There is nothing like stopping by a farmers’ market for fruits and veggies that look like they have been freshly picked. When crisp apples still have their branches, and leafy greens decorate the tops of carrots, food just feels homegrown and authentic.
In Westchester, increased demand for local fare and growing support for community producers are rooted in centuries of agricultural history. The county is home to approximately 8,600 acres of farmland, boasting numerous farms — many of which are family-owned and operated.
Two years ago, New York State designated an official route called Westchester Farm Trail, spanning 17 miles and 13 county farms, including Hemlock Hill, Muscoot Farm, Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture, Thompson’s Cider Mill, Harvest Moon Farm & Orchard, and White Oak Farm.
Initiated by Hilltop Hanover Farm & Environmental Center in Yorktown Heights, the trail is “a small subset of our broader Westchester farm base, reflecting a wide diversity of Westchester farming activity, such as maple syrup operations, orchards, meat-and-produce production, and farm-to-table initiatives,” says Greg Brown, a board member at Hilltop Hanover. The trail is designed to spotlight how county farms are preserving agricultural traditions and spurring economic development. Future plans include improved signage, seasonal tours, and collaborations with local restaurants.