Kennon Kay is a normal twenty-something New Yorker. She lives on a normal Brooklyn street in a normal walk-up apartment. Her commute to work is long, crowded, unpredictable and filled with traffic. All quite normal. But normal ends when Kennon enters the gates to her job. There, inside those gates, the wail of noise, of sirens, horns, jackhammers and trains are replaced by the high-pitched chirp of chickens, the grunting of pigs, and the sway of the breeze through the acres of green that make up the Queens County Farm Museum. Here Kennon Kay is Director of Agriculture; the farm’s 47 acres, her office.
The Queens County Farm Museum is the oldest continually operated farm in the state. Dating back to 1697, the space is as much farm as it is museum. Preserved alongside the fields and rows of corn is a way of life foreign to most New Yorkers. But growing in popularity is its offering of organic fruits and vegetables that, most weeks, make their way from the quaint three-acre planting site to Union Square market and eventually end up in the kitchens of some of Manhattan’s trendiest restaurants.
Kennon spends her days planning, organizing, planting, and ultimately harvesting plots of tomatoes, okra, peppers, and myriad other fruits and vegetables. She feeds the chickens and tends to the goats and sheep. She plans the spring plantings and the fall harvest. As much researcher as farmer, Kennon is responsible for every fruit and vegetable grown on the farm and for finding a home for the produce either at market or in the homes and kitchens of friends.
Kennon Kay is a normal twenty-something New Yorker, but only in New York can you start your day feeding chickens and end it circling the block for a parking space. Kennon Kay is an ‘only in New York’ New Yorker because she does what many can not do: she’s a farmer in the heart of a bustling metropolis.
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