Tilly Foster to Host Family Friendly Pumpkin-Palooza: Saturday October 25th

September 19, 2014

Tilly Foster to Host Family Friendly Pumpkin-Palooza



Area families will want to save this date, Saturday, Oct. 25, because Halloween fun starts a little early this year. Get the kids dressed in their costumes as Putnam County and its Tourism Department hold their first Pumpkin-Palooza, an afternoon of family friendly fun to be held on the grounds of Tilly Foster Farm, 100 Route 312 in Brewster  from noon to 5 p.m.


What exactly is a pumpkin-palooza? Well, according to Tourism Director Libby Pataki, it is a way to celebrate the autumn season and bring more families out to see the farm and its animals.


“Pumpkin-Palooza is intended to be a free festival that we will hold at the farm each year,” said Pataki. “This year we will feature hayrides, family pumpkin painting, a costume contest, a pie tasting contest plus other fresh foods, cider and live entertainment.” 


Families will also be able to visit with the farm’s flock of chickens and its two KuneKune piglets, Penelope and Ginger.


County Executive MaryEllen Odell noted there will be a welcome area where the immediate and long-term plans for the 199-acre farm can be viewed by the public.


“The vision for Tilly Foster Farm is to be a Putnam County owned property and facility that fosters financial, environmental, social and historical stewardship through a variety of program offerings by means of public-private partnerships,” she said. 


To follow the latest news concerning Tilly Foster Farm, visit For a complete list of events, things to see and places to visit in Putnam, visit the Tourism Department website at:





Gold Star Mothers to be Honored on September 28th

September 19, 2014


Gold Star Mothers to be Honored on Sept. 28

West Point Garrison Commander to Attend


Putnam County Joint Veterans Council, the Veterans Service Agency, County Executive MaryEllen Odell and the County Legislature invite the public to attend Gold Star Mothers’ Day starting at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 28 at Veterans Memorial Park off Gipsy Trail Road in Kent. 


Special guests from West Point will be in attendance for the ceremony including the West Point Garrison Commander Col. Dane D. Rideout and his Deputy Wilfred Plumley Jr., as well as Raul Lopez, the program manager for West Point Army Survivor Outreach Services, a support organization for Gold Star Families.


Gold Star Mothers was loosely organized in 1925 by Grace Darling Siebold of Washington, D.C., who lost her son, George, during World War I.  Following his death, Siebold devoted her time and efforts to not only visiting hospitals where returning veterans were recovering but also to extending the hand of friendship to other mothers who lost their sons during the war. She named the organization

for the Gold Star that families of deceased veterans hung in their windows.


Then, on June 4, 1928, 24 of these special mothers met Siebold in Washington, DC to establish the national organization American Gold Star Mothers, Inc., a nondenominational, non-profitable and nonpolitical organization.


On January 5, 1929, the organization was incorporated under the laws of the District of Columbia. The Charter was kept open for 90 days during which membership escalated to 65. Today, there are approximately 1,000 Gold Star Mothers across the nation.


“Since their very beginning, these remarkable Gold Star Mothers have reached out to women who lost a child while in service to their country. They have dedicated their lives to visiting and caring for all veterans, especially those hospitalized,” said Odell.


Just as when it was founded, Gold Star Mothers continue to provide emotional support to its members, do volunteer work with veterans and in veterans’ hospitals, and generally foster a sense of patriotism and respect for all members of the Armed Forces.


Antique Farm Machinery, Vintage Vehicles at Tilly Foster Show

September 4, 2014


Antique Farm Machinery, Vintage Vehicles at Tilly Foster Show


Once again – and back by popular demand – the Putnam County Antique Machinery Association (PCAMA) will host their annual show on the grounds of Tilly Foster Farm in Brewster. The free exhibition of working and non-working machinery from yesteryear will take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 13 and Sunday, Sept. 14.


In the past, the show has featured rows of vividly colored age–old tractors in bright hues of red, yellow and green plus a selection of fine antiques such as a 1920’s era McCormick Deering, an 1891 well-drilling machine, a Rider Ericcson Hot Air Engine from the late 1800’s. Horse plows, gas engines and a variety of fascinating early farm implements will also be available for viewing.  New to this year’s show will be the addition of antique cars and trucks.


Patterson resident and professional well driller Jeff Hyatt has managed the show and led the Putnam County Antique Machinery Association since its inception. An avid collector of antique machinery, Hyatt loves showing today’s tech-savvy youth what technology looked like in the previous century.


“We have a 25-foot tall water well drilling machine from 1891, antique tractors and hit and miss engines, a corn sheller and grinder that date from the 1890s,” he said.


According to Hyatt, PCAMA’s show is a learning experience for all ages.


“Folks of all ages enjoy seeing the equipment. Older folks can reminisce and youngsters are fascinated by seeing how things were done ‘back in the day,’” Hyatt said. “Children are very attracted to the hand water pumps, the corn sheller and the corn grinder. Each of these is a people powered machine.  Kids love to see an instant result from their work.  They also love sitting on the tractors and imagining they are driving out to the back forty.”


In addition to the tractors, cars and machinery, there will be live music to enjoy. Avalon Archives is sponsoring The Knox Sisters and Petey Hop. 


Attracting people to visit county-owned Tilly Foster Farm has been a project Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell and Deputy County Executive Bruce Walker started last July when thousands of people came to the farm over the July 4th holiday weekend to attend a Country Fair. Visitors have also returned to welcome the newest farm animals and have helped to give them names. To date, the farm is now home to a flock of 21 chickens of various breeds (most now boasting names) and a pair of KuneKune mini-piglets named Penelope and Ginger. Additional livestock is expected later this month.

“This show is wonderfully educational and the fun thing about it is that it relates directly to the history of the farm,” said Odell. “I think visitors to this show walk away with a whole new respect for farming in Putnam County’s early days when so much was done by hand or by horse or oxen pulled vehicles.”


Tilly Foster Farm is located at 100 Route 312 in Brewster, NY between Route 6 and Exit 19 on I-84.  


Suicide Prevention Week

September 2, 2014


Suicide Prevention Week


To the Editor:


This week (Sept. 8-14) is Suicide Prevention Week. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death according to the Center for Disease Control. It is a national health issue and it is on the rise. Most Americans were stunned just recently when word of comedian Robin Williams’ suicide became known. Suicide has no boundaries – men, women, and young people can all fall prey to the depression that leads to their taking their own life.


We will mark Suicide Prevention Week with special colored night lighting in front of the Historic County Courthouse in Carmel.


In Putnam, we have invested in suicide prevention research and created a free downloadable app, Putnam County Cares, for smartphones.  On this app, there is an icon titled S.P.E.A.K. which stands for Suicide Prevention Education & Awareness Kit, where users can find very helpful information about suicide symptoms, thoughts and behaviors. I strongly urge everyone to download the app and to become familiar with the information it contains.


The Mental Health Association in Putnam County offers training seminars for caregivers who want to prevent the immediate risk of suicide. They can be reached at (845)278-7600.


One death by suicide is one death too many.


Another place to turn is our Putnam County Crisis Hotline at (845) 225-1222. In addition, you can visit such sites as the Westchester/Putnam Suicide Prevention Coalition (west/ and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (


Education is the key for suicide prevention and it is needed in our schools, our communities, our workplaces and, especially, in our families. Please take a moment to download the free Putnam County Cares app and educate yourself on suicide prevention today.


MaryEllen Odell

Putnam County Executive 


Kunekune Piglets Arrive at Tilly Foster Farm

August 26, 2014


There are two new four-footed residents at Tilly Foster Farm. The latest additions, a pair of Kunekune piglets, were picked up and delivered by veterinary technician Teresa Delahanty on Monday. The yet to be named mini pigs join the flock of chickens presently residing at the 199-acre county-owned property on Route 312 in Brewster.


“The arrival of the piglets reaffirms Putnam County’s commitment to housing a variety of animals at Tilly Foster Farm for the public to enjoy,” said Deputy County Executive Bruce Walker. “As we move forward with plans to make the farm financially viable through public-private partnerships with organizations such as Putnam Northern Westchester BOCES, we are cognizant that the farm is a local treasure that brings joy to our residents both young and old.”


The Kunekune are considered a small heritage breed of pigs. While still rare in this country, they were a popular breed centuries ago. According to the Livestock Conservancy, Kunekune were among the “livestock breeds that were raised by our forefathers . . . breeds of a bygone era before industrial agriculture . . .” Kunekune were “carefully selected and bred over time to develop traits that made them well-adapted to the local environment. . .”  The Kunekune were first introduced to the United Kingdom in 1992 and it wasn’t until 1996 that these friendly grazers were imported to the United States.


Delahanty confirmed that Kunekune (pronounced “Cooney- Cooney”) were chosen for Tilly Foster Farm because of their friendly dispositions, their mini-esque size and their non-rooting and non-roaming characteristics. Delahanty and her friend, Lisa Walker, who raised the farm chicks until they were old enough to be placed at the farm, made the round trip drive to Bel Canto Farm just outside of Ithaca on Monday.


“Kunekune are very friendly, easy to manage little pigs,” said Delahanty “and they will be able to feed mostly on pasture grass unlike other breeds.  They won’t grow to be taller than 24 inches, very child-friendly.”


The pair, both female, is only eight weeks old.  They will be placed in the enclosed pen directly across from the hand-made chicken coop near the end of the farm’s entryway.


With the Putnam County Antique Machinery Association holding their Antique Tractor, Gas Engine and Farm Implements Show, which include antique cars and trucks, on Sept. 13 and 14, visitors will be able to view the old farm equipment, visit the growing chicks and welcome the new piglets to Tilly Foster Farm. 


Tilly Foster Farm, located at 100 Route 312 in Brewster, is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.


To see the latest pictures of the chicks and piglets or find out about upcoming events, visit Tilly Foster Farm online at or on Facebook at


PHOTO CAPTION: Lisa Walker (left) and Teresa Delahanty (right) hold the two new Kunekune piglets before bringing them to Tilly Foster Farm.


Putnam to Partner with BOCES at Tilly Foster Farm

Putnam to Partner with BOCES at Tilly Foster Farm
Equine Program in the Planning

At the August 20 meeting of the Physical Services Committee Deputy County Executive Bruce Walker announced a plan whereby Putnam County would partner with Putnam Northern Westchester BOCES to bring an educational component to the county-owned Tilly Foster Farm. The first of five planned courses would start in September 2015.

“Education was one of the many suggestions voiced during our Tilly Foster Task Force meetings,” said Walker “and now we’re moving forward with BOCES to do exactly that.”

BOCES Director of Career & Technical Education Catherine Balestrieri addressed the committee at the standing-room-only meeting. Explaining that the Yorktown BOCES Center’s culinary courses were “maxed out” in offerings and space, Balestrieri said the Tilly Foster Farm location offered the ideal for a new culinary arts experience for future students.

“By locating at Tilly Foster, we can offer a unique culinary program which will include internships at many of the surrounding restaurants in this particular area,” she said.

The Culinary Arts course would be held in the building known as The Lodge on weekdays with three sessions of classes running from 7:45 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. While The Lodge already has a commercial kitchen, it is presently unusable. The County will work closely with BOCES who will supply additional equipment including refrigerators, freezers, a six-burner stove, dishwasher, ice machine, work tables, cabinets and cooking utensils.

Walker and Highways and Facilities Commissioner Fred Pena said preliminary plans for building out the kitchen to create additional work space were already prepared. The plans were first introduced to the public at the July Country Fair. The Legislature had already approved a $300,000 bond for work to be done on the 199-acre farm and a portion of that will be used to build out the Lodge kitchen to suit the number of students who will be working there.  Additional bathrooms will also be added to The Lodge facility in order to comply with Americans with Disabilities Act requirements. The plans can be viewed on the Tilly Foster Farm webpage at: and on the County’s website at:

While the first course offering will be Culinary Arts where students will learn to prepare breakfasts, lunches and dinners in a commercial kitchen using professional equipment, Balestrieri said BOCES would also like to offer several more programs in the near future. Those classes include New Visions

Environmental Science & Sustainability, Animal Care, Animal Care Skills, and Horse Science and Management, all of which will be held on the farm premises.

Animals have already begun to return to the former dairy and horse-breeding facility and more are due in the near future. Presently residing in a handcrafted chicken coop built by Mahopac Falls Eagle Scout Thomas Quinn, is a flock of 21 colorfully feathered and frizzled fowl. The eight-week-old chicks are under the care of Teresa Delahanty, a veterinary technician, who now lives on the farm with her family.

Soon to be introduced to the farm will be a pair of Kunekune piglets. This breed, while rare in the United States, is known for its friendly, docile nature and ease in interacting with humans.  The history of these smaller pigs is not entirely clear, but it is thought they were brought to New Zealand from the Far East. The Kunekune were first introduced to the United Kingdom in 1992 and it wasn’t until 1996 that these friendly grazers were imported to the United States.

Delahanty explained that the KuneKune’s friendly disposition and grazing tendencies, rather than the destructive rooting habit of most pigs, made them an ideal breed for the farm.

The female piglets will be approximately 8 weeks old when they arrive. Like their two-legged counterparts on the farm, the piglets need names. To add your name suggestion, visit Tilly Foster Farm’s Facebook page at: and leave a comment under the photo of the Kunekune piglets.



Shakespeare Festival Performs for Seniors

August 18, 2014


Shakespeare Festival Performs for Seniors


Putnam’s senior citizens were treated to a special performance of Much Ado About Nothing by members of the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival last week at the Putnam County Golf Course in Mahopac.  Mahopac and Cold Spring seniors mixed it up on Monday, Aug. 11 while Putnam Valley and Carmel seniors intermingled at the County owned golf course on Wednesday, Aug. 13. Seniors arrived at 10 a.m. in in order to have time to get acquainted with each other before having lunch and enjoying the show.


A special presentation was made at the Aug. 13 gathering when County Executive MaryEllen Odell honored graphic artist Michael Cicale, a Putnam Valley resident who created the new red, white and blue logo for the county’s Office for Senior Resources, with a proclamation. 


Photo captions:



Photo #1: County Executive MaryEllen Odell (right) reads a proclamation honoring graphic artist Michael Cicale of Putnam Valley who volunteered to create a new logo for the county’s Office for Senior Resources. Cicale was accompanied by his wife, Lorraine,( left) for the presentation.



Photo #2: From left to right: County Executive MaryEllen Odell and Office for Senior Resources Patricia Sheehy thank members of the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival for their performance of Much Ado About Nothing. The actors, Michele Vazquez Knight who also serves as  Assistant Director for the 2014 tour of Much Ado About Nothing, Bonnie Antosh, Daniel Tracy, Lindsay Tanner and Stephen Bauder. The troupe performed on Aug. 11 and Aug. 13 at the Putnam County Golf Course.


Suicide Prevention

The completed suicide this week of Actor/Comedian Robin Williams has stirred the emotions of many who are shaken by the idea that a person so personified with laughter could be so depressed that he would take his own life. Additionally, the death of a person in recovery from both mental illness and chemical dependency is concerning to those who have also walked that path and are working hard at their own recovery. It is at times like these that we all need to remember that help is available, and that in Putnam County there are many resources available to everyone that provide help and hope.

Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell and Commissioner of Mental Health, Social Services and Youth Bureau Michael Piazza want Putnam County residents to be aware of the following resources:

“Putnam County Cares” is an app available on your mobile phone. Within that app is “SPEAK; Suicide Prevention Education and Awareness Kit.”

The Putnam County Crisis Hotline – 845 225-1222 is available 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1-800-273-TALK

Immediate Evaluation and Crisis Intervention is available at the Emergency Room of Putnam Hospital Center 24 hours a day 7 days a week,

For persons who are depressed and wish to seek counseling, Mental Health Counseling is available at:
Putnam Family and Community Services – 225-2700
Putnam Community Services of Rockland Psychiatric Center – 278-2500.

For those seeking help for Alcohol and other Drug Abuse please call:
Arms Acres – 225-3400
Putnam Family and Community Services – 225-2700
St. Christopher’s Inn – 335-1000

For information and referral you may also call The Mental Health Association/Putnam at 278-7600, and
The National Council on Alcoholism and Other Drug Dependencies – 225-4646.

If you have any questions, you may also call the Putnam County Department of Mental Health, Social Services and Youth Bureau at 845 808-1500 ext. 45201.


Names Needed for Tilly Foster Chicks

August 14, 2014

Names Needed for Tilly Foster Chicks


Teresa Delahanty, the veterinary technician who now resides at Putnam’s Tilly Foster Farm, has chosen names for some of the 21 chicks that arrived last week and are now residing in the beautiful, handmade chicken coop donated by Eagle Scout Thomas Quinn.


“As I spend more time with these babies, I am learning their personalities and the names just come to me,” Delahanty said. “We have Sassafras, who is a bit on the sassy side but likes to give hugs. She really does. She wraps her little neck around mine when I hold her close. It’s so adorable. Then we have Rosie, a reddish colored chick and she is a real sweetheart who just loves to be held.”


Other names Delahanty has chosen include Sophie, Fiona, Alice and Tina – for one chick who reminds Delahanty of singer Tina Turner. Another chick was dubbed Lady in Red.

County Executive MaryEllen Odell named the only identified rooster Walker for her Deputy County Executive Bruce Walker. The Walker family raised the chicks from day-olds and donated the brood to the farm.


While she has enjoyed choosing some of the names, Delahanty wants to share the fun with the public and so she is asking for help in finding names for the remainder of the flock which is comprised of Frizzle Cochin, Buff Silkie Bantams, Golden Polish, Buff Laced Polish, Red Star, Barred Rock and Ameracaunas.


Pictures of the yet to be named month-old chicks can be found on the Tilly Foster Farm Facebook page ( ). Participants will be able to leave their name selections and those with the most ‘likes’ will be given to the chicks. The naming fun will continue through August 29.


Residents are asked to check to Tilly Foster Farm website at for updated postings of news, events and photos of goings-on at the 199-acre county-owned farm located on Route 312 in the Town of Southeast.



Tilly Foster Farm’s New Social Sites

MaryEllen Odell

Putnam County Executive

(845) 808-1001


August 12, 2014


Letter to the Editor:


Tilly Foster Farm’s New Social Sites


Since we held the public hearings concerning Tilly Foster Farm, Putnam County has been busy implementing Phase 1 of the comprehensive plan that you helped to create. 


One of the projects we are most excited about is the reintroduction of low maintenance farm animals to the Tilly Foster Farm. Teresa Delahanty, a veterinary technician, is caring for the new chicks which were brought to the farm this past Saturday. The chicks are currently living in the nursery coop which was built by Tom Quinn as part of his Eagle Scout Project for the Boy Scouts. 


The county is also preparing for the arrival of the pigs and alpaca that will call Tilly Foster Farm home within the coming weeks. Over the next few months, other animals such as goats, rabbits and cows will also move to Tilly Foster Farm.


The county has also designed, a website devoted to the news and happenings of Tilly Foster Farm. To complement the website we have also created social media profiles on Facebook (, Twitter( , Instagram (, Pinterest ( and Google+ ( as tools to help spread the word about what is going on at Tilly Foster Farm. 


We welcome you to like, follow and share our pages and check back regularly for updates on what is going on at Tilly Foster Farm.


MaryEllen Odell

Putnam County Executive