Summer Fun in Westchester: Volunteer at Local Farms



You understand the importance of a locavorian diet; you splurge on farm-to-table dinners; you’ve even planted an herb garden in your backyard. If you’re still looking for ways to feel connected to Mama Earth, you might want to try your hand at some farm chores. Luckily, Westchester is teeming with farms—some of which are accepting a few volunteers.

Above photos courtesy of Muscoot Farm


Muscoot Farm
Katonah
(914) 864-7282; muscootfarm.org

Muscoot traces its roots back to 1880, when it was a “gentleman’s” dairy barn, and today it’s still home to cows, lambs, chicks, goats, ducks, and pigs. Throughout the year, the folks at Muscoot open up the farm for morning chores, during which participants help care for the animals before enjoying a farm-fresh breakfast. If you want to try your hand at more advanced heritage crafts, visit on June 9, when Mia Camacho-Fitzgerald from Clean Ridge Soap Company teaches workshops on candle- and soap-making.

 

Photos by Bryan Haeffele

Philipsburg Manor
Sleepy Hollow
(914) 631-8200; hudsonvalley.org

You might’ve visited Philipsburg Manor during one of its big events, such as Pirates on the Hudson or the Horseman’s Hollow, but have you ever headed over on a regular weekend and taken the tour? If you do, you’ll be lead through a complex that includes a working farm—complete with heritage-breed livestock—a gristmill, a slaves’ garden, and a historic manor house. Along the way, guides have plotted out hands-on activities so you can see what the life of an early American farmer was like. It’ll make you thankful for your microwave.

Stamford Museum & Nature Center
Stamford, CT
(203) 322-1646
stamfordmuseum.org

On the grounds of the Stamford Museum & Nature Center lies Heckscher Farm, an educational farm with an organic vegetable garden, maple sugar house, and many heritage-breed farm animals. Families interested in the farming life should visit for Family Fun Fridays, which feature different activities each week. On June 8, for example, you can try your hand at making pickles—or plant pumpkin seeds for the fall. If you’re not a pickle- or pumpkin-eater, on June 15 you can try making your own butter and cheese.

Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture
Pocantico Hills
(914) 366-6200; stonebarnscenter.org

You’ve seen the livestock, toured the greenhouses, and maybe even dined at Blue Hill. Now it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get to work. Adults can look out for “Farm-to-Table” events, where they can learn about growing food on the farm, harvest seasonal ingredients, then see a cooking demonstration of how they’re used. (And then the best part: the eating.) Kids can visit on weekends, when they’ll be put to work collecting eggs from the farm’s hens. This time, it’ll be good to hear them say they’re all cooped up.
 

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