The true mark of Spring is my family's first visit of the season to Stone Barns Center in Pocantico Hills, New York to peek at the piglets and baby lambs. This Rockefeller-founded working farm, educational center, and landmark is an all-around Hudson Valley gem.
The rolling farmland is especially stunning in early evening when the hills across the Hudson River appear blue in the darkening light. Hence the name, Blue Hill, Dan Barber's acclaimed restaurant in the barn. For those of you who haven't booked a table months in advance, the farm cafe offers coffee, provisions, and light farm-to-table lunch fare.
Summer is for Young Farmers
Summer is the only season where we don't visit as much; it's far too hot on most days to wander around a farm in direct sun. I am, however, keeping my eye on the summer programs offered to children—especially the Farm Camp—where little campers gather to collect eggs, move sheep, and try their chef's hand in the kitchen.
Fall, the Harvest
The farm's bounty is available for purchase at its weekly Farmer's Market, which gets especially good late in the year. It's here where I first learned how to make celeriac soup from a farmer eager to share her culinary know-how on the joys of celery root. A limited number of pasture-raised heritage birds are available at the market in time for Thanksgiving feasts.
My family is always sure to drop by the Stone Barns shop, filled with a thoughtfully-curated collection of gardening and foodie books, eco-friendly toys, and home-decor that you'll buy as holiday gifts but will want to keep for yourself. A mid-day wintertime walk along the farmland property offers breathtaking pastoral views, especially when blanketed in snow.
And just like that we are back—to the start of another baby animal season in the Hudson Valley and to almost-weekly jaunts to "our" farm.
Photos by Rebecca Pitts.