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Tilly Foster Farm Closes Friday

Tilly Foster Farm in Southeast is closing Friday, Jan. 31, and that means all activities will cease.

"The county is currently working on a plan for the farm," reads a post on the farm's Facebook page. "We would like to thank everyone for the support over the last five years."

Financial support for the farm ended last year, David Propper reports in this Putnam Examiner story. The Whipple family and Preserve Putnam, a non-profit dedicated to protecting the historical architectural character and natural environment of the county, have overseen the farm in recent years. 

All of the rare farm animals—Patch featured many of them in this video from May 2013—have been sold, according to a statement from the farm. 

Tilly Foster hosted community gatherings throughout the year, including events like the Christmas Craft Fair and Spring Fling. 

The Putnam County Antique Machinery Association’s collection of antique tractors and equipment will remain at the farm. The Rock and Roll Museum will be open to the public on certain weekend days through the winter. Call 845-225-9135 for more information.

What are your thoughts on this chapter in the farm's history? One Tilly Foster volunteer shared her feelings on the closing here. Another Patch user sounded off here, and one more here. Have your say in the comments section below. 

Interested in sharing more opinions with your neighbors? Head over to the Patch boards, or start your own blog.

Ann Fanizzi February 06, 2014 at 02:55 AM
Debra -I know the tragic story which pained the Benedicts greatly. However, there is an incredible 300-acre property in Mahopac at the juncture of Baldwin Place and Rte 6 which a developer was going to turn it into another retail center. However, a group of us suggested the establishment of a community college which is so much in need in Putnam County. Increasingly more and more people realize that community colleges and good jobs go hand in hand.
Southeaster February 10, 2014 at 01:55 PM
I wouldn't mind seeing a community college in Putnam County, but Tilly Foster is not the place for it. It's one of the few historic farms left in Putnam and certainly in Southeast. With Tilly Foster, there's such a wonderful opportunity to preserve a tradition for tourism and educational purposes. There's already a community garden on the property. Tilly Foster can be a haven for animals once again, or perhaps there could be an eco-friendly, farm-fresh restaurant. It could conduct historical tours or educate people in sustainable living. There is plenty of other land available for a community college. But, as Ann Fanizzi noted above, a lot of it gets swallowed up by big retail and housing developments. Just look at what's happened to the land further down Rt. 312, where the hillsides are now covered in big box stores. If people want to see a college instead, they need to push the town board and county legislature for this. If people don't speak up, we're just going to get more retail.
Carol Lake February 20, 2014 at 06:39 PM
I am new to the area, coming from NH, where I was the founder and ex. director of a 300 acre nonprofit educational farm. I have only driven by the property once, and was delighted to learn that someone here was doing the same type of educational farm. Or so I thought. Is there community interest in having a working small farm that offered classes, camps, workshops and other activities in sustainable agriculture?
Randy Maurer February 21, 2014 at 12:59 PM
Carol I am glad you are interested in the farm future, but you don't want any part of the Southeast and Brewster Gov. We had all that you mentioned and now it is gone due to the agenda of some officials.How long before its put on the backs of tax payers.
Southeaster February 21, 2014 at 03:14 PM
@Carol Lake: My impression is that there IS community interest in all of the above. At issue here is the fact that the county leased the farm to a family-run nonprofit with the stipulation that the family would provide an account of the farm's finances at regular intervals. They did not. When the county pressed them, they eventually released the records, but there were inexplicable discrepancies, and rather than account for them, they chose to back out of the lease. To my knowledge, there was NOT much in the way of regular classes, camps, or workshops under the former management, and one of the concerns I had (and heard from other people) was that the farm wasn't being utilized to its full potential for the public.

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