Rainy days have their benefits. The first, most obvious benefit is the replenishment of available water for plant, animal, and human use. The second is that rain keeps people from enjoying outdoor activities. Why is that a benefit? Well, if you're visiting Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture and want to go on a vegetable tour, you may just be the only one on the tour on account of rain. And being the only ones (bf & I) on the tour last Sunday, we got special attention. Or at least that's how it seemed to me.
We went on a whim, despite the rain and forecast for more of it throughout the day. Looking at the clock, we realized we'd have just enough time to grab a bite from the cafe and go on the two o'clock tour. So up we went, to Pocantico Hills, just north of Tarrytown. It's lovely up there, just an hour's drive from Brooklyn, the leaves along the Saw Mill Parkway just starting to change into their autumnal habits. Here are some of the magical things we encountered on our tour of the educational, experimental, sustainable agricultural center:
A tasty lunch at the cafe
What's on today?
Selling the bounty at the farm market
Asclepias gomphocarpus, a type of milkweed, attracts butterflies
Happy bees on past-peak artichokes in the dooryard garden. These delicious thistles are apparently difficult to grow in the Northeast, but Stone Barns is figuring out how.
Go ahead, try one! Stone Barns encourages sampling
Super-juicy Asian pears growing in the main field are an experiment. A very tasty experiment.
Self-seeding sunflowers take over where the arugula leaves off
Purple brussel sprouts in the field...
...and yummy purple mustard greens in the greenhouse
The expansive greenhouse allows 4-season farming
Seedlings in custom compost are kept warm through water-filled, compost-heated tubes
Hoop houses on tracks also extend the seasons
Four kinds of compost are cultivated at Stone Barns
Berkshire pigs, right home in the forest mud
Hey little piggy
Sorry, we're too busy to look at your camera
Oh, hello there. These pigs sure are cute, but they were also a little stinky.
Stone Barns is a magical place where everything is grown for a reason, everything is harvested, nothing is sprayed with pesticides or grown in artificial fertilizers. And everything is repurposed, from food scraps to plastic tarps. You can visit Stone Barns for a tour, to volunteer, or to enjoy an 8-course meal at the amazing Blue Hill restaurant.
This Saturday, October 3, is their 6th Annual Harvest Festival. Get your tickets here.
Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture
630 Bedford Road
Pocantico Hills, NY