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Leaves, management change at Indian Ladder

Altamont's Indian Ladder Farms is in the heart of its 93rd season, featuring new management and budding green business practices.

Although the farm made some management changes and is dealing with a small crop, President Peter Ten Eyck said everyone is "working together" to give customers the best experience possible.

Peter Ten Eyck's daughter Laurie Ten Eyck, who worked as manager of the farm for 12 years left at the beginning of the year to pursue her writing career. She went to work at the American Farmland Trust, a preservation group that assists in the development of farmland protection plans.

Anne Kelly, a buyer for the farm and a teacher in the popular Barn School, also left to pursue other career opportunities.

During the transition period, Peter Ten Eyck said, the farm is still focused on providing "a kinder, healthier way to conduct business."

Peter said the farm is working toward implementing more environmentally friendly business practices and creating healthier foods.

He said one new initiative is trying to create doughnuts without trans-fats, and so far, he said, the farm has come up with several recipes that might do the trick.

Ten Eyck also said that the farm is doing away with cosmetic sprays, which may cause the apples to have more spots. He said the apples will now appear as they do naturally, and he hopes that customers will be able to overlook the marks in exchange for the use of less chemicals.

Indian Ladder is in its second year as a member of "Eco-Apple," a group of 13 growers that have significantly cut the use of pesticides.

Customers seem to be responding to the practices of the farm. The orchard sustains itself with eager apple-pickers who have spent generations enjoying the farm.

Nancy Benson, of Rotterdam, said she has been coming out to the farm for 48 years.

"It's great if you like to get outdoors and you like apples," Benson said. "When the weather's good, it's perfect."

The veteran apple-picker even came equipped with a stroller to transport her apples on Sunday, Sept. 21.

Jana Marineic and Joe Murdick said they have regularly attended Indian Ladder for the last 15 years.

"It's beautiful, and we'll come back before the end of the season," Marineic said.

The response of the customers is something that the farm prides itself in, Ten Eyck said. "It's something we are proud of." ""

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