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Panoramas: Middle Valley
Pine Island Black Dirt Farms

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Pine Island is quite literally surrounded by a sea of "Black Dirt", the richest farmlands in New York State. The Black Dirt Region stretches for miles, from just below Goshen to the north down into New Jersey in the south, from Mounts Adam and Eve in the east across to the Shawangunk Ridge in the west.

Originally an ice age lake, layer upon layer of peat slowly built up until by the time humans arrived in the area, the entire valley was a swamp, studded by small dry islands. In the 19th century waves of German immigrants arrived and began to systematically drain the swamp converting the newly reclaimed land into farms. This rich German and Polish heritage still dominates the area making for a lively cultural experience. If you love hand crafted Polish sausage, rich pastries, Jimmy Sturr and the polka, make sure to spend some time in the area.

And if you love onions, you'll just fall in love with Pine Island, the Onion Capital of the World. Onions are the primary crop of the Black Dirt Region and in the fall during harvest, sitting on the side of the road, your eyes will tear from the aroma. They grow a pungent, strong and delicious variety of cooking onions, no whimpy sandwich onions for them!

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