Your Guide to Food Shopping at Local Garden Stores

When you can't get to the farm — or even the farmers' market — try local nurseries.



The kid in us ought to squeal with delight when we see a roadside sign touting “Fresh Baked Pies! Hayrides! Local Grapes!” Instead, we raise a jaded suburban eyebrow. Is this a nursery, an actual farm (they exist in Westchester, right?), or the cleverly disguised back of a truck?

While some stores with the word "farm" in their name are, let's just say, far from their roots, a number are garden centers that have connections with local farms and sell homemade food. Even if you're not in the market for hemlock shrubs, it’s fun to soak in some countrified kitsch. This sampling, and perhaps the phenomenon itself, skews south; farther north, you approach Westchester's Agricultural District.

 

Nature’s Cradle (Eastchester)

 Not only do they run on solar power, collect rainwater, and sell only organic garden treatments, they also offer leftover produce from their organic food coop supplied from Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative in Pennsylvania. Sign up for a weekly cooler of produce, or shop for additional organic Lancaster foods such as grass-fed meat, gluten-free baked goods, agave-sweetened jam, sprouted bread, red-cabbage sauerkraut, and dark, “formerly Grade B” maple syrup.

Open daily

 

Mangone's Farmers’ Market (Mamaroneck)

Local honey — itty-bitty squeeze bears and big glass jars of honey from apiaries in Mamaroneck — is a boon to residents with allergies who come seeking it. The 71-year-old family-owned garden center also sells produce (not organic) from farms in New Paltz, Marlboro, and other New York locales; on a recent visit, this included Sheridan and Niagara grapes. Herbed oils, fudge, and a house cider blend also await, and holiday spirit reigns (we weren’t expecting the all-out haunted house).

Open daily through Christmas Eve


Related: The Stone Barns Center is Raising Pigs Fed Entirely on Waste


Cherry Lawn Farm (New Rochelle) 

On one side, it’s a 77-year-old nursery; on the other, a bustling food market and deli. Organic tomatoes (in season) from their farm in Tivoli, NY, and upstate apples mingle with pricey pre-cut veggies and high-end snacks, and the store even boasts a sushi bar. Steer toward house-made prepared foods, from soups and no-sugar-added fruit sauces to tiramisu. The guacamole — which was ready practically at daybreak — was the culinary high point of a day's errands.

Open daily

 

Ramsey’s Farm (Scarsdale) 

It’s the last farm in Scarsdale, reason enough to wind your way to Ramsey Road. That, and to visit the plant and produce stand in the side yard of the house, which blends in with the neighborhood but also has fields with tractors. Then there’s the Scarsdale honey from nearby Stonwin Farm, where Ramsey’s grows flowers and some of its produce (also growing some on site and some at their farm in New Paltz, mostly not organic). And the family’s 1915 Ford Model T, parked out back.

Open daily through November

 

Acorn Farms (Harrison)

You can drive past a Fresh Donuts sign only so many times. Get them on weekends (I can vouch for the plain) at this 55-year-old family-owned country store; other days, look for house-made pies, upstate produce, jams and mixes from neighboring states, and seedlings, plus a hearty helping of Pennsylvania crafts and jewelry. Amish-crafted garden sheds and gazebos sold by the road amp up the rustic charm.

Open daily through Christmas Eve

 

Harrison Avenue Farm (Mamaroneck) 

Tucked away on a quiet road for more than 70 years, this family-owned garden market carries a small selection of upstate produce (I lucked into spaghetti squash); they’ve scaled back on baked goods but may take a few pie orders for the holidays. As at many of these stores, some local produce is grown organically but not certified as such, and some is not; ask. Wander the charming yard for potted herbs and quaint garden decor. Open daily

 

Westchester Greenhouse and Farms (Hartsdale) 

The hamlet’s last farm sells more nursery plants than homegrown produce, but they had us at Hayrides (October weekends). And if the Great Pumpkin rises at any of these places, it's among the legions here. In the barn, among conventional produce, find Westchester corn (grown off site) and the occasional homegrown item (such as broccoli) in season — and endless jars of house-label preserves, from pumpkin butter to black-eyed pea salsa, made for them by another company. Homemade pies contain preservatives but are warm from the oven. Hot cider is sold next to coffee and tea.

Open daily

 

Curious for more insight into everything from health, weddings, and local business happenings to golf and hearty Westchester eating? Make sure to surf through all of our daily blogs.  

 

 

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