With the sidewalks quickly starting to sizzle up ice cream (and garbage) drips here in NYC, Walker and I took a quick trip out of the city’s summer aromas to a farm up the Hudson, the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture.
I visited the farm and the accompanying restaurant, Blue Hill, almost exactly a year ago for my office’s sales conference and had been wanting Walker to see the incredible barns ever since.
We took the Metro North Train from Grand Central a quick 40 minutes to Tarrytown, and got a cab from there out to the farm (about 10 more minutes).
The barns were once the recreational dairy barns of the Rockefellers who donated them as a non-profit educational center on food and agriculture open to the public Wednesdays through Sundays.
Since it was a Friday afternoon, things were pretty quiet at the farm. We started with a quick stop in the Visitor’s Centre, which houses lovely gardening supplies, farm-fresh goods like eggs and strawberries, and lots of cookbooks and kitchen goodies like ceramic bowls.
Next up was lunch at the Blue Hill Grain Bar. This quaint little cafe had an assortment of seasonal spring pastries (Walker got a rhubarb scone), sandwiches, salads, and coffees. I had a slice of broccoli frittata with goat’s cheese which was yummy and Walker had a roast beef sandwich on freshly-cracked grain bread.
We ate under the portico with little sparrows hopping at our feet.
The famous Blue Hill restaurant, known as the foremost 'farm-to-table' restaurant in the world rents its idyllic location in Stone Barns and 70% of the farm's produce goes to the restaurant. We've eaten at the NYC location a few times, but I'm dreaming of having dinner out here at the farm someday!
Blue Hill's wine cellar
We spent about an hour walking around the farm, trying to use the Stone Barns app (which it turned out was accurate, but still confusing), including short jaunt through the woods and meadows, which were ridiculously green and so sticky it felt like sap was in the air with the humidity.
You can see the portico where we'd eaten lunch in the distance.
We found this friendly pal in the woods!
We headed back to the Visitor's Centre around 3 in the afternoon for a free farm tour. Our guide showed us around the 6 acre vegetable garden, where the staff of Blue Hill was learning about the day’s harvest. It was about 90 degrees, sunny and humid. I was nearly passing out, so I’m not sure how they were all still standing in their wool pants. Walker had a Dan Barber sighting, the chef who made farm-to-table cooking famous, which excited him.
Stone Barns is renowned for caring for their soil by crop rotations for maximum food flavor.
You can see here how close the veggies are to the kitchen--only 500 feet!
The tour also took us to the rotating chicken coops with their Rhode Island Reds pecking away at the grass. These gals produce 5,000 eggs a week. I thought the flattened grasses were so beautiful.
And these busy bees make over 250 pounds of honey a year; we couldn't get much closer since they had opened the hives the day before.
We wrapped up the day with a few more photos around the farm before we jetted back to Brooklyn for our traditional Friday pizza night.
If you'd like to visit Stone Barns, there are free tours Wednesday through Friday, and weekends have special programming for which you can buy tickets ahead.
Such a peaceful escape so close to the city. Until next time, lovely barns!