Meet me in Westchester: Part 1

31 Aug

I think I might be bipolar. Seriously. I have two very distinct personalities: one is very much interested in fashion and technology and beautiful material things. And the other is a crunchy granola boho, interested in veggie gardens and organic wool and prairie skirts.

Stone Barns Center for Food & Agriculture, and it’s on-site restaurant Blue Hill at Stone Barns, satisfies both sides of me. It’s kind of genius, really. It’s a non-profit center that creates an air of exclusivity around its on-site offerings and activities. But the “experience” is authentic, down-to-earth and inspiring. And truly beautiful.

Stone Barns was the first stop on my whirlwind 2-day tour of Westchester hosted by Westchester County Tourism & Film and The New York Mom. The purpose was to celebrate their new “Meet Me in Westchester” campaign, aimed at showing off all the amazing gems here, right in NYC’s backyard. Starting off on the right foot and making a strong “first impression” is paramount in event planning, and our hosts did their homework. Stone Barns is the kind of place that would inspire you to eat a dandelion. The kind of place where you’d salivate over a pint of bleeding red wild strawberries. And where you’d find yourself walking through a chicken-poop-covered field, climbing up a ladder in open toed espadrilles and a skirt, sticking your hand into a coop and collecting eggs straight from the source. I know, because I did it.

First we were taken on a personal tour of the property, the grounds, and the main house. I found myself daydreaming about just walking away the copywriting and marketing and social media and blogging world and just becoming a farm hand. Seriously, don’t laugh. This place is truly magical. It must be all the chemicals (not) in the air (not).

I mean, seriously. Can’t you see me donning one of these straw hats while I shear a sheep?

I’d like to move in. This place is magical.

We learned all about Stone Barns’ offerings, classes, and events from our thoughtful guide, Shaina Robbins. From egg collecting for the kiddies (although I wouldn’t recommend it for the under 4 set, as the chickies are known to nip at feet and this might scare little kids… ) to their Kids in the Kitchen program, to a Grow Your Own Bitters class (pour mama a drink, stat!), we got the full scoop on everything we need to put on our calendars this coming season.

And then we toured the kitchen.

Yo. For real. The door opened, we walked in, and it was all right there. All the magic. All the hands, quietly, efficiently and skillfully chopping, prepping and organizing all the food for that night’s feast in the restaurant. It was like walking through that special gate in heaven, the one reserved for the sustainable foodies. The one reserved for those who care where their food comes from. A little piece of me died in that moment. Like in a Rachel Zoe way.

After our tour, we grabbed lunch at the cafe. We were so hungry after all this talk in the field about food. I had an awesome open face goat cheese and heirloom tomato sandwich, and a berry panna cotta that I seriously inhaled in like 14 seconds. I didn’t even have time to unlock my iPhone and take a picture, that’s how fast it was gone. I licked the container it came in too, and I’m not ashamed. It was the silkiest, creamiest deliciousness I’ve had in ages. You’ll have to just take my word for it.

This is Stone Barns’ wine cellar. It’s the size of a house.

If you’re interested in checking out Westchester, this should without a doubt be your first stop. Dan Barber’s celebrity and awesome partnership with Michelle Obama notwithstanding, this place will inspire you to eat well, and at the very least, care a little bit more about where the food you and your family eat comes from.

And if all that doesn’t impress you? Pull out your iPhone: ’cause  there’s an app for that.

I wasn’t compensated for this post, but I was wined and dined to within an inch of every waistband I own, thanks to Westchester County Tourism and Film!

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