WE'RE LOVING: Sylvester Manor Educational Farm

 Photo courtesy of: Red Sweatshirt Photography

Photo courtesy of: Red Sweatshirt Photography

This week we are featuring an amazing organization on Shelter Island, NY, Sylvester Manor Educational Farm. Our Shelter Island property, The Chequit and restaurant Red Maple works closely with Sylvester Manor during our peak seasons. In fact a lot of the fresh vegetable that we serve at Red Maple come directly from their farm! We've worked together on several events and our very own Executive Chef, Gayle Scarberry volunteered at the manor. We recently, had the opportunity to speak with Kim Folks, the Director of Programs + Community Outreach for Sylvester Manor Educational Farm and learn a little bit more about what they do.


1. Tell me a little bit about Sylvester Manor Educational Farm and what you do?

Sylvester Manor is a non-profit Educational Farm with over 225 acres. Located on Shelter Island, this historic site encompasses farmland, walking trails, grazing pastures and woodlands; the crowned jewel - the most in tact plantation home north of Virginia. The property has been in the same family for 11 generations, originally purchased in 1651 by Nathaniel Sylvester with three partners for a mere 1600 lbs of sugar.  The property was used primarily as a provisionary plantation, providing meat and produce to the family's sugar plantations in Barbados.

Many years later, we are returning to the property's roots of farming and livestock, with 4 acres of produce under cultivation, pigs and fresh chicken eggs at our farmstand. We have an active CSA program (community supported agriculture) and our farmstand is open from May-October. We offer education through our Youth Programs and annual farming apprenticeships, and also participate in the WOOFER program that allows visitors from all over the globe to work and learn in the fields, in exchange for room and board.

2. What is your role at Sylvester Manor?

I am the Director of Programs and Community Outreach. As a relatively new organization we continue to evolve and grow and my roll has been much the same.  Beginning in events and development, I now oversee all of what has become our year round programming. We host music concerts from January through August, Shakespeare at the Manor in July. We celebrate Black History month and partner with Bay Street Theater in February and a variety of other annual events in the season.

3. Do you have any favorite events that you throw?

I love our Concert Series and Shakespeare, but my favorite is Mysteries of the Manor to celebrate Halloween. 

 Photo courtesy of: Eleanor Labrozzi

Photo courtesy of: Eleanor Labrozzi

 Photo courtesy of: Red Sweatshirt Photography

Photo courtesy of: Red Sweatshirt Photography

4. Anything new that you'd like to tell people about?

This coming season we are partnering with the Shelter Island Library and Shelter Island Rentals to do Family Movie Nights in July and August.  They'll be held in July and August on the Manor house lawn.

5. How can people get involved and support you? 

There are lots of ways to get involved and be supportive. You can make a donation or become a member. You can also come to our events, shop at our farmstand or volunteer. Check out our website for all the details.

6. What would your perfect day on Shelter Island be?

Being outdoors and enjoying all the incredible natural resources this island has to offer.

 Photo courtesy of: Eleanor Labrozzi

Photo courtesy of: Eleanor Labrozzi