Farmer Bennett Konesni jokingly calls Plant & Sing–the harvest-cum-music-fest he and his farm colleagues have put on for the last five years at Sylvester Manor on Shelter Island–the “Tom Sawyer” festival: attendees are encouraged to help dig sweet potatoes one day and plant the farm’s garlic the next. But the rewards–eats, drinks and sounds that fill the air–are ample.
As we’ve chronicled before, Konesni and his allies have, in short order, galvanized the food community on Shelter Island with an active CSA and work opportunities for plenty of aspiring farmers. Most recently, with the help of the Peconic Land Trust, Konesni, sold the development rights and raised funds to create the nonprofit Sylvester Manor Educational Farm, dedicated to serving that community of farmers and eaters.
The 250 acre property–complete with ponds, meadows, forests, farm fields, an historic grist mill and a massive, yellow, four-chimneyed main house–is a wonderland of good taste, made more magical by the hand-made music, fairy-garland making workshops and poetry readings that fill the day of Plant & Sing. Photo editor Lindsay Morris caught selected moments in the above slideshow. Last Saturday and Sunday, children painted pumpkins, climbed trees and watched a Goat on a Boat puppet show about sausage-making. Grownups sipped Greenport Harbor Brewing Company suds and Old Fields winery’s new releases, while noshing on striped bass sandwiches from Wandering Palate food truck, barbecue and clam chowder from Blue Canoe and Vine Street Cafe, cupcakes from 18 Bay and selected Mexican fare from Stars Cafe. The event is the natural marriage of Bennett Konesni and wife Edith Gawler’s mutual interests in the gathering power of music and food. (The music tended towards the non-electric, and some of the performers are also farmers.) Konesni himself is an ethnomusicographer, having studied farm songs around the world, and the two play assorted instruments, some of which they build themselves.
Edible East End was a proud partner in the event, whose mission couldn’t align more perfectly with ours, and we’re looking forward to next year. (Learn more and grab your ticket here.)