Lady and gentleman farmers, the homestead of your dreams lies in Westchester County just up the road from Sleepy Hollow. Once the Rockefeller family’s personal dairy, Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in Pocantico Hills, NY, has become the most beautiful of sustainable farms. It’s pig heaven.
Happier pigs you will never see. Three-month old Berkshire piglets root around in a muddy oak grove, snuffle each other playfully, and nestle beside mama sows, two 400-pound behemoths of bounty.
Although earthy with a touch of ruggedness, Mr. Henry cannot claim to be a farmer. He does not really understand grasses, earthworms, pests, crop rotations, maturation cycles, or harvest schedules. Although an avid meat-eater, he does not possess the requisite sangue-froid to personally participate in slaughter, either.
He was perfectly capable, however, of serving himself from the salad bar at Blue Hills Cafe where he devoured the most devilishly delicious egg salad. The farm sustains a Blue Hills restaurant there as well as one in New York City.
But like most pilgrims, Mr. Henry journeys to experience the known and the unknown. In addition to much important new information regarding sows in farrow, from his noonday livestock tour he carried away an otherworldly sense of natural harmony, momentarily satisfying the perpetual American longing for utopia. He also carried away Stone Barns holy relics – t-shirt, cap, food book, heirloom tomatoes, fresh greens, and a frozen butt of pork.
But Mr. Henry’s legendary curiosity, one that in the past has gotten him into compost piles of trouble, leads him to ask the popular question of today: “Where does our food come from?”
Stone Barns chickens eat bugs and grasses. Like Gypsies they reside in ramshackle wooden caravans transported daily to a fresh spot of pasture ripe with sheep droppings the chickens pore over like college girls at an H & M sale. Stone Barns chickens know perfectly well where their own food comes from, so why shouldn’t we?
And the bees! The bees! The tintinnabulation of the bees, bees, bees, bees, bees. No colony collapse disorder plagues these honeybees. Order here reigns supreme. They understand there is work to be done on earth as well as in heaven.