Holy Sheep!

Glynwood Center (Eilis’s photo)

On Friday, we ventured down south to Putnam County to visit Glynwood Center. Although Putnum County is not known for its agricultural productivity because of the hilly terrain, Glynwood is thriving as a sustainable farm focused on educating young farmers.

Glynwood Center is located on the historical 225-acre Perkins estate, but today is has been transformed into a certified organic vegetable farm and transitional organic meat producer. They take advantage of the hilly environment by allowing their livestock to graze in areas that otherwise would not be used for anything. This helps their organic approach, as they are able to rotate the livestock through the fields to serve as a natural fertilizer and herbicide (by eating the weeds).

Beyond the produce and livestock, Glynwood Center is also a institute for education and agritourism. They house five apprentices at a time, focused on either livestock or vegetables, who engage in an intensive year-long program combining hands-on work in the fields with in-class instruction. Additionally, Glynwood Center has 20 guest rooms for visitors to stay in. These could be people interested in learning about local food, or just looking for a rural escape from the business of New York City.

Ken Kleinpeter and his loyal friend (Baynard’s photo)

Glynwood Center also works with nearby farmers to help them increase the value of their products. In 2010, they launched the Cider Project, an international collaboration between farmers in France and in the Hudson Valley. This project encouraged farmers to consider turning their leftover apples into hard cider to expand their economic opportunities. The Cider Project was a great success, and now they are pursuing other value-added projects, such as establishing a local charcuterie market.

Our lovely tour guide for our unexpectedly cold adventure was Ken Kleinpeter. Ken grew up in Louisiana, and has a long history of working in sustainable agriculture. He ran the first sheep dairy operation in the United States, and worked in Bosnia as a USAID consultant. In 2005, he joined Glynwood Farms as the Director of Farm and Facilities and is currently the VP of Operations.

One of our favorite moments was when Ken led us into the old bank barn on the property. This barn is strategically built on a slope, so the hay trucks could unload the hay at the top, which would fall to the bottom where the animals were waiting to feed. This barn is no longer operational for farming purposes, but it has a new function as a sought-after location for high-fashion photo-shoots. Well-known companies like Brooks Brothers, Anthropologie, and many more have yearly photo-shoots on the Glynwood property, providing another source of income for the farm.

Our favorite baby lamb standing (almost) tall and proud (Dahlia’s photo)

However, the highlight of the trip was all the animals we saw. When we stepped out of the van, Dudley, Ken’s loyal farm dog that followed us throughout our tour, greeted us enthusiastically. We briefly said hello to Ken’s horses, a mix of retired racehorses and riding horses. The tour culminated in the new barn, full of cows, lambs, and pregnant goats. Our favorite was a six-week old lamb recovering from pneumonia, who was still figuring out how to walk.

After unintentionally filming the first part of our blooper reel, it began to snow, signaling that it was time to say goodbye to Ken, Dudley, and their wonderful sustainable farm.

If you want to learn more or visit for yourself, check out their website at https://www.glynwood.org/.