2014-03-24 / Front Page

Various programs connect people to Wolfe’s Neck Farm

‘FARMER FOR THE MORNING’
BY ROSANNA GARGIULO Times Record Staff


MOLLY, FROM THE Beansprouts Early Learning Childcare Center in Freeport, tosses hay into a feeding trough for the sheep to eat at Wolfe’s Neck Farm. 
ROSANNA GARGIULO / THE TIMES RECORD MOLLY, FROM THE Beansprouts Early Learning Childcare Center in Freeport, tosses hay into a feeding trough for the sheep to eat at Wolfe’s Neck Farm. ROSANNA GARGIULO / THE TIMES RECORD FREEPORT

“I petted the piggies!” a little girl in yellow rain slacks said, turning back to a group of her friends as they heaved fistfulls of hay over a red metal fence into the pig sty.

A group of preschoolers from Beansprouts Early Learning Childcare Center in Freeport spent the first rainy morning of spring learning about farm life through the Wolfe’s Neck “Farmer for the Morning” program.

Assistant Farm Manager

Caroline Wild herded the preschool group together at the entrance of the barn as the rain outside hammered the last piles of snow into slush.

“Which animals are your favorite?” Wild said, to a chorus of replies: “Sheep!” “Cows!” “Horses!”


IN THE “FARMER for the Morning” program, preschoolers learn about feeding and tending to farm animals. Wolfe’s Neck Executive Director David Herring lifts up his daughter, Lucy, to pet a lamb held by Abby Smith, left. IN THE “FARMER for the Morning” program, preschoolers learn about feeding and tending to farm animals. Wolfe’s Neck Executive Director David Herring lifts up his daughter, Lucy, to pet a lamb held by Abby Smith, left. Starting with the sheep, Wild pulled apart a bale of hay doling out handfuls for each of the children to toss into a feeding trough.

Next up, it was time to tend to the chickens — to feed them, learn how to tell the “boy chickens from the girl chickens” and, of course, collect the eggs.

“When we go in the chicken coop, we have to have safe bodies,” Wild said. “Chickens have really small feet and you guys have really big feet so we don’t want to step on them.”

Tapping at Wild’s pant leg, a girl with a penguin hat asked, “Do babies come out of the eggs?”

Wild said, “If the mom lays on the egg for 21 days a baby could come out of it, but instead we collect the eggs and sell them just like that.”

Wild has been working at Wolfe’s Neck for nearly a year, but previously had been involved in educational programs offered through the farm. Wild had started a liberal arts degree at Smith College, but is transferring to an agriculture program.

“I love working with the really little kids and giving them the chance to come out to feed and pet the animals and learn about them — it’s pretty unique,” Wild said. “I didn’t get a chance to do this until I was much older.”

David Herring, Wolfe’s Neck Farm executive director, said, “This is our most entry-level program. The point of all our programs is to connect people to the farm — people of all ages.”

Herring said the Farmer for the Morning Program runs year-round, on Thursdays from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. in the off-season and on Saturdays in the summer. The cost is $5 per person.

“For this program, you don’t have to sign up, you don’t have to register,” Herring said. “We’re here feeding the animals and doing chores every day, and we invite people to come and join us — come and spend an hour and learn about the source of your food and nature in general.”

Wolfe’s Neck Farm has programs running during spring and summer vacation.

April Vacation Camp runs from April 21 to 25 for children in first through fifth grades. The Summer Day Camp is a 10-week long program, starting June 23, for ages 4 to 14.

Wolfe’s Neck also operates a Teen Ag program which educates teenagers in the foundational skills necessary for small-scale farming. Participants visit local farms to learn from several farmers, and also donate produce grown in the program to local food pantries.

Herring said that approximately 4,000 kids and teens participate in programs at Wolfe’s Neck every year.

For more information or to register online, visit www.wolfesneckfarm.org.

WOLFE’S NECK Farm is open every day to visitors. The farm is located at 184 Burnett Road, Freeport. For more information, call 865-4469 or visit www.wolfesneckfarm.org.

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