By: Stephanie Kane, M.S. in Environmental Sustainability, Class of 2016 Local Vendor Manager, Crossroads Farm at Grossmann’s
Many Long Islanders are familiar with the farms and vineyards located on the East End. However, nestled in the urban landscape of Nassau County is a hidden gem known as the Crossroads Farm at Grossmann’s.
Located in Malverne, New York, Crossroads Farm at Grossmann’s is a certified organic vegetable farm, having been in operation since 2011. Now, in its third growing season, Crossroads Farm has harvested over 40 varieties of certified organic vegetables, herbs, and flowers.
This land was previously owned and farmed by the Grossmann family for over 100 years. In fact, it became a landmark of Long Island agricultural tradition for generations of visitors. So, when the land was put up for sale, it only made sense for the Nassau Land Trust to nominate the property to be purchased by Nassau County through the 2006 Environmental Bond Act. Thanks to the County’s purchase, the farm was saved from development and it has now become my home away from home for the last year.
Me at the farm
Since working at Crossroads Farm, I have learned quite a lot about farming. Every day, I learn more and more and I have developed an appreciation for the land that I work on. I have also developed an appreciation for the soil that is used to grow the many crops that we harvest.
In my opinion, many people are out-of-touch with the farming way-of-life and as saddening as it is for me to admit, this way-of-life is just not for everyone. Nonetheless, I believe that it is very important for all humans to know where their food comes from.
People should know about the soil that their food was grown in. They should know if any chemicals or pesticides were used. They should even know what kinds of methods that the farm used in order to grow and harvest their food. Was Integrated Pest Management used? Were conventional farming methods used? Or was it all organically grown? These are the questions that people must ask and we do our best at Crossroads to inform the customer about our farming practices.
In fact, in our farm store, we do our very best to label all of the signs in front of all the produce that we carry with all information about where the produce came from, whether it is organic or conventional, and whether it is an IPM Produce Product. Everything grown on our farm is organic though!
Our goats, Zeus and Coco. They’re brothers!
Now as far as humans go, I feel like it is an up-hill battle to get them to learn about their food. I feel like there are a lot of people that do not really care enough to understand what it means to have rich fertile soil. They do not care about the types of resources that went into growing their food. And in reality, people should because food is exactly what sustains life. People should realize that this is a subject that needs the greatest of attention and that they should take the time to learn these very important things.
In my opinion, it just all barrels down to education. People need to be educated more about soil in order to really understand it. And that’s why we host tours and educational programs at the farm. In fact, we offer programs on Seasonal Eating & Growing, Organic & Biodynamic Farming, Beekeeping & Pollination, Plant Lifecycles, and Helpful Bugs on the Farm.
Most recently, we gave a tour to about 25 Honors students from Roosevelt High School. I was impressed that the group had many questions and it made me happy to see that some of them were very interested in learning more about farming and the process that it takes to grow their food.
For me, the farming way-of-life is the way-of-life. And although it might not be for everyone, you should at least incorporate it somewhere in your life.
Support local farms! Support your local farmers!