Stuart’s Fruit Farm in Somers is now officially protected from future development.
Westchester Land Trust announced this week that it closed on a conservation easement to protect the 172-acre farm at 62 Granite Springs Road in Granite Springs. The decade-long project is valued at almost $3 million, the organization said.
The conservation easement ends the development rights on the farm, ensuring the land will remain available for agricultural use in the future.
“The protection of Stuart’s Fruit Farm is the product of years of work and is a tribute to the commitment that the Stuart family and our community have to our agricultural heritage,” said Lori Ensinger, Westchester Land Trust’s president.
The organization’s partners included New York state, Westchester County, Scenic Hudson Land Trust, the town of Somers and Somers Land Trust.
“I often think about the future of this land that has been in our family for seven generations,” said Bob Stuart, owner of the farm with his sister, Mary Lee Stuart Gerlach. “We have customers who’ve picked apples here as a child who now bring their grandchildren to the orchard. We are so grateful to all who worked with us on this conservation easement, because we can rest assured knowing the land we love and share with thousands of visitors each year, is safe from development forever.”
Established in 1828, the farm offers visitors the opportunity to pick peaches and apples, or buy flowers and produce at the farm stand. Stuart’s also educated students about Westchester’s agricultural heritage.
“Our parents, Lee and Mary Stuart, would be thrilled knowing that the future of the farm will continue in our family,” Mary Lee Stuart Gerlach added.
Through the use of conservation easements and outright acquisition, Westchester Land Trust works with public and private partners to preserve land and enhance the natural resources in Westchester and eastern Putnam counties.
For more information, visit westchesterlandtrust.org.