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Families kick off the harvest at East Meadow Farm

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Families picked fresh fruit and vegetables, greeted farm animals and took home advice to bring to their own gardens at the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Nassau County’s East Meadow Farm on Oct. 5, during its annual Family Fun Day.

There were 12 committees with different activities for the children and a bustling play area where guests tasted vegetables from the vast garden and decorated their own keepsake boxes.

Children also met the farm’s beloved animals, like Licorice the goat, got their picture taken with Carl the Beekeeper and sung along to live music.

Joann Zenewitz, the event chair, said that its purpose is to educate the public about the environment, offer high-quality produce and introduce visitors to the farm’s services.

The farm’s master gardeners taught families about the importance of preserving local ecology and answered any questions they may have about the plants growing outside their home.

For example, Mindy Marcus, a master gardener at the farm and part of its Urban and Community Forestry Committee, has taught many guests how to plant and maintain trees so they pose less of a risk in a storm. Trees keep soil in place and prevent erosion, they added, while absorbing air pollution and insulating nearby houses from wind.

The farm features a butterfly garden to enhance cross-pollination; a flower garden planted with dahlias and roses; and a beekeeping program, which teaches visitors the importance of preserving bees.

The farm stand is open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays through November. The gardens are open for viewing all day from dawn to dusk.