BREWSTER, NY—Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell was on-hand at Tilly Foster Farm and Educational Institute in Brewster recently when the first harvest was picked from the county-owned farm. The third-of-an-acre garden is growing over two dozen types of crops that will be used by Tilly’s Table and the Office for Senior Resources.
“The next phase of Tilly Foster Farm and Educational Institute has become a reality,” Said County Executive MaryEllen Odell. “We are using the rich soil of the farm to grow fruits, vegetables and plants that can be used by Tilly’s Table for its nightly specials and OSR to enhance the seniors’ meals. As we continue to follow the farm plan we will be able to showcase the diverse uses of the property and allow it to benefit all the people of Putnam County.”
The garden is lined with pumpkins, melons, squash, beets, peppers, tomatoes, zucchinis and so much more.
“I am very excited about this. We have put a good team together; they are working well together, and they enjoy what they are doing,” said Chris Ruthven, Deputy Commissioner of Parks. “I am very proud of the product we are producing.”
Tilly’s Table, the restaurant located on Tilly Foster Farm, is purchasing the produce at a fair-market price from Putnam County on a weekly basis. Chef Andre is using the freshly picked fruits and vegetables to create delicious farm-to-table nightly specials for the patrons.
The remaining harvest is being used by the Office for Senior Resources where Sean Sampson uses the farm fresh produce to liven up the lunch offerings at the county’s four Nutrition and Friendship Centers as well as the Meals on Wheels program.
The seniors are enjoying the seasonal additions to the menu. Lorraine Herman of Carmel thinks adding the vegetable grown at Tilly Foster Farm is a great idea.
“I stopped by the Carmel Friendship Center for lunch today and was pleasantly surprised by the delicious lunch that was served – especially the cucumber soup, which everyone raved about,” said Herman. The baby spinach served with the egg salad couldn’t have been fresher or more tender.”
She added, “In looking at the plates that were discarded after the meal, I can tell you there was very little food waste, unlike what it had been prior to implementing this new farm-to-table program.”
Growing crops on the farm has been part of the agricultural plan for the county-owned property since Putnam County took over management of Tilly Foster Farm in 2014. Tilly’s farmer Donald Arrant started planning for the garden in October. In the spring, Arrant with the help of Lisa Walker, Steve Kessman and Louis Albano began cultivating the land. They then planted seeds from Johnny Seed Company and plants, which were purchased locally from Peterson’s Patterson Greenhouses in Patterson.
In July, the early fruits of their labor were ready to be harvested. The garden has crops that will continue to grow through mid-November, such as carrots and beets, that can be stored and used throughout the winter.
With the success of the early crops, the Tilly Foster Team is already looking to increase the size of the vegetable garden in 2019 as well as grow strawberry and raspberry patches.
Photo Caption: Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell shared in the joy of picking the first vegetables from the garden at Tilly Foster Farm. Pictured (left to right): Donald Arrant, Alex Cyprus, County Executive MaryEllen Odell, Deputy Commissioner of Parks Chris Ruthven, Lisa Walker and Steve Kessman.