Farm and dairy tours near NYC
February 28, 2009 8:33 AM   Subscribe

Where can I go to take a farm tour, pick fruit, or tour a dairy that is within a 2-hour drive of NYC?

I want to escape from the city for a day and get a taste of country life. I'd like to visit a dairy and see how cheeses are made, how milk is processed, and maybe even milk a cow. A small farm that's not so mechanized and massive would be ideal. If that's not possible, I want to visit an orchard, berry field, or vegetable farm and pick something. If both of those scenarios aren't possible, is there an animal farm I can visit?
posted by HotPatatta to Grab Bag (14 answers total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
Grass-fed, organic farms are more likely to have those kinds of experiences. You may want to check on EatWild or or LocalHarvest to see if there are any places near you that offer U-Pick or dairy farm tours.

Note that it's highly unlikely there will be U-Pick opportunities at this time of the year though, everything is out of season. Early summer (May, June) is when most farms start any U-Pick operations.
posted by Anonymous at 8:50 AM on February 28, 2009

Stone barns in westchester
posted by jeb at 8:59 AM on February 28, 2009

Bobolink Dairy has tours every Sunday.
posted by plastic_animals at 9:03 AM on February 28, 2009

Go look at Pick Your Own, which will probably have a few suggestions.
posted by MonkeyToes at 9:07 AM on February 28, 2009

When berry-picking season comes around, I recommend Jones Family Farm in Shelton, CT. It's about an hour and 15 minute drive from whatever bridge you take (Triboro/RFK, Whitestone). I haven't been in a while, but my sister goes a few times every summer (for strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries), and always comes back with at least two of those big baskets, piled high after only a couple hours of effort. Go as early as you can in the day and wear sunblock. Have fun!
posted by AlisonM at 9:46 AM on February 28, 2009

Seconding Bobolink! It's a great place.
posted by katie at 9:49 AM on February 28, 2009

We have friends who live near Terhune Orchard and we've been there nearly every time we've visited them. Take a look at their pick-your-own schedule here. You can also pet and feed some of the farm animals, buy fresh produce, baked goods, etc. in their shop, and stroll around the farm's walking trail. It's free to visit. You only have to pay for the food that you feed the animals and the fruit that you pick (and, of course, whatever you want to buy in the shop). They also have a bunch of events and classes you can attend throughout the year.
posted by zerbinetta at 10:01 AM on February 28, 2009 [2 favorites]

Another vote for Bobolink Dairy. It is also a stone's throw from a B&B I recommended recently here. Added bonus: It's an hour outside of NYC, not two.
posted by yellowcandy at 10:26 AM on February 28, 2009

Have you visited the Queens Farm Museum?

It's a working 47-acre farm, not a museum museum. And it's within the city.
posted by cmgonzalez at 10:39 AM on February 28, 2009

Valley Shepherd Creamery in Chester, NJ is an awesome place to go spend the day. It's not huge, but they do tours about how they make sheep cheese, and you can go play with the baby lambs. :)

We were lucky enough to actually be taken around by the owner and hear how he got into the business. I was truly fascinated (and educated) by the entire process of how they choose the type of sheep, maintain the herd, produce their products, etc. To tell you the truth, I think I probably got more out of it than the kids did!

Altede Farms
is a really nice pick-your-own farm that you have to pass to get to Valley Shepherd. We go there several times a year to pick strawberries, apples, etc. What's nice about them is that they also come to local Farmers Markets (well, so does Valley Shepard), so I know that I can support them even if I can't make the ride out to their locations.

Good luck and have fun!
posted by dancinglamb at 11:45 AM on February 28, 2009

That should be ALSTEDE (not Altede) Farms...
posted by dancinglamb at 11:52 AM on February 28, 2009

Response by poster: Great suggestions.

Just bought a ticket for Bobolink's cheese and bread making workshop this spring.
posted by HotPatatta at 3:50 PM on February 28, 2009

You can pick your own apples at Blue Jay Orchards in Bethel, Conn, but the season is over this year.
posted by zippy at 6:37 PM on February 28, 2009

If you're going all the way down to Terhune, you may as well go to Stults Farm, which is nearby, and has better and cheaper (and more) pick-your-own-vegetables and berries. The orchards are picked by the farm, and aren't open to casual pickers, but the fruit is very nice.

I can't fault Terhune for its orchards, though--their pick-your-own apples are quite nice, and they have a cider press at the main farm on Cold Soil Road which is active in the fall if you're curious to see one running. The impression that I got is that, unlike Stults, most of their produce at their farmstand is brought from outside. (They say "other local farmers".)

If you're willing to push the driving distance a bit, the Pine Barrens in South Jersey are one of the biggest sources of blueberries in the US; you might investigate here and see if you're interested.
posted by Upton O'Good at 10:52 PM on March 1, 2009

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