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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Farm Trip!!!

Yes this deserves three exclamation points! Today I went on a farm trip to Hearty Roots Farm in Tivoli, NY, about 3 hours upstate from the city. The trip was sponsored by Local Produce Link, a United Way / Just Food project, the two programs who work with my food pantry and was attended by representatives of each organization, as well as clients and volunteers from each of the 4 (5, maybe?) pantries that are supplied by Hearty Roots. As lucky as I feel to be involved with the organizations and the food pantry in any case, this trip was an even more amazing opportunity.
Forgive my gushing. It may not seem like a big deal to some of you guys who live in more rural or even just suburban areas, or have the means to visit them, but I'm a kid from Queens who lives in Brooklyn and works in Manhattan. I rarely get a chance to leave the city. And even if I do, my New York City neuroses often hold me back from taking that chance. I spent a lot of time on the bus today gripping the armrests hoping we wouldn't crash.
But that's why trips like this - and food programs bringing real, organic, fresh farm food to urban areas are so important. I'm lucky to be economically comfortable enough that I can browse the aisles at Whole Foods for fun new foods to play with, or buy fresh vegetables from farmers' markets to my heart's content (or my arms' strength) but so many families can't. Even that is not the same as having a visual and physical connection to my food sources. If more people had a link like that, I think they would appreciate real food as well as understand that eating a hot dog (or even an organic grass-fed steak) is not just eating any old thing; it is an animal.
So, this is probably preaching to the choir but, if you get the chance to "meet" your food source, be it an apple orchard or a dairy farm or a chicken, I would urge anyone to take it. Thanks again to Just Food, United Way, and Hearty Roots Farm. After all that gab, here are a lot of trigger-happy photos I snapped of the farm (and my meals along the way.)

                              Breakfast: overnight oats with chia, soaked goji berries, banana

 Lunch in three parts, Amazing Grass bar, rice with sweet potato, lettuce, red pepper, and an apple

It was a cloudy day at times, but the rain held off and the temperature was beautiful. I did get a slight burn, though, because, well, I'm Irish.


                                                                        Baby goat!!

                                                                   Eating corn!!!

                                                               Another baby goat!!

                                                                Broccoli, pre-flowering

                                                                   Swiss Chard, tomatoes


                                               Dinosaur Kale! They look like palm trees!

                                                       Farmer and workers in the beets

                                                                Some beets we got to pick

                                                      Tomato picking in the greenhouse

And this drink is how I ended the night. After leaving Hearty Roots, the bus took us to some nearby orchards to pick our own berries, paid for by United Way, which was awesome (and thank you!) I didn't take photos in the fields because I was too busy staining my hands. This drink is muddled raspberries and blackberries, ice, gin, Framboise Lambic, and seltzer. Smooth sailing.
Have you guys ever done anything like this?? I've visited apple orchards and pumpkin fields on school trips before but this was totally different and less of a lark. I have ten times more appreciation for farmers' markets now - especially after one day in the sun with a burn and half an hour looking for less than half a pint of raspberries. Interactive learning like this is also a great way to get kids interested in eating their vegetables. Do it! Do it!


  1. Awesome post, pictures and food ideas. I really enjoyed reading and hearing about your trip:)

  2. what a cool trip! the goats are adorable. i've gone strawberry and apple picking but i've never been to a real farm. looks like a great experience.

  3. i love this trip! my dad has three gardens and i've always seen how much work goes into harvesting.

  4. What a fun trip! I've never been anywhere like that, just to an apple orchard and a strawberry field to pick strawberries. I have picked blackberries and raspberries too. What an awesome experience to see where your food is coming fun. And those goats...they sure are cute!
    That drink sure does look good! Did it taste better knowing that you picked the berries? :o)

  5. Glad you had such a nice trip. That drink sounds amazing!!!

  6. Aww what an amazing trip! I love your photos, those baby goats were SO CUTE!! The drink looks delicious :) I've tried the amazing grass bars too, how do you like them? I wasn't a big fan of it the first time but I tried it again because it packs such a nutritional punch and liked it better. I've only had the chocolate, how did you like the berry?

  7. What a wonderful experience...and that drink sounds like a perfect way to end the day.

    I almost hate to admit this, but I often get teary-eyed at the farmers' market out of respect and awe at the work they do and the beautiful results. I haven't been on a farm tour, but there is a harvest-time open farm tour around here every September...I've always meant to go, but just never got around to it. You've got me fired up; I must do it this year!

  8. Oh my goodness, that drink looks amazing!!

  9. How fun. I love NYC but it would be hard for me to live there, unless I lived in Brooklyn and at least had a "city yard". After growing up with a huge garden, it's hard to imagine not having any space. But the PuraVegan peeps here are doing hydroponics in their basement!! I SO want to convert part of our house to something like that!

  10. That sounds like a fun day. I love, love love goats! Visiting farms really does give you perspective on where your food can come from. As I've been older, I have spent time working in a few farms, and even I had college friends whose families farmed (pigs or tobacco - yuck!), but I also remember visiting the grocery store as a kid and laughing at the potatoes for having dirt on them. I agree, this is a great experience for everyone - but especially those who need some encouragement in eating their veggies! Also for those who have the ability to "vote with their dollars" and buy local/organic when possible to see the difference between this and importing underripe, overchemicaled foods.

  11. Hey everyone, I'm really glad you guys liked the post! I can only hope there will be more in the future. :) And yeah, I totally want to lovingly head-butt all of the baby goats.

    Kimberly, that's awesome, do you help him at all? My mom always grew a few things here and there in our (small) yard when I was growing up, but mostly herbs and flowers and nothing that yielded much.

    Michelle, you know it totally tasted better!

    VAVA, I love the Amazing Grass bars! I go back and forth or whether I like the original or berry flavor better...

    Rose, that's very sweet to get so overwhelmed at the markets. You obviously have a deep understanding and appreciation for this wonderful life. I'd love to see you post on the harvest in the Pacific Northwest!

    Get Skinny, Brooklyn is coming around to community gardens, which is awesome to see but a large space like the farm I visited is totally overwhelming (in a good way) and awe-inspiring. It does not compare.

    Jessica, ditto to everything you said. That is awesome you have worked on farms! That's sort of always been my romantic, city-kid dream. What kind of farm did you work on? And where?

  12. Wow! You had to ride on the bus for three hours each way and then go pick your own berries? I would've needed a stiff drink too!

    A good bus trip is to Atlantic City. Free drinks while you sit and gamble.

  13. Love this post. I'd be excited too! Goats are my favorite animals besides cats...loved the pics. What a great expereince.


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