I can't remember who told me about Stone Barns Center - but when I heard there was a working farm where you can visit and eat near my parents' home in Harrington Park, NJ, I got very excited. We made a plan to join an 11am group tour - unfortunately, it sold out online this morning. Still, we were up and ready, so we left at our scheduled time - I munched on some blueberry muffin my mom picked up. There were some grapes too, but I only wound up eating three or four since I wasn't very hungry and we were planning on lunch at noon. A gorgeous day! I brought the Los Angeles weather with me - mid seventies with no humidity. The drive through Rockland County was beautiful.
You can just roam the grounds freely, which I actually prefer to being in a tour group. As we stepped into the greenhouse, we wound up getting our own private guide!
Sedge (named after the plant) has grown up on the farm, with his family who works there, and boy did he know his stuff.
He even had his own green smoothie in a mason jar!
The center is massive, and the animals roam pretty freely. Look how close my pops got to these turkeys.
His pix were a lot better than mine - here are some of them:
We walked around for about an hour - important to stretch!
There is a fancy restaurant, Blue Hill at Stone Barns, with a gourmet tasting menu sourced directly from the farm (and others nearby) but it's crazy expensive ($85-135 per person) and requires a 2-month reservation. We opted for the more affordable Blue Hill Cafe.
Though that was pretty expensive as well! Lunch (3 sandwiches and a salad) was $40. Plus we got suckered into buying some beautiful gourmet goodies while waiting on line. My mom, dad, and I shared a pay-per-pound salad - quinoa/cracked wheat with corn and tomato, chickpea, with feta
An open-faced roast beef sandwich
Veggie goat cheese frittata and Wheat Bread stuffed with Kale and Mushrooms
My portions - DELICIOUS!
All the dishes, napkins, silverware are compostable! I really don't mind paying extra to support an organization like this...but their farmer's market prices were a bit outrageous.
See me in the background, peeved, while my Mom picks out a $5 tomato?
It's because I found out a bunch of kale was going to be $6.
Their system is very different from other farmer's markets - one person deals with everything, there's a long line to select (and another one to buy) which puts a lot of pressure on you to just pay what they ask for after waiting that long - no opportunity to take your time weighing, deliberating, or haggling!
But I get why their prices are as high as they are. Plus, they're a not-for-profit business that's offering a very unique and educational experience to people in the area. I know I would've loved to come here when I lived in NYC as a little day trip (you can arrive via Metro North/taxi in less than an hour). Plus, you don't HAVE to buy anything - you can just pay the $5 parking fee (which is reimbursed when you spend $15 or more there) and walk around - pack a picnic and bring your dog too!