On a rainy afternoon this October, near the end of the farm season, I found Gus Jones hunched over the front of his blue Dodge pickup, the dents and dings in the truck’s panels hinting at a life of heavy use—a workhorse for the farmer. Jones, 35, the manager of Snug Harbor Heritage Farm, operates a farm stand a world removed from places like the Union Square Greenmarket, with its celebrity clientele and winding lines for $12-a-pound mushrooms. Although, really, it’s not that far away: Take the Staten Island Ferry to St. George station and hop the S40 bus toward Port Richmond. Five minutes later, you’ll arrive at Snug Harbor Cultural Center, a nonprofit arts and education facility that boasts historical and contemporary exhibits by the city’s artisan community. My first reaction to the nineteenth-century campus, lined with gravel paths and Greek-revival cottages that look to be plucked from fiction, was one filled with disbelief—‘This cannot be New York City.’ Travel time from Union Square: less than an hour.
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