It’s summer! Even though the weather has been a little more than unpredictable this year, our farm is still bursting with freshness—raspberries, strawberries, tomatoes, corn, beans, peas, flowers, herbs, zucchini and tomatoes again! We can hardly keep up. Everyday something new is ready to be picked and tasted right off the vine. Luckily, in the summer time, the farmers have some extra helpers eager to get involved.
From mid-June to mid-August, Stone Barns Center is home to about 500 campers, entering first through eighth grade. Donning their Farm Camp T-shirts, they spend their summer exploring the woods, pastures, field and greenhouse learning how to be good junior farmers. Campers become a part of daily life on the farm, helping collect eggs, harvest veggies and move the sheep. They also participate in hands-on, culinary and creative activities that connect them to food, farming and nature. Every camp session includes garden work, animal chores, cooking, crafts, games and hiking. Just last week I spotted campers picking strawberries, learning how to hand-pollinate corn in the field, building shelters in the woods with found materials, and creating their own tea blends with farm herbalist Shannon Algiere.
At Farm Camp, we also explore the farm-to-table connection. They don’t just harvest the carrots, the campers then whip them up into something delicious! A camp chef helps campers prepare healthy snacks several times per week, and older campers cook a full meal in a professional commercial kitchen, so campers get more familiar with the inner workings of a kitchen and leave with skills to take home to their own families.
Check out these recipes here and here that have been a giant success at camp this summer. Do you have something similar to Farm Camp near you? What’s coming out of the ground right now in your town? Are you inspired to cook it into something delicious for a healthy snack?
One thing is for certain, we love having the Farm Campers around all summer long. Their energy and enthusiasm reminds all of us to take a break from our work and daily grind to join in on the joy of farming in the summertime! We hope you all get a chance to visit a farm or check out a farmers market sometime soon because the produce is delicious right now.