Get your hands dirty at Kinderhook Farm, where visitors can pitch in with chores like gathering eggs, processing slaughtered chickens, and feeding sheep. If you prefer to keep clean, you can buy amazingly tender, grass-fed beef, lamb, and chicken in the farm store or explore the wooded trails and cool off in a swimming hole. The farm is open daily to visitors, but call ahead to schedule a free half-hour guided tour of the property to see the animals up close and learn about the farm’s sustainable breeding and agricultural practices.
Learn about biodynamic farming and taste organic foods at Hawthorne Valley Farm, a 400-acre property whose thriving Farm and Arts program draws students and visitors from across the country for farm-to-table cooking classes and full-day tours. Guests can also wander about freely to pick arugula leaves from the greenhouse, pet angora sheep, visit the monkish bread bakers, or trek down to the cheese cellar to get a whiff of aged Havarti. The beautifully designed store, made from salvaged materials, is where to purchase jars of the farm’s award-winning sauerkraut ($5) and bottles of raw milk ($2.75 for a quart).
Taste deliciously creamy cheeses at Old Chatham Sheepherding Company, a blissfully quiet place despite being the largest sheep dairy farm in the country. Pack a baguette to eat with buttery Hudson Valley Camembert ($6) or nutty Roquefort-style Ewe’s Blue ($10) from the farm’s self-serve store before settling in at a picnic table beside the Kinderhook Creek. The cheese-making facilities are closed to the public, but you can explore farm roads winding around the property and visit tiny lambs in the greenhouse.