Scenes from Our Farms: Kitchawan Farm

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A beautiful farm that has fully embraced the idea of community through their farm share (CSA), yoga classes, workshops and Barn Movie Night – what fun!  As Linsay Cochran walked us around the farm there was a real sense of being in touch with nature – you could see and feel it throughout the farm.  From the plants, the gardens, the sweet vignettes of flowers and sitting areas set up here and there that invite you to kick back and allow time to stand still for a while…

Name of Farm

Kitchawan Farm

Address

716 Kitchawan Raod, Ossining

Web site

 www.kitchawanfarm.com/backtothegarden 

How long has the farm been in the family  (history of the farm) 

We have 3 generations of our family living on the farm, its’ been in our family since my great grandfather bought it in 1908.  We started our business here as a way to help keep it in our family.  The property was always used as a farm, back then there were also some dairy cows.

How many acres are on the farm?

We have 21 acres now.  My great grandfather originally had about 300 acres which upon his death he sold for a very small amount to the Botanical Gardens but retained about 20 for the family. On two sides of the farm we’re surrounded by parkland which is really great, it creates an oasis of sorts around us.

What do you grow?

We grow a wide variety of vegetables for our farm share (CSA) with many varieties, for example we grow over 15 type of tomatoes.   We also grow all the nightshade vegetables – tomatoes, peppers, eggplants.  One of our major crops is garlic, which I grow along with leafy greens and cut flowers. Nicole focuses on the nightshade vegetables, cucumbers, squash, and leeks.  We also grow culinary and medicinal herbs.

How has the farm changed over the years?

When I first moved back here about 7 years ago the farm wasn’t really producing.  So the biggest change was that we started an actual business here to help keep the farm in the family because the taxes were so high.  We started the horse boarding business to help reduce taxes which has bee really great.  We’re also totally solar powered now!  It was a huge project and major investment but we feel it was worth it on so many levels.  So now we have this great 200 year old barn with solar panels on it.  Having the business here has really helped us to be able to maintain the farm too, which we needed with all the antique buildings on the property.

Where do you sell your produce?

We sell almost exclusively to our 15 member Farm Share, we also sell here at our store which is called “The Stuga”.  Stuga is is Swedish word for little house, our family is Swedish which is where that comes from.  We also sell to a few local restaurants.

Do you participate in CSA and/or farmer’s market?

The CSA is new so this is our first year.  We sell directly to the public from our site and the store so we aren’t participating in markets right now.

Tell us about your most successful season?

This year in someways is our most successful season because each year we build on the last season.  This year we are really able to see how far we’ve come.

What was your hardest season and why?

Three years ago during the tomato blight was our hardest season because  we lost our  whole tomato crop and we grow so many tomatoes.

What is your favorite thing to grow or raise, and why?

I love the kale because its so healthy and it provides for most of the season.  I love the greens.  And garlic is one of my favorite crops to grow.  Herbs and flowers are a real passion too.

Is there a lesson that you’ve learned farming that you might apply to life?

I feel the garden is a giant metaphor for life because it  teaches you so much. The thing I’ve learned most is letting go and being present.  The garden is also very forgiving, you get to try again next year.  That’s been a real lesson in being forgiving to myself as well.

Do you have a favorite recipe from the farm that you’d like to share?

One recipe I love is a raw kale salad, I make it several times a week.  Use any of the kale’s, rinse and take off the big parts of the stem and chop into ribbons.  Massage with olive oil, salt and lemon which softens the kale becasue the lemon begins to break it down.  You can add pumpkin seeds, avocado, mango, chick peas – you can completely customize it each time you make it.

 

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About Author

Contributing blogger Margaret Rizzuto is a portrait and food photographer with an interest in vegetarian and raw foods (though she does admit to occasional indulgences in seafood). Margaret lives and works in Lower Hudson Valley where she loves being surrounded by the beauty of nature, the farms, and of course, great food. She admits to being obsessed with the Food Channel to the point where she’ll even watch shows where meat is being cooked—meat that being a vegetarian she knows she’ll never cook. She loves all the techniques, ingredients and creativity that go into cooking. When not shooting, Margaret can often be found in her garden battling slugs or in her kitchen trying out a new recipe. To see some of Margaret’s food work visit http://www.mrpculinaryart.com or see her portrait work at http://www.margaretrizzutophotography.com

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