As a Penn State Master Gardener, I am required to take 8 hours of continuing education each year. I wanted to take the opportunity to visit a farm just outside of NYC called Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, so I chose a day that a class that interested me was being held. I traveled with my husband, Mike, and my daughter, Jessi, on a cold, winter day through the beautiful Hudson River Valley and over the 3+ mile long Tappan Zee Bridge to the former Rockefeller estate.
We took the class Intensive Home Growing Techniques for Homegrown Edibles taught by James Carr of the NY Botanical Gardens and author of Gardening and Landscaping the Natural Way. The 3 hour class was informative and inspiring and I am especially anxious to begin using what I learned to extend the gardening season in my PA garden. I’ll try to keep you up to date in future posts.
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Both before and after the class we enjoyed the 80 acre, four-season farm. We found much life for the middle of winter. Stone Barns raises over 200 varieties of organic crops in their fields and greenhouse beds. Many of those crops are growing right now, and not just in the greenhouses. It is also home to cows, pigs, chickens, sheep, ducks and turkeys – all pasture raised. The farm also maintains a number of bee hives.
Two exciting things we found are a cafe and a restaurant which are sourced from the surrounding fields and pasture, as well as other local farms. We enjoyed a fabulous lunch at the cafe which included parsnip soup, homemade bologna sandwiches on freshly baked bread (I could genuinely learn to like bologna if this is what it’s meant to be like), and parsnip cake with cream cheese icing (not surprisingly, they harvested parsnips this week). The cake tasted very much like carrot cake and inspired me to consider growing parsnips.
To learn how to build a garden that builds healthy soil, be sure to check out my eBook The Art of Gardening: Building Your Soil. You really can become a better gardener, and you really can grow healthy, nourishing produce. It’s all about the soil! Click here to buy now.
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