NORTH SALEM, N.Y. – Members of the Northern Westchester 4-H Club tended to the gardens at Purdy’s Farmer & the Fish on Sunday in return for the restaurant’s hospitality at a 4-H luncheon last fall .
“They fed us,” said club adviser Steve Mulligan, “so we wanted to do something in return. The kids decided it should be their Earth Day project.”
Some members collected rocks in the tiered garden area to help prepare for spring planting while others picked spinach in the restaurant’s greenhouse and worked at cultivating, weeding and aerating the soil.
“It was a great chance for them to understand what the farm-to-table concept is all about,” said restaurant manager Suzie Kaphan. “They picked the spinach and carried it directly into the kitchen to be cooked. Many kids today don’t know where their food comes from. And we feel we’ve got a responsibility to disseminate information. It’s something we value and we like to share the idea and teach about it.
“The 4-H-ers also go to Peter Kamenstein’s farm and do a lot of animal work. Here they learn about farming. That’s livestock, this is agriculture,” she said.
Mulligan pointed out that the members learned something completely new about the natural environment Sunday. “They learned that the restaurant uses a fish emulsion fertilizer. It’s made from their leftover fish.”
About half of the 40 club members are from North Salem. The rest are from other towns. One member even comes up from the Bronx.
The club is chartered by the U. S. Department of Agriculture and operates under the guidance of the Westchester Cornell Cooperative Extension. Its members range in age from 6 to 18. In addition to learning about farming and livestock, the group performs other community services, takes field trips, and works to raise community awareness about environmental issues.
New members are always welcome. The next meeting takes place at North Salem's Three Ponds Farm on May 19.
To learn more about the 4-H Club at the Farmer & the Fish, click here .
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