A Feast for the Senses

Two ongoing programs invite visitors to explore the farm in new ways.

When we experience a place through all five of our senses, a more whole, more complete picture of that place is formed. Taking in the farm—its tastes, but also its sights, smells, sounds and textures—generates a holistic connection to the land that grows our food. And from that connection can bloom the spirit of stewardship and conservation.

This summer and fall, Stone Barns Center is offering two unique programs to pique our senses.

One Sunday a month, through October, Foraged: A Wild Edibles Walk and Taste, takes visitors on a journey through the farm’s natural landscape. Stone Barns Gardener Laura Perkins acts as guide and interpreter. Laura highlights the areas where our farm and natural ecosystem intersect. She encourages new ways of seeing, pointing out seasonal edibles for our own tables and those for pollinators and migrating birds as well. Knotweed, onion grass and garlic mustards go from invasive weeds and groundcover to appealing ingredients for lunch. Guests learn how to identify forgeable food through sight, smell and touch. The program is completed with a recipe demonstration and tasting that incorporates the season’s finest wild foods.

This summer, along with the baaa-ing sheep, the wheeling of tractors and the rustling of wind through the crops, bells can be heard on the farm. Stone Barns has partnered with Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts as one location of their multi-site sound art exhibition In the Garden of Sonic Delights. Led by curator and artistic director Stephan Moore, 16 established and emerging sound artists have chosen distinctive locations in Westchester and the mid-Hudson Valley for their works. The artists were inspired by their surroundings, creating artworks that take a diversity of forms – sculptural, environmental and ephemeral.

All around the farm visitors can interact with “Seven Bells for Stone Barns”, the sound installation by artist Bruce Odland running through November 2. Working closely with Stone Barn Center’s farmers, Bruce has crafted an original installation of bell systems that highlight the intricate workings of the farm's ecosystems and take visitors on a sonic treasure hunt. Each bell system responds to life on the farm. One heightens the listeners’ awareness of how much water it takes to irrigate a sweet potato bed. Another creates melodies based on the flight paths of our bees. And they all give visitors an aural access point to understanding the many factors that contribute to a sustainable, regional food system. The installation runs during regular visiting hours, Wednesday through Sunday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Everyone is encouraged to stop, listen and think awhile.

Programmatic offerings like these are part of our initiative to create public awareness and meaningful connections among people of all ages and the sources of their food.