Posted by: lornasass | May 19, 2010

STONE BARNS: WHAT A PLACE!

After a disappointing stroll through the grounds of the Gothic revival mansion at Lyndhurst (the National Trust should be ashamed–not a flower in bloom), The Sweetie and I made an impromptu stop at nearby Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture and boy, was I glad we did.

The courtyard and its gardens have a very English feel.

Because I hadn’t been for over two years, I was quite surprised at the changes.  The place has grown from a fine restaurant with a kitchen garden and gift shop to a working farm and thriving education center. On the sign pictured above, you’ll see all of the classes and tours they offer on an average spring Sunday.  I’d like to take them all!

There is something of beauty at every turn, but what impressed me most was the attention to detail and the desire to do the very best possible for the earth, the plants, and the animals.   According to the brochure I picked up, Stone Barns is partnering in trials to test new seeds for “vigor, flavor, disease resistance, and marketability.”  These include 25 new types of tomatoes, 3 varieties of carrots, cauliflower, celeriac, and kohlrabi.  In addition to improved taste, the goal is to create more biodiversity which in turn creates a more resilient food system.  (Needless to say, none of the seeds planted are genetically modified.)

Animal care is state-of-the art, with lots of room for the creatures to move about.  Stone Barns is also experimenting with Biochar, a pure form of carbon that can be produced from fallen trees, paper plates, and other organic matter.  Biochar has already been shown to improve crop yields when added to soil, and its use extends to substituting for charcoal on the barbecue and, with its ability to absorb carbon dioxide, may even play a significant role in the fight against global warming

I took oodles of photos and it’s difficult to choose which ones to show you.  Every place the eye falls is either gorgeous or interesting and state-of-the-art.

The pigs seem very happy.

The lettuces and many heirloom vegetables are very sprightly.

One shrub is more beautiful than the next.

Aw shucks...It's so lovely to see animals grazing freely and taking it easy.



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