Frances Brown, along with her husband Lyle, run the well-known Brown's Family Stand near Exit 25 in Rotterdam on a third generation family farm. They are known for their sweet corn, tomatoes and cucumbers.
As part of the Agriculture in the Classroom, through the Farm Bureau and Cornell Cooperative Extension, Frances Brown talked to students about her family's farm and farming in general in Schenectady.
She read a story to students in Laura O'Keefe's and Val Eagan's grade 2 classrooms today.
"If you are in a farm family, you will work on the farm," said Brown when asked whether she works on the farm. She explained that everyone in her family worked on the farm and put in the hours to make it successful. "We paid out bills and, whatever was left, that was how we made our living."
She said family farms of all kind - vegetable, livestock and others - were popular in Schenectady County and across New York state. However, one type of farm that doesn't exist much in this part of the state is the vineyard.
She read a book, "The Grapes Grow Sweet," by Lynne Tuft. It is about a young boy, Julian, who lives on a vineyard in California and the adventures he has on the farm as they harvest the grapes for use as wine, jelly, juice and other products.
Brown told the class that there are more than 1,000 vineyards in New York, with the majority (75%) producing grapes to be used in juice and jellies with 25% going toward wine.
Students taste tested two types of juice: Concord grape (purple) juice and White Concord or Niagara white juice. They sniffed them first. Swirled them in the glasses and checked them out very carefully.
Based on a showing of hands, students said they liked both of the juices. "It's really a matter of personal taste," said Brown. "Some people can tell the difference and other can't."
Here are a few photos from the day's event in O'Keefe's room. Click on the image to enlarge it: