to farm life: a tale of rural revival in western New York.
In a sprawling stone home in Lockport, N.Y., just blocks from the stair-step Erie Canal locks that inspired the town’s name, Rich Woodbridge describes keepsakes he found boxed up on his family’s sixth-generation farm. Letters signed by President Grover Cleveland and then-Assistant Secretary of the Navy Franklin Roosevelt thank Woodbridge’s great-great-grandfather for apples sent from his orchards. Dusty wooden crates bear the labels of an off-site winery operated by his great-grandfather. Receipts written in 1883 outline seed, flour and feed purchases, while others detail sales of cut ice hauled from the farm’s pond to Philadelphia.
The relics suggest a thriving enterprise quite different from the 100 acres where Woodbridge, 35, spent his childhood summers. He didn’t always recognize the historic significance of the property deeded in 1827 to Joel McCollum, his ancestor and one of Lockport’s founders. “It’s always been Grandma’s house to me. It was never anything unusual,” Woodbridge says.
While he and his wife, Bree, 34, have never taken the traditional path, their decision to trade international careers for an overlooked farm 30 miles northeast of Buffalo still came as quite a surprise to friends and family. The couple met in San Francisco, where Rich, a New Jersey native, worked in market research after supervising archaeological digs in Honduras. Bree lived in Arizona before coordinating Russian business-exchange programs in San Francisco and Washington, D.C. Shortly after their wedding, she moved to Monterey, Calif., to earn a master’s degree from the Monterey Institute of International Studies. Rich did the same at the University of California, San Diego, and community-development work reunited them in Chennai, India.
They were a month into their yearlong stay when Rich’s grandmother passed away. Upon their return, the Woodbridges traveled to Lockport to pay their respects. Rich hadn’t visited McCollum Orchards in years.