About the Farm
Imagine visiting a place where time stands still and our usually hectic daily pace is replaced by the rhythms and textures of a family homestead. Envision your family exploring the historic grounds, picking pumpkins from the fields, taking in one of our festivals, or enjoying one of our innovative and engaging educational programs. Feel the cycle of the seasons as you relax, meet friends or explore the farm at different times of the year. Perhaps you or your group will learn all about Maple Sugaring in February, or perhaps see babies being born in the spring, celebrate strawberries in June, send the kids to camp to be a farmer for a week, or take our haunted hayride and pick pumpkins in the fall. Maybe you just want to join our woodland friends and take a ride on the biggest swing on Long Island hung from the largest and oldest white oak in the Three villages. All of this and more is found in the center of the island on the north shore.
Benner's Farm is a private fifteen-acre family homestead, first farmed in the 1700's. Each year the farm provides thousands of people a sense of what it was like to live on a small farm in years past. We Benner’s are the seventh family to farm this land. We have been farming organically since the late nineteen seventies in our family garden and fields of strawberries, and also raise a variety of farm animals for self-sufficient living. Thousands of people come to visit and participate in the many workshops, festivals and special events during the year.
We, Jean and Bob and four kids, bought the farm in 1977. It was Sleeping Beauty’s farm waiting for some loving hands to see the possibilities of those broken down sheds and barns. We set out to uncover the fields and woods that were covered with brush and saplings and once more have a family that would live off of their land. In the first years we resurrected a garden, fields to grow strawberries, and repaired and strengthened structures from 1820. Early on we decided to make decisions that would serve the land and us by following organic practices to honor and preserve the land and produce sustainable food. Ultimately those decisions allowed us to educate others to our shared connections to the farm and soil.
Both of us are educators and as we learned how to milk a goat, or plant a garden we began to think of ways to use our historic setting to develop innovative programs for children and adults in immersive, and engaging educational offerings and public events.
First classes from local schools began to visit the farm seasonally to see where their food came from. Soon our farm opened to the public on weekends leading to seasonal festivals to celebrate highlights of the year. A Little Store was added and about that time four week courses that gently introduced kids to the farm became popular. Soon kids workshops were exploring the many aspects of the farm and eventually adult workshops were added by demand. Summer Farm Camp and Spring Break Camp followed, allowing kids to be farmers for a week on a real working farm. And after our Event Barn was built, birthday parties, special events and weddings were added to our schedule.
Throughout all of these changes our homestead remains. Our families food still is grown just as it has been for the other families that lived here since 1751, the goats still have to be milked, the strawberries weeded, pumpkins grown and garden plants nurtured and grown organically for our family and friends. We still respect the old ways but are not tied to the past. A number of years ago we installed solar power on a new barn we had built near our old barn. Those panels provide our electricity and point out our dedication to a sane existence. Check out what we offer at the farm now.