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Schooner moves Hudson Valley harvest to New York City on wind power

Sep 15, 2021 12:15 pm

Alexandra Marvar reports in The New York Times about the boat that is moving agriculture from the Hudson Valley to New York City with a much smaller impact on the environment than trucks or rail. The schooner Apollonia is captained by Sam Merrett, "carrying ayurvedic condiments from Catskill; spelt flour, hemp salves and malted barley from Hudson; wool yarn from Ghent; and other local goods," according to the story. The Apollonia began transporting food in May 2020, and this year it began in late spring and will continue into autumn. The wind-powered boat takes the vegetables to the city where they are then moved by solar-powered e-bikes and sometimes horse-drawn carriages to maintain carbon neutrality. “It’s not that I wish it was 1823 again,” Merrett said. “I think there were ways we used to do things that were really right, and we can learn from those.” Dennis Nesel, a 61-year-old who makes malt in Hudson, said, “Shipping today, post-Covid, is a nightmare,. With tractor-trailers picking up our freight, sometimes the stuff that we have scheduled to go to Brooklyn ends up in Herkimer or Syracuse, and the stuff that was supposed to go to Syracuse ends up in Brooklyn. That doesn’t happen with the Apollonia.” So far the wind-powered service is not profitable. “We as a country need to start reinvesting in waterfront infrastructure for this to work,” Merrett said. “One boat is never going to do that. It needs to become a pattern.” Read more about this story in The New York Times.