POCANTICO HILLS, N.Y. The Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture invites you and five friends to an exclusive day of hands-on learning with farmer Jack Algiere and chef-kitchen director Adam Kaye at its Pocantico Hills farm.
Your daytrip will be tailored to your interests and will include a four-course lunch from Blue Hill at Stone Barns made from the day's harvest. The price tag? $9,500.
The Stone Barns package is nestled among many of Neiman Marcus's fantasy gifts in its 2011 Christmas Book. And that's a bargain. For those who can spend like Rockefellers, Neiman Marcus is also offering a $20,000 luxury weekend for two on the farm property, which had been part of the Rockefeller estate, and a jar of Stone Barns' honey for $45.
The package is essentially an advanced farm-to-table kind of exercise, Algiere said.
You can visit farms and sort of see what's going on, but generally the farms aren't willing to support a full day of touring and catering to a single group, he said.
Other fantasy items in the Christmas Book include a $420,000 international flower show tour where nine friends will tour several European flower shows with the help of a private jet, a $75,000 dream tent inspired by the 1960s TV show I Dream of Jeannie , and a private tasting of Johnnie Walker Scotch for the bargain price of $5,000.
All proceeds from the Neiman Marcus-Stone Barns packages will directly benefit the Stone Barns Center. Executive Director Jill Isenbarger said the center would use the money to help its young farmers and public educational programs.
Stone Barns was selected to be in the Christmas Book because the center has a relationship with people who put the book together, Isenbarger said. She noted that Neiman's always has gifts that link to a cause or charity, and the store knew that the farm-to-table movement was something that interests its customers.
Isenbarger and Algiere hope the fantasy experiences will help increase awareness about food and how its produced. Algiere noted that the Neiman Marcus package will help the center interact with a group of the population that is really directing a lot of what becomes available in the marketplace.
You can visit Stone Barns without being rich too. The center puts on many events and activities that are more modestly priced, such as its Winter on the Farm Weekend , children's cooking classes and hands-on farming .
We try to make our programming kind of on a day-to-day basis very accessible because we want to be a resource to the community in a variety of ways, Isenbarger said.
Isenbarger said a family from Nevada has already purchased one of the Neiman Marcus packages for the springtime and they hope more people will get out their checkbooks in the coming weeks.
I think the opportunity to really experience something in a way that no one ever has the opportunity to experience is very attractive to this clientele, she said. And I think doing that and knowing that you're doing good, the money that you use to buy this experience is actually going to have kind of an extended impact is really inspiring.
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