If asked to guess the location of the longest continually-operating farm in New York State, most people might not immediately name New York City. But sure enough, dating back to 1697, the Queens County Farm Museum holds the distinction not only of being the oldest farm in the state but also of occupying the largest piece of undisturbed farmland in the city.
The Queens County Farm offers visitors a unique blend of historical narrative and modern-day farming methods. Features of this 47-acre farm and historical site include an orchard, vineyard, herb garden, greenhouse, and expansive planting grounds. The farm is also home to a variety of livestock, including pigs, sheep, goats, cows, and hens, some of which visitors are allowed to pet and even feed. In addition to upping the farm’s cute factor, these critters provide fleece, eggs, and dairy products, and their grazing habits assist with the upkeep of the grounds. Italian honey bees also call the farm home, though petting them is probably ill-advised. Because of the organization’s commitment to sustainable growing practices and its emphasis on the importance of eating locally, the farm’s products are distributed exclusively to restaurants and farmers’ markets in New York City.
While the farm is technically in New York City, it’s a far cry from the crowded streets of Times Square. It’s located near the Kew Gardens subway station in a suburban neighborhood of Queens and the peaceful atmosphere makes it easy to feel like you’re miles away from the bustling metropolis.
The grounds of the Queens County Farm Museum are open daily from 10am - 5pm. On weekends visitors can enjoy free guided tours of the farm’s restored colonial-style farmhouse, as well as $2 hayrides. The farm hosts a number of events and festivals throughout the year, particularly during the fall when visitors are invited to traverse the pumpkin patch or lose themselves in a gigantic corn maze. Those looking to learn more about agricultural practices can participate in one of the farm’s many educational programs and workshops.