Giving Thanks at Restoration Farm

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Homemade pies filled with locally grown winter squash, chunky fresh cranberry sauce, root vegetables, garlic, broccoli and Brussels sprouts filled the cornucopias of members at Restoration Farm in Old Bethpage as the community gathered for a pre-Thanksgiving celebration.

Thanksgiving is truly the premier holiday for local Long Island farms, and the culmination of a season of bounty. The annual fête at Restoration Farm marks the official conclusion of the growing season and welcomes back members who have renewed for the upcoming season with a complimentary distribution of vegetables.

For longtime members, the festive twilight event is as much a venerable tradition as the official Turkey Day, and is marked with music, a bonfire and a potluck happy hour. Even raw temperatures and the threat of a Thanksgiving nor’easter failed to dampen holiday spirits.

In addition to the final harvest, members could also buy Restoration Farm’s signature holiday pies baked by head grower Caroline Fanning and staffer Susan Salem, seasoned with cinnamon and cardamom and sweetened with maple syrup.

For the farmers, Thanksgiving signifies a job well done and a brief respite before planning for the 2014 season starts.

“Things are definitely more relaxed now,” says Fanning.  “In the winter we usually hold a pot luck gathering, and we’ll sit around the table and start to check out the seed catalogues.”

The Restoration Farm community has many reasons to give thanks and look ahead. Since 2007, a vintage trailer and canvas tent served as the farm’s base of operations. But, in a sign that community sponsored agriculture has indeed become an enduring part of the suburban landscape, the Nassau County Department of Public Works recently broke ground on a permanent farm support building at the site.  The structure will include a produce cooler, an office, rest rooms, farm equipment storage space and a covered produce pick up area. The building is scheduled for completion in time for the start of the 2014 season and will offer new opportunities for classes and events that will draw more members into the farm community.

More articles about Restoration Farm are here.

T.W. Barritt blogs at