What better time to celebrate the season of autumn and its harvest than during peak foliage?

That’s why Phillie’s Bridge Farm Project (PBFP) hosted a Fall Foliage and Harvest Festival on Sunday, Oct. 16, located at 45 Phillie’s Bridge Farm Road in New Paltz.

Nearing the end of the fall harvest warranted a time for PBFP to celebrate and sell their farm-fresh produce, to cook up some colorful treats for themselves and the community and in turn allow people to gain more awareness of the farm and what it has to offer.

“What I’m excited about is getting more people to notice Phillie’s Bridge, where here, there is so much love put into the land,” said Oliver MacPotter, who has served as a farmer apprentice at PBFP since May.

PBFP, which sits on 65 acres of land originally occupied by the Lenape Indians, works to “demonstrate and promote local agriculture that is ecologically sound, community oriented, and economically viable,” according to their website.

MacPotter said that everything for sale at PBFP’s festival was born on the farm from scratch.

He explained that all of PBFP’s vegetables are grown in their greenhouse from a seed, nurtured and watered everyday. Workers like MacPotter watch as the veggies grow, and when they grow to a certain height, they are brought out to the fields where the farmers prepare the vegetable beds.

“Sometimes [the vegetables] even complete a full cycle,” he said. “We use everything here. We eat the food that we grow and we compost what we can’t use, so sometimes it ends up right back in the soil.”

Farm Manager Heather Wodehouse said that there has already been some light frost, which has killed some of their frost-sensitive crops. She said PBFP currently has leftover peppers and green tomatoes that were previously harvested but that are now done in the field. Continuing to be harvested on the farm are bunches of winter squash, roots, carrots, rutabagas, turnips, beets, kales, cabbages and chard, which were all up for grabs on Sunday, along with husk cherries, eggplants, kabocha squash, leeks and more.

PBFP members also cooked vegetarian chili, kabocha squash soup, whole wheat pumpkin muffins, pumpkin cookies and kabocha pie cups for attendees.

Along with selling homegrown crops and homemade food for visitors to enjoy, PBFP’s festival hosted an authentic cider press, run by MacPotter, where he served fresh pressed cider all day. There was also face painting, yoga, live music from local musicians Ami Madeleine Daichman, Danny Berger, Lucinda Judson, Ed Kralles, John Owens and the Late Bloomin’ Blackberries and a one-and-a-half mile nature walk through the woods and wetlands of PBFP led by education director Jasmine Wood.

“The goal is to get people here to the farm, to know who we are, for us to have another aspect of involvement with the community and for people to appreciate Phillie’s Bridge the way the employees past and present have and to know to come back,” MacPotter said. “We need more community supported agriculture (CSA). We have members who support [the farm] but we need more from New Paltz and surrounding towns to get involved with us, to know who we are, that we’re here and that we’re doing great things.”

This story first appeared in The New Paltz Oracle on October 20, 2016.

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