SOMERS, N.Y. -- It all started in 1828. Bob Stuart's great-great grandfather bought 200 acres from the Brown family and started a dairy farm. After a while, he added fruit trees.
Today -- 183 years later -- Stuart's Farm in Granite Springs is the oldest working farm in Westchester County. It is still run by the Stuart family, currently in its sixth generation. The original farm house, built around 1760, is still standing and still providing a home.
Bob Stuart, who currently runs the farm, has been farming all of his life, with a brief hiatus to study economics at DeSales University. "Today you need to be more of a businessman than a farmer," he said. "You can grow the best apples but you have to know how to sell them in the marketplace." Referring to his wife, Betsy, he said, "I grow it, she sells it."
There are three Bobs at Stuart's. Bob Stuart's son is also Bob. And his son-in-law's father, a recent émigré from Plattsburgh, N.Y., is also a Bob.
Stuart's opens annually in April and closes for the winter months after Christmas. The products it sells depends on the season. In the early spring, growing is getting started in the greenhouses. Lettuce is available by late June. Summer vegetables, such as corn and tomatoes are ready by the end of July -- so are the peaches and nectarines.
In September they have apples: Macintosh, Cortland and Macoun, in October there are Golden and Red Delicious, Empire, Mutsu, Jonagold, Ida Red and Northern Spy. People come from all over to pick their own. "We're like a magnet," said Stuart. "We get about a hundred school tours a year."
Along with the fall harvest come farm-baked pies -- all sorts of apple pies and pumpkin pies. "The '50s were a different era," Stuart said. "People bought more apples. They made their own pies and applesauce."
When the December holidays roll around, you can go to Stuart's to cut your own Christmas tree. And after that -- well, it's time for both the land and the people to take a well-earned vacation.
Stuart's Farm was named a New York State Century Farm in 1972.
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