SARATOGA SPRINGS “It’s like an old-fashioned barn raising,” says Paul Arnold. “Everybody’s pitching in.”
He’s talking about Pitney Meadows Community Farm’s new high tunnel, a massive greenhouse that volunteers have started building behind the silo. As chair of PMCF’s buildings and grounds committee, Arnold is directing its construction.
PMCF will use the structure — manufactured by Quebec-based Harnois Greenhouses — both for growing vegetables and for hosting events for as many as 300 people. Its 6,200-square-foot floor will cover a space one-tenth the size of a football field.
On Tuesday, August 1, PMCF will hold its biggest fundraiser of the year here. Five nationally renowned farm-to-table chefs will produce “Fire Feast on the Farm,” a multi-course dinner cooked over five live-fire pits.
A row of 37 steel bows will support an immense sensor-controlled polyethylene sheet that rolls up to increase sunlight and rolls down to retain warmth. In the ridge will be a sensor-controlled vent, opening as necessary to let heat escape and closing to keep it in.
“It’s the strongest, most durable high tunnel on the market,” says Arnold, who has substantial experience with this type of construction, having built three similar greenhouses on his own Pleasant Valley Farm in Argyle.
The greenhouse will be the perfect venue for the Fire Feast, says Arnold. ”Everyone loves the Pitney Farm for its sunsets. We’ll leave the western end open and hope for a spectacular show.”
PMCF received its permit to start construction just last week. But Arnold is confident PMCF’s volunteers will finish the job with time to spare. Among those volunteering is Ryan McFadden, owner of the Henry Street Taproom and a member Fire Feast coordination team.
”It’s so great to have our own farm right here in Saratoga,” he says. “You can’t get any more local than this, and local sourcing is what we pride ourselves on at Henry Street Taproom. It’s a wonderful thing for everyone in the community.”
“When I heard about the Fire Feast and these five big-name chefs coming in from around the country, I just wanted to get involved.”
For more information about the Fire Feast and to buy tickets, go to the Pitney Meadows Community Farm web site at PitneyMeadows.org.