Elizabeth Ryan has been an activist farmer all of her adult life. After watching her family’s farm in Iowa transition from a small, highly-diversified family farm, to a large, corn based monoculture she began to ask hard questions about the relationships between land, capital, labor, markets, food, diet and health. That was 50 years ago. In the ensuing years, she has worked at the state, local and federal levels on a number of issues related to food justice, local food, and food justice. Elizabeth has been farming in the Hudson Valley for over 30 years and is a founder of over 15 farmers’ markets including the Union Square Green Market in New York City.
Elizabeth has been making farm based artisan ciders since 1996. She has studied and traveled in the cider regions of Europe and was a Smithsonian Fellow in cidermaking. Her ciders are authentic farm based and often unfiltered, complex and ever changing. Quaffable and in the moment, as well as complex and food friendly.
Elizabeth also spent several years in Washington, D.C. where she directed one of the first sustainable . Last year Elizabeth received an award for saving Stone Ridge Orchard, one of the last orchards in the Rondout Valley.
Elizabeth Ryan and the community at Breezy Hill currently operate 5 farms in 3 counties, and sell at numerous farmers markets throughout New York City. Elizabeth’s farms are highly-diversified, with over one varieties of fruit, and producing a wide range of added value products including a renowned line of artisan hard ciders.. The home farm, Breezy Hill Orchard is certified organic.
Her “next century agriculture” vision for future farms includes a time when land is not a commodity, when farms are centers for food and culture as well as agriculture, when every person on the farm is a stakeholder, if not an equity holder, where there is fair compensation and a quality of life for everyone in the food chain and where significant portions of our food are produced within 100 miles of where we live.
Breezy Hill Farm is a licensed farm winery and cider mill producing artisan and hard ciders. The farm also grows 100 varieties of fruit, along with a variety of pies and other freshly-baked goods. Elizabeth is a graduate of Cornell University with a degree in Pomology.