The Labor Day weekend was spent in Central Pennsylvania touring wineries for a travel story and visiting the homestead of Farmer Stef, a friend from my Bronx Zoo days.
Stef left the zoo last spring (just before the widespread layoffs that resulted from cuts in state funding) with her sights set on an unusual growth area: the Susquehanna Valley farm where her mother’s family has lived for five generations. She decided to develop the property as a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) project, a subscription farming model that’s gaining popularity around the U.S..
Early this spring, Stef and two friends from Rutgers University’s sprawling, student-run, Cook Farm began building up the soil and planting seeds to see what would grow. Lots of rain made for a good harvest. During our visit they were selling eggplants, watermelons, tomatoes, corn ears, peppers and other produce of a quality that would make the average NYC food couturier weep. Next year they will begin selling shares in their farm. They plan to market organic produce under the name of Wooden Hill Farms in Harrisburg and the surrounding area.
Farming’s a hard, all-consuming pursuit all spring and summer but I understand fall and winter bring time to rest and recharge. Check out the video below for more on the upside of farming.
Read more about Stefanie and Wooden Hill Farms in the story I wrote for Central PA Magazine.