Farming was the original reason for settling on Shelter Island in 1651. Re-establishing our community’s agricultural heritage in a sustainable way is a compelling priority as we launch a new era at Sylvester Manor.
Today, we actively cultivate four acres in fruits, vegetables and flowers visible in our picturesque Windmill Field on Manwaring Road. We raise a flock of Rhode Island Red chickens that we rotate through our vegetable field. The chickens eat vegetable leftovers and help lower our pest pressure in the field while providing natural fertilizer for the soil. We also raise hogs to help combat nonnative invasive species and improve forest health. In 2012, 83 acres of farmland were permanently protected through town and county preservation programs.
Our farm practices are guided by a conservation plan approved by the Natural Resources Conservation Service and funded in part by a USDA EQIP grant. Another USDA grant is funding the development of a forestry management plan for over 150 acres of woodland. We are excited to develop agricultural practices in our woods that are productive but also mitigate invasive species that are plaguing so many protected open spaces.