October in New York: East Hill Farm/Folk Art Guild Open House

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Last Sunday morning, though I could have slept in, I woke up early. I woke up my family too. I told them we were about to take a trip into the country. No, we weren’t going through a corn Maze.No, there would be no pumpkin catapult contests. But I promised them, they would enjoy it. They were going to have a good time. Because I SAID SO!

Life has been way too hectic lately. I feel like I have barely seen my three children since late June. It seems like no sooner did my older son and daughter return from sleep-away camp and I washed all their laundry, the summer ended and so began the school grind. Homework and tests.  Track meets and band practice.

But last Sunday morning, we had this glorious sunny perfect day. And we had no school and no work. I just wanted one chore-free day of me not nagging anyone spent out in the country. One day of me not badgering anyone to stop texting friends while I am talking to them or stop playing games on the computer.

So off we went.

The ride along Canandaigua Lake had the whole family, plus a friend of my son’s, singing along to “American Pie” on the radio and marveling at the colors of the trees that dotted the hills

as we whizzed past withering cornfields.

To reach our destination: the East Hill  Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Farm and Folk Art Guild in beautiful, Middlesex, NY. There, we got a chance to see where our vegetables were grown all summer.

East Hill Farm is a project of the Rochester Folk Art Guild, a nonprofit organization and community of craftspeople and farmers. Since 1967, they have grown food and produced handmade practical folk art on a 350 acre farm. East Hill Farm uses old fashioned, chemical-free, hands-on organic methods to grow fruit, vegetables, herbs, eggs, pigs, and chickens for the community and for sale through our CSA and markets.

For the past 20 weeks, our family took part in a great experiment of owning a CSA share. Each Friday since mid-May we were presented with a portion of vegetables, fruit, herbs and flowers organically and lovingly grown by a group of young entrepreneurial farmers.   Whether it was spring’s excessive rains or July’s excessive heat, we shared in the farmers’ risky dance with Mother Nature.

The farm had limited cell phone service so we got a chance to sample the simpler, slower style of life. We actually got a chance to catch up, share and talk as a family. How many times are family members distracted from each other by screens: laptops, DS games, cell phones, iPods?

Well, on this day in October my teen-aged daughter actually sat and talked to me.  She sat and reminisced with me about the first time she used  a pottters wheel this summer at camp as we watched a master potter throw and mold a clay jar before our eyes:

How many toys, clothing, dishes do we buy that are made of cheaply made mass-produced?

At East Hill Farm, in the woodworking shop, bare-footed craftsmen showed off their lathes.

And my kids played with real wooden toys.

Made in the USA.

Then, in the weaver’s studio, my son got to try his hand at a loom, using wool that was dyed by an apprentice, the same young woman who brings us our week’s worth of vegetables. Thank you, East Hill Farm farmers. It’s been a great summer.

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About stacylynngittleman

I have been a public relations professional and reporter -- and always thought I would live in the New York Metro area - before my husband took a job in Rochester, New York. Most in Metro New York can't find Rochester on a map,and neither could I before we moved. I am now a columnist and a freelance writer for Rochester's only daily newspaper, the Democrat & Chronicle. I also am passionate about gardening, fitness and most of all, Jewish education and Israel Advocacy. Here's my perspective on Western New York living - the good, the bad, and the snowy.

3 responses to “October in New York: East Hill Farm/Folk Art Guild Open House”

  1. Mom says :

    Days are so full of “stuff”,that we rarely get the time to spend quality time with our family. I have found that it was not the big things that you and your brother remembered growing up,it was the small things. Continue to find the time and make the memories. Later on it will be fun to reminisce. Love
    Mom

  2. Customer service design says :

    This farmhouse looks so serene and placid. I would love to spend a vacation at a place like this.

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