Historic Queens Farm in New York City Farm Is Link to Modern Urban Agriculture

May 19, 2012 by

The Adriance Farmhouse is in need of restoration. Photo: Robin Plaskoff Horton, Urban Gardens.

A working farm dating back to 1697, The Queens County Farm Museum’s 47-acres constitute the longest continuously farmed parcel of land in New York State–farmed through four local wars and two world conflicts–and the farm is today the largest remaining tract of undisturbed farmland in the state.

Photo: Robin Plaskoff Horton, Urban Gardens.

Historic Link to Today’s Sustainable Urban Agriculture
The only fully restored farm in New York City, it’s 300-year history of agriculture and farming as a way of life and livelihood in Queens County provides a connection to the city’s rich agricultural history and a vital link to present-day sustainable agriculture.

The Queens County Farm from above. Photo: Archives, Queens County Farm.

The 1772 Adriance Farmhouse
The centerpiece of the farm’s historic farm buildings is the 1772 Adriance Farmhouse, originally built as a three-room Dutch farmhouse, is a good representation of English-influenced Flemish architecture. Across from the farmhouse sits the city’s only remaining fully operating wood greenhouse complex.

Farmhouse guide, Marty, has greeted visitors for years. Photo: Robin Plaskoff Horton, Urban Gardens.

If you decide to tour the Adriance Farmhouse, you will be greeted by the ebullient, bearded Marty, an historical re-enactor who lives history. Sporting a straw hat with peacock feathers, Marty’s been re-enacting history for more than thirty years, and over the decades has participated in numerous living history events with other re-enactors across the country, once traveling the entire Lewis and Clark trail.

Wine from the farm’s own vines. Photo: Robin Plaskoff Horton, Urban Gardens.

Queens County Farm Wine
In addition to livestock, an apiary, numerous planting fields, an orchard, and an herb garden, the farm also operates a vineyard from which it produces its own wine. The harvested grapes are sent to Premier Wines in Mattituck, Long Island, where they are supplemented with other grapes (the farm can not produce enough grapes) from which Chardonnay, Merlot, and Adriance Premium Red wines are bottled and available for sale at the farm.

We enjoyed the farm’s eggs for breakfast the next morning! Photo: Robin Plaskoff Horton, Urban Gardens.

From Urban Soil to Table
The only thriving remainder of New York City’s agricultural past, the farm museum provides visitors with tangible evidence of the process through which farm products move from urban soil to table.

The farmhouse’s summer kitchen would receive restoration with grant funds. Photo: Robin Plaskoff Horton, Urban Gardens.

Partners in Preservation Grant 
The Queens County Farm is one of the 40 New York City places (including the Japan Society and Louis Armstrong House which we have featured) in the running for a share of the $3 million in grants soon to be distributed by Partners in Preservation, a program in which American Express, in partnership with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, that awards preservation grants to historic places across the country.

The grant funds will be used for reconstruction of eight windows in the Adriance Farmhouse as well as for restoration of the adjacent summer kitchen.

Photo: Robin Plaskoff Horton, Urban Gardens.

From now until May 21, 2012, anyone 13 years of age and older, can vote for The Queens County Farm or any other of the 40 candidates–either from a web-enabled mobile device, online, or on Facebook. Local residents and others across the globe are encouraged to vote once a day (and can vote every day) for the same site or for a different site.

As explained in my earlier posts, the top four sites receiving the most votes will be announced on May 22 then each winner will receive their full grant request–up to $250,000–with the balance of the $3 million distributed among the remaining sites.

Photo: Robin Plaskoff Horton, Urban Gardens.

The Queens County Farm Museum is really worth a visit: it offers a broad range of educational programs for children and adults; a variety of annual special events; weekend visitor tours and services; and corporate and private site rentals.

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