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Seed collectors, seed producers, native plant experts, plant producers, nursery owners, and restoration professionals agree: the need for ecotypic seed is staggering. Hilltop Hanover Farm is proud to be part of the Local 59 Plant Network, dedicated to collecting and producing native plants from ecoregion 59.

The mild weather in November and December provided a unique extended window for the farm's growing fields, and thanks to the dedicated efforts of farmers and volunteers, we seized every opportunity to collect an unprecedented harvest. In the past weeks, over 45 volunteers generously contributed over 206 hours of their time, with notable turnouts for native plant tasks and community work days. We so appreciate all of these helping hands!

Hilltop Hanover Farm has donated over 12,000 lbs of produce this year, and it has been a humbling honor to know that the produce we care so much about goes on to feed the community. We could not have taken that final step, and placed this food with families and on tables, without the help of our many pantry partners and volunteers.

As part of our commitment to nurturing the environment and fostering community engagement, we're excited to share a recap of the recent activities within our Native Plants Program at Hilltop!

“A seed contains the past and the future at the same time,” said the poet and writer Ross Gay, in a recent interview in The Nation. Hilltop Hanover Farm, a Perfect Earth Project partner in New York’s Westchester County, understands this firsthand. Through their native plant seed initiative, they are preserving the past by cultivating the plants that have been growing on this land for millennia, while sowing a resilient and biodiverse future.

 Autumn has arrived at the farm, and the end of the growing season is quickly approaching despite having just as many tasks as the peak of summer. October was a busy month with group volunteer visits, who were crucial in helping us finish bigger tasks and harvests: over 150 volunteers joined us and dedicated more than 241 hours of their time, making October just as popular as April and June!

The farm is a sight to see in autumn: foggy mornings and balmy temperatures are the perfect time to find a new spot to explore, and we are excited to share the bounty of the fields with all our visitors. The plants are flourishing and food is overflowing the farm stand, and the first signs of autumn are a welcome change after a hot summer.

Fall is a great time to add native plants to your garden! As temperatures above ground cool, the warm temperatures below ground are ideal for root growth and establishment.

Volunteers shared over 319 hours of their time in July and participated all over the farm, from field to farm stand. The most popular areas continue to be in the growing fields, with our monthly Community Work Day the second most popular turnout. We are so thankful for everyone who visited and volunteered, from a few hours to a few days, we can accomplish so much more when we work together.

Starting next week, our kids Farm Team will begin planting the remaining tomatoes, tomatillos, flowers, summer squash, melons, and beans into beds they weed and water regularly!  Later in the summer, Farm Team will harvest for eating and donation from these same plants.  (Sound fun? Register online and join us!)

This month flew by here at the farm, and the weather often waylaid plans as we dealt with heat, smoke, and hail. June saw a total of 230 hours of volunteer help in the areas the farm needed assistance the most.

Much of May was devoted to really working in the dirt, as we cleaned up beds and edged new areas after taking stock of what survived the winter and what new weeds popped up. The most popular areas to volunteer in were Native Plants, closely followed by event assistance: the spring plant sale was better than ever thanks to all your help! Volunteers pitched in over 305 hours of their time: a new May record!

We are delighted to announce the arrival of Adam Choper, who joined Hilltop as our new Farm
Director on April 17th. Ideally suited to take up the reins at Hilltop, Adam comes to us from the
New York Botanical Garden, where he was Associate Director of Outdoor Gardens and
Sustainable Horticulture.

Q: I am getting ready to plant out my summer vegetable garden and have heard the term “hardening off” but am not sure exactly what it means. What is hardening off and why is it important?

In early May, students and volunteers will re-break ground in our dedicated educational garden space. Together at our May 6th Community Work Day, we will dig the beds into the earth and fill them with rich compost and soil, ready for a spring’s worth of little (and big!) hands to transplant leafy greens, delicious herbs, bright root veggies, tall and swaying corn stalks, and more throughout the season. 

What's the big deal about biodiversity? At Hilltop, we recognize that we are dependent on biodiversity for our world-wide ecosystems to supply food to our increasing population.  To sustain agriculture in an unstable climate, Hilltop is committed to addressing the biodiversity crisis.

Many CSA programs supply you with a prepackaged box of produce once per week, with little or no choice of what’s in it. In our model, you have the flexibility to get what you want, when you want it! Plus a brand-new meat and dairy CSA offering through Chaseholm Farm.

To celebrate Earth Day, on Sunday, April 23rd, Westchester's compost specialist, Aleks Jagiello, is offering opportunities for residents to tour the CompostEd facility. CompostEd is designed to educate residents, students, and municipal officials on the benefits of food waste recycling.

Carol Sommerfield is an award-winning artist with a deep connection to Hilltop Hanover Farm.  We are honored to be one of nine beneficiaries of Carol’s exhibit on display March 18th through April 29th at the Greenburgh Public Library. 

Winter has kept up its momentum here as staff still work through the daylight and dark, though now we race to beat the afternoon sunset rather than the morning sunrise. Like many places, the winter is a time of preparation so that the growing season starts off on the right foot.

The Hilltop Hanover greenhouse is officially turned on for the 2023 season and our first seeding complete!
The first seedings of the season include specialty flowers, onions, tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant. All of our seedlings and transplants are grown in a compost-based organic potting mix.

Hilltop Hanover Farm and Environmental Center
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