Meet your local farmers: ST Greenmarket’s B & Y Farms

July14 Greenmarket BY Farms cropped

Judy Genova, owner of B & Y Farms (Photo by Maya Rader)

 

By Maya Rader

Judy Genova has always been a “pioneer,” as her mother says. Though Genova was born at Beth Israel Medical Center and grew up on the Lower East Side, she is now the owner of B & Y Farms, a 74-acre sheep, pig and chicken farm in Spencer, NY. “I just go in a different direction than everyone else,” Genova said.

Genova began to live on the land in 1991. As a stay-at-home mom, she homeschooled her children, and had a huge garden and some chickens. However, she didn’t start farming until nine years ago. She explained, “I just decided I’m paying a lot of taxes on this land; how can I put it to better use?”

B & Y Farms is not organic, though it is, “very natural” as Genova put it. Being organic, she explained, is “a paperwork nightmare.” Genova said she knows certified organic farmers who have to hire a full-time secretary to keep up with all of the paperwork.

Genova’s job title is technically owner, but at the farm she works on “anything and everything.” For example, this past winter she had over 70 pregnant sheep and no help. “I was on-call all of the time,” She said. “I basically did everything a shepherd would do, and also everything I guess a sheep-obstetrician would do.”

Continue reading

Are Stuy Town’s squirrels getting more aggressive?

July14 Squirrel cropped

Is this the face of a food snatcher/child biter? (Photos by Sabina Mollot)

Residents weigh in after complaints of kids bitten

By Sabina Mollot

Anyone who lives in Stuyvesant Town or Peter Cooper Village — or even anyone who has ever strolled through the grounds once — is well aware of one thing. The property is overrun by a population of the world’s best fed squirrels. Despite the various landlords’ feelings on the matter, many residents have, for decades enjoyed feeding the squirrels, and they in turn have been known to get up close and personal with anyone that might be willing to do so.

Earlier this summer, when a child was bitten by a squirrel in Stuy Town, the complex’s general manager, Rick Hayduk reminded residents in a May newsletter that squirrel feeding is discouraged.

But earlier this month, a Stuyvesant Town mom took to a community Facebook page to warn neighbors that she’d heard of two additional incidents of children getting bitten, and that the local squirrel population appeared to be getting even more aggressive.

The resident, Carolyn Hurley, later told Town & Village, “It’s seriously becoming a problem.”

Partially, she said it has to do with people hand feeding the squirrels nuts and other treats. “So they’re not afraid of people. And the crazy squirrel people say they don’t know the difference between a finger and a peanut. If they don’t know the difference between a finger and a peanut, why would you feed them a peanut from your finger? There’s a difference between throwing them a handful of food and getting them to touch your hand.”

Continue reading