Monday, July 19, 2010

Yogis run farm in Upstate New York

So, the great gardening trend of the 21st century continues unabated in the city and around it.

Each of the past three summers, I’ve taken a weekend trip to Ananda Ashram to enjoy yoga, meditation, vegetarian cuisine and the not-so-Zen swimming pool (hey, even Yogis have to cool off.)

The difference this year: Ananda has added organic farming to its list of amenities. The food has always been tasty, but now, some of it is home grown.

Ananda boasts two huge plots loaded with fresh garlic, greens, squash and peppers, and a cold-frame green house filled with tomato plants getting ready to yield a healthy harvest.

One of the biggest challenges for the volunteer farmers is deer. The 85-acre grounds just an hour or so from New York City, is a playground for the growing population of the lovable animals. They can be seen frolicking in the early mornings and evenings. Unfortunately, they are determined to share the harvest.

Currently, the plots are surrounded by heavy plastic deer fencing, which seems to work, and fresh produce is growing strong. Electronic deer fencing, which is cheaper, was considered and rejected as too cruel.

Over the weekend, I was lucky to enjoy several dishes filled with home grown zucchini as well as plenty of salad greens.

Farming at Ananda has a history. Dave, who’s been an Ashram resident for more than 30 years, tended the original organic garden at Ananda from 1972 to 1980. But when the board decided to install a swimming pool (yes that swimming pool) his garden was bulldozed.

Last December, his son, who was born at the Ashram, came up with the idea to create the current farm, thanks to all the publicity about local growers and food borne illnesses. He’s also helping Dad and the rest of the Ananda team build an Eco-village resort on the grounds.

1 comment:

meemsnyc said...

What a cool idea. Hope the deer doesn't eat all the veggies.