I had the privilege of touring The Root Farm up in Central New York. Sauquoit NY to be exact. What an incredible place it is! The Root Farm, which has been opened for 5 years now, is a non profit organization that is committed to helping special individuals of all ages and abilities through agricultural, equine and recreational experiences. The Root Farm is an incredible piece of sprawling property along with caring people and beautiful animals that are walking all around the grounds.
This is just a taste of the 110 acres that are just so incredibly peaceful and absolutely gorgeous every step of the way. This facility is volunteer driven. Rodger Pape, the Director, who is also a Certified Riding Instructor, was gracious enough to give me a special behind the scenes tour of the grounds. It is nothing short of impressive!
The Root Farm partners with Upstate Cerebral Palsy. By affiliating with Upstate Cerebral Palsy, The Root Farm creates new and exciting opportunities for children and adults each day. What an incredible opportunity these families have with all of the benefits of The Root Farm! The wonderful place is not just for the special needs community, it is also available to anyone in the community. What a fun place to go for a family activity day or a team-building retreat for your business!
We began the tour with popping into the Hydroponic gardens. WOW! How interesting and awesome these are. These trailers are full of growing plants. They have basil, lettuce, are carrots just to mention a few that are so beautiful and healthy. These plants are planted and harvested by special needs individuals. There are 2 acres of gardens just in one container. They harvest 50-60 pounds of lettuce in an 8-10 week timeframe.
They also have a greenhouse, an outdoor garden, as well as 50-75 maple trees which produce 100 taps per season of maple syrup! Bees are also on the premises producing honey. In the Fall, they are harvesting pumpkins that are available on the premises for the public to purchase. In the Summer months raspberries and other fruits and veggies are available to buy as well. Eggs, honey and maple syrup are always available.
There are 90 free range chickens roaming around! Their eggs are gathered and sold to local restaurants by the special needs individuals, who have the opportunity to learn about farming as well as handling the business aspect of receiving money for their goods. Such a great teaching tool!
Two special needs individuals are employed at The Root Farm. There are 30-40 special volunteers. There are also 10-20 other volunteers. Feel free to go to their website http://ROOTFARM.ORG to see how you can help. Fill out an application. The Root Farm will run a background check and then you are good to go. What a wonderful way to be a blessing to others. But you know what, you in turn will be blessed by helping out and being part of such a special organization.
Another special part of The Root Farm are the Cooking Classes. Lela Niemetz from FoodFeasible LLC sponsors the Cooking & Nutrition Classes. Lela informed me these classes are open to the public. I noticed a flyer when I was walking out the door with some recipes on it. The recipes are fantastic! The Carrot Cake Energy Balls recipe jumped out to me. The Consultant who created this recipe is Hayley Mielnicki. Both Lela and Hayley are registered dietitian-nutritionists. These energy balls are so moist and gluten free as long as you use certified gluten free oats.
I whipped up this recipe in no time flat. It’s super easy to make and just absolutely delicious! These balls are loaded with protein, fiber, Vitamin E, potassium, iron, antioxidants, Vitamin C, calcium, magnesium and folate. Plus they are Gluten Free! Great nutrition in every bite! You really should try them!
CARROT CAKE ENERGY BALLS
1 1/2 cup pitted dates (or raisins)
1/2 cup carrots, shredded
3/4 cup walnuts (or pecans or almonds) I used pecans.
1 cup oats
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt
Add all ingredients to a food processor and process on low or pulse until well combined. Scoop out dough using a tablespoon measure and roll into balls. Place in fridge to firm up. Makes about 24-28 balls
Anyone in the community is welcome to take the cooking & nutrition classes. Wouldn’t they be great for a Senior Citizen group, Boy Scout or Girl Scout Troops, Birthday Parties, Girls Night Out, or a Bachelorette Party Weekend?! In the summer months, the cooking classes run 2 per month. The classes are open for children through Senior Adults.
Lela would be happy to answer any cooking class questions you might have. Feel free to email her at email@example.com She is super nice and full of great information and ideas! Ask Lela about the Corn Fritters, Eggplant Pizza Bites, Homemade Salsa and Tortilla Chips and Falafel with Tzatziki recipes! YUM!!! She just might be doing another Food Demo at the NY State Fair next year!!
Look at these three beautiful goats, who were born in June. They are are so special. It was like they were singing to me while they were so curious and sweet. I was able to feed them out of my hand. How adorable Luna, Maximus and Lariat are!
The Root Farm has 9 horses and 1 mammoth donkey. The Root Farm has an incredible Equine Program that assists so many with instructors who provide adaptive, hippo therapy, recreational and vaulting programs. There is a heated 8,000 square foot indoor riding arena as well as an outdoor riding ring. Individual & group equine programs are available to those of ALL ages and abilities to include the elderly, toddlers and those experiencing physical or mental challenges.
Check out this Rock Climbing Wall! It is up on a hill and can be seen for quite a distance. On the backside of the wall is a stairway to be brought up to access the adaptive ropes course which takes you to a platform in the woods. The other 3 sides of the wall have beginner, intermediate and expert climbing walls. The leaves are beginning to change and would make a beautiful surrounding as you enter the woods. The zip line is also accessible and adaptable for the handicapped to use. Just another super cool aspect at The Root Farm! And this is completely available for the local community to enjoy.
There are so many things going on at The Root Farm from Birthday Parties, Cooking & Nutrition Classes, Team Building Packages, Accessible Ropes Course, zip line, fishing to Horseback Riding Lessons. The Root Farm is open to the public. Let your adventurous spirit come forth and be a part of something great at The Root Farm! Get in touch with Rodger to plan your visit to the Root Farm! I know you won’t be disappointed. So much to do, see and learn at one place! Oh and every view in every direction is spectacular!
The Zip Line is calling my name,
Convenient Places to Stay:
Hotels in New Hartford
Places to Eat: (Gluten Free options but amazing either way!)
*O’Baby’s Gourmet Sandwich Shoppe (great pizza and wings/sandwiches/soups)
*Peter’s Cornucopia (Breakfast & Lunch Café)
*Piggy Pats BBQ (Smoked wings on Sundays!)
*Symeon’s Greek Restaurant
*The Soda Fountain in Remson NY (Worth the drive!)
*110 Grill in Syracuse NY (SO Worth the drive!)
*XO Taco in Syracuse NY (SO Worth the drive!)