Located 45 minutes outside of Manhattan, Blue Hill at Stone Barns is a working farm, an educational center, and a restaurant, all with a shared mission: to celebrate year-round farm-to-table agriculture and promote the connection between farming and eating. Of all the restaurants on my New York City itinerary, this meal was the one I was looking forward to the most.
Half the fun of dining at Chef Dan Barber’s locavore temple is the journey. Well, maybe an eighth of the fun is more accurate. After our breakfast at Russ and Daughters and a light snack at Momofuku Ssäm Bar, The Astronomer and I trekked forty blocks to Grand Central Station.
After purchasing tickets, we boarded the express train to Tarrytown. The 30-minute ride offered beautiful views of the Hudson River. Unlike our dear friend the Los Angeles River, this one was whooshing with water and free of graffiti. From the Tarrytown train station, we flagged a taxi that dropped us off steps away from the restaurant.
Before getting our farmers feast on, The Astronomer and I strolled around the farm to see the sights and greet the animals whose relatives we would soon be eating.
The first creature we sought out was the Stone Barns sheep dog. According to Wikipedia, humans first trained sheep dogs to herd and guard their flocks thousands of years ago. These dogs are very active and intelligent. My brother absolutely adores the Stone Barns sheep dog, and after meeting him myself, I am smitten as well.
After watching the herd of sheep tirelessly munch on grass, The Astronomer and I walked over to the massive greenhouse.
The greenhouse covers 22,000 square feet (a full half acre) of year-round growing space for dozens of crop varieties and uses only a minimal amount of added heat.
Every inch of space, every seedling, every clump of soil is intensely managed 365 days a year. The greenhouse has two unusual features: retracting roof panels that allow plants to “go outside” on nice days, and natural and cultivatable dirt “floors.”
There are a plethora of colorful signs around the farm to educate visitors on various operations. Click on the photo to learn how composting works at Stone Barns.
Bees pollinating a bushy pink flower.
After meandering around the grounds and taking in the farm’s beauty, it was time for us to dine.
Blue Hill at Stone Barns
630 Bedford Road
Pocantico Hills, NY 10591