On Sunday morning we made our way up along the Hudson River to the tiny village of Pocantico Hills near Tarrytown to spend the day at Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture. I worked as public programs manager at the Center right after graduate school, and it was such a treat to go back to the farm smack dab in the middle of spring. The sheep were freshly sheared, the chickens were grazing in knee-high grasses, and the sweet peas were going positively bananas in the hoop houses in the terrace garden.
Stone Barns—a nonprofit with a mission to create a healthy and sustainable food system—operates a four-season farm that’s open to the public. They recently shifted their weekend visitor experience to ticketed entrance that includes drop-in programming throughout the day and the team at the farm invited us up to check out the changes and generally frolic about. Having missed our first (two!) train(s) (don’t even ask how we managed that), James and I were especially grateful for the shift in programming. We were able to drop-in to visit the hens and collect eggs on a more flexible morning schedule and afterward we could wander about and find staff members stationed throughout the farm to answer questions. In the afternoon we also had the chance to opt into more formal tours and other hands-on activities.
I took too many photos, really. So I hope you’ll indulge a little photo-heavy post in the name of fresh air and sunshine.
We participated in the morning farm chore—helping the farmers to collect eggs from the Rhode Island Red laying hens.
Stone Barns laying hens are rotated around the front pasture in moveable hen houses called egg mobiles so that they always have fresh pasture for grazing.
Egg mobiles out to pasture!
Curious little women.
If you decide to head to the farm, be sure to go prepared with closed-toed shoes—and even pants—that you don’t mind getting a little dirty.
Some of the Center staff, finishing up the farm chore.
Next we made our way down to the terrace garden, greenhouse, and barnyard.
The terrace garden is one of my favorite spots on the farm. Right now it’s filled with poppies, sweet peas, nigella, and larkspur, just to name a few.
Sweet peas and poppies!
We were too busy chatting with farmer-friends to catch all of the greenhouse tour, but here’s a shot of visitors learning about the goings-on from a staff interpreter.
Edible chrysanthemum, or Shungiku.
Greenhouse beds filled with basil seedlings. A view of the barnyard from the back pasture.
A just-sheared Finn-Dorset sheep.
Just-hatched Freedom Ranger chickens in the brooder barn.
Geese, oh my!
Guests recieve a print-out of daily activities and blackboard signs indicate what’s happening where.
Outdoor seating in the dooryard garden got caught in an afternoon shower, but made for the perfect spot to enjoy a little lunch from the Blue Hill café in the courtyard.
Border plantings along the dooryard garden.
Spring lettuces and summer squash starts outside the farm store, where visitors can also purchase farm eggs, meats, greens, and flowers in addition to all kinds of tempting books and gardening supplies.
In case you’re in the neighborhood:
Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture
Directions & Visitor Information.
Weekend Tickets: $20/adults, $10/children, free for under-2s & members
(If you’re planning a weekend trip, make sure to order your tickets in advance online—tickets sell out!)
More reading about the farm.
An upcoming program I have my eye on.
More Out and About posts, RIGHT HERE.