Monthly Archives: March 2014

Old Barn Hollow

 

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Located on 1217 Vestal Avenue is a store that is not only the cutest shop you’ll ever see, but is also the favorite store of President Harvey Stenger’s wife, Cathy Frankenbach. What is this store called?, you might ask. This store is called Old Barn Hollow, and it is Binghamton’s first and only locavore store, meaning that their food consists of locally grown or produced food.

 

What is special about Old Barn Hollow?

Well, with Old Barn Hollow, you can influence the Binghamton economy by buying local. All of the food sold at Old Barn Hollow is grown within a hundred mile radius of Binghamton. It is also very easy to get to. The Broome County Number 5 bus stops right in front of the store ( and yes, there ARE buses that go to places besides State Street). Old Barn Hollow has a lot to offer students; there is an academic CSA (Community Supportive Agriculture) that is only available to students. This is a way for students to receive fresh, organic, in-season vegetables by signing up to get weekly boxes of produce. The owner of Old Barn Hollow, Raren Allen, states “This saves a lot of time and a lot of money. You are buying in bulk without having to get the bulk yourself. It makes Old Barn Hollow a one-stop shop. You can get your eggs and your milk here, and pick up your lemons that we wouldn’t otherwise put on our shelves because it isn’t grown within a hundred mile radius. You can still get lemons and avocados and bison burgers here”.

 

Why does Cathy Frankenbach like this place so much?

“ I was teaching fourth grade in Buffalo when Harvey [Stenger] got this job here…I was getting my fourth graders very involved in an organization in Buffalo very similar to VINES (Volunteers Invested in Neighborhood Environments) who works with Old Barn Hollow. They really have committed to only selling things that are from the area; there are a lot of great things about Binghamton, and you just have to find them, partly because things are spread out a little bit”. Old Barn Hollow does a lot of good in this community, and if the wife of our school’s president loves it, then it probably a place worth checking out.

 

Is there anything I can do to get involved with Old Barn Hollow?

Yes, there are so many opportunities available through this amazing store. Not only can you volunteer directly with the store, but they can also connect you to local farms that need extra hands, especially during harvesting seasons. This not only helps you “learn the ways of the land”, but also can teach you great marketing and advertising skills.

 

Wow, this place sounds so cool!

It is pretty cool, and it is a great place for students to go. This store sources from certified organic farms and sustainable farms that are not certified organic but do not use pesticides. It also happens to be the only certified gluten free bakery in the county, with an upcoming expansion project. Old Barn Hollow sells local, organic, delicious food. What more could you ask for in a store?

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Interview with Raren Allen- Owner of Old Barn Hollow

I know the mission of Old Barn Hollow is locally grown products, could you tell me a little more about your goals?

R: Well, we started at a Farmers’ Market, and there is a huge drive to buy local. Our farm started in 2008, when we started manufacturing jams and jellies; our store itself opened in 2012. People are learning about the benefits of locally grown food, and we wanted to have that available to the community more than just one day a week. So, we developed Old Barn Hollow, and all of our food comes from a radius of about a hundred miles from Binghamton. We source primarily from organic farms, but also from sustainable farms that use no pesticides but are not certified organic. We have a really great variety of items, and it changed all the time because everything is local. It changes seasonally, it changes weekly; we get new vendors all the time.

Binghamton students don’t always know of all there is available in the Binghamton area, and I think it’s important that places like this are highlighted.

R: The Broome County bus number 5 stops just in front of the store, it is easily accessible to students. We have the only certified gluten free bakery in the county, so this is a good resource for anybody that is on a gluten free diet. Right now, we just make cookies, and the cakes and bread are special order. We are planning an expansion project which is going to quadruple our space, our baking time, and what not.

Is there anything you would want the students of Binghamton University to know about Old Barn Hollow?

R: We also offer a CSA (Community Supportive Agriculture) that is designed for students, you can sign up for a small CSA only offered when students are attending BU. You get a big box of vegetables, whatever is in season that week. This box is packed full of great stuff, and it way cheaper than going out and buying the items individually. All you do is come and pick it up and your grocery shopping is done. We also offer a food co op; you can shop in your pajamas, pick whatever you want, and at the end of the week the shopping cart closes and the box gets shipped to us, and you can get everything you ordered here. This saves a lot of time and a lot of money. You are buying in bulk without having to get the bulk yourself. It makes Old Barn Hollow a one-stop shop. You can get your eggs and your milk here, and pick up your lemons that we wouldn’t otherwise put on our shelves because it isn’t grown within a hundred mile radius. You can still get lemons and avocados and bison burgers here.

If somebody were to want to volunteer here, would that be possible?

R: We have a lot of different options here, we can do volunteer work. We also help locate farms that are looking for volunteers, especially during harvest season, that is when it is hard for them to keep up. We can help make that connection and the students can learn the ways of the land. It can also help students improve in other areas; it can help with marketing skills and advertising, and all other great techniques you can pick up.

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Interview with Cathy Frankenbach

Cathy Frankenbach

Old Barn Hollow is one of Cathy’s favorite shops, and she sat down to talk about the store, and about buying local and students’ involvement in the city of Binghamton

Cathy: I think Old Barn Hollow is such a good place to go. It’s very small but they offer so much there.

Old Barn Hollow is scheduled for an expansion. They have the only certified gluten free bakery in the county and they plan on quadrupling their space.

C: Yes, when I was there, there was a basket of power bars, and I picked them up and was able to see that they were all produced within a hundred mile radius of Binghamton. You would probably know the answer to this, I don’t know if anything actually comes from their own kitchen.

It started out as a small farm; the owners of Old Barn Hollow went to Farmer’s Markets and sold their goods, and they wanted to provide the people of Binghamton with a place they could go to buy locally grown food more than once a week. Now, they continue to grow their own products, but they also bring in food from other farms, if they are within one hundred miles.

C: The reason I found it, because I’ve only been here for a little over a year and a half, I was teaching fourth grade in Buffalo when Harvey [Stenger] got this job here. I was teaching my fourth graders about Buffalo (where the economy is much like Binghamton’s after their steel mill shut down) and there is a big movement for urban farming and community gardens to take the place of abandoned houses and repair the blight that is very present in the city. So, I was getting my fourth graders very involved in an organization in Buffalo very similar to VINES (Volunteers Invested in Neighborhood Environments) who works with Old Barn Hollow, the two people who run the urban farm in Binghamton right off Susquehanna Boulevard, are Binghamton University graduates. One of them graduated in 2009, and found them when I came here and wanted to know what Binghamton has to offer in terms of urban farming. When I moved here, I contacted them and started working on the farm. I know that a lot of what they harvest, especially in late summer/ early fall, goes to Old Barn Hollow. They sell a lot of their produce to some of the local restaurants. They are a great connection, and when I learned that they were bringing a lot of their products to a place called Old Barn Hollow I was very interested in finding it. I was looking at your website, and for Humans of Binghamton I saw that someone said that there are a lot of great things about Binghamton, and you just have to find them, partly because things are spread out a little bit.

Yes, and there has been a big initiative to buy local.

C: Right, I think that’s very important, and that’s what I love about Old Barn Hollow; they really have committed to only selling things that are from the area. There are all these resources available, and no one would really know about it unless there was a store like this. Even some of the brewers that are opening downtown, and places like Java Joe’s, it starts to establish a culture that everybody wants in downtown Binghamton.

Do you think Old Barn Hollow is an important resource for students to know about?

C: That’s a given,and I understand, especially for underclassmen, when you come to college you’re pretty much contained and you have pretty much everything you need on campus for your day to day academic life. Maybe part of it is transportation, but it’s very important. Both Harvey and I are very proud of the university students’ involvement in volunteer work, both on and off campus, and I’m always hearing stories of students showing up to help with big projects.

Old Barn Hollow can also provide students with volunteer options. They can connect students with farms who need extra hands during harvesting periods.

C: The one thing that I found during my first year here is that it is sort of hard to find places where I could volunteer and things to get involved with, everything was sort of scattered. But there are organizations that try to unify the volunteer opportunites, which is good for you guys as students. For me, VINES was a great find, and so much of what I’m interested in has been connected. And even from an economic standpoint, it is so good for students to go downtown and find places such as Old Barn Hollow.

Old Barn Hollow even provides students with resources such as the academic CSA, which allows students to receive a box of in season fruits and vegetables on a regular basis.

C: The elementary school that I volunteer at was one of the pick-up spots for that over the summer, and this is a perfect example of how getting the word out is important, and helping people know that it’s there. We just want to open peoples’ eyes to better nutrition and a healthier lifestyle.

Thankfully there are places like the Food Co Op on campus to get students on board with that.

C: It’s a great thing that we have that on campus. And BU Acres, up on the top of Bunn Hill, is a house with a white picket fence and a Binghamton University sign, and it is a gardening project that was started by a faculty member years ago. Now the people who took over it are a couple of Binghamton University students, who are both seniors now, decided to take over the land, clean it up, make new garden beds, and plant vegetables that can be used to provide the dining hall with fresh vegetables. This past summer was their first harvest, and I don’t know how far it has spread on campus, but they need a ton of help. What’s tough about something like this is that so much of it happens in the summertime and a lot of the student population is away in the summer. In the spring time, every Saturday and Sunday she needs help turning soil over and helping out with anything.

Is that the type of thing that could be put on B-line?

C: I don’t know how she advertised but she had a list of people that helped her last year. There’s always stuff to do because they’re just starting out. It’s getting to be that time to start thinking about the garden.

Is there anything else that you would want people to know?

C: I would want people to know what was really going on in Binghamton. The location of Old Barn Hollow is just beyond where people normally drive, and it’s easy to miss. It’s sort of off a beaten path, but I think some of the best things in Binghamton are sort of hidden. You just have to look around and ask people questions.

 

Beauty in Binghamton

A city can be greatly defined by the architecture of the buildings it holds. Many people fail to recognize and appreciate the architecture of the buildings that Binghamton has to offer. One of the most recognized and famous architects in New York State, Isaac Perry, designed and built a number of buildings in the area. Some of his most famous designs include the New York State Inebriate Asylum, Phelps Mansion, Broome County Courthouse, and a number of churches in Binghamton including Saint Patrick’s Church on Leroy Street. Perry has also designed a number of buildings in New York City, and he was asked to complete the New York State Capitol building in Albany. He is one of the most decorated architects in New York State and he spent a lot of his time in the Binghamton area.

Isaac Perry

          Isaac Perry

Isaac Perry was born in 1822 in Bennington Vermont. He grew up designing and building staircases with his father, but he really wanted to become an architect. Perry met a man named Joseph Turner who had the vision for the Inebriate Asylum. At the time Perry had no experience in architecture and had never designed a building before. With Turner’s assistance Perry ended up designing the New York State Inebriate Asylum and moved to Binghamton to oversee its completion. Perry moved here just at the start of when Binghamton began to prosper and grow exponentially. He quickly designed many other buildings in the area and was a major contributor to the growth and development of Binghamton into what it is today.

Inebriate Asylum

                              Inebriate Asylum

The Inebriate Asylum in Binghamton is one of the few of its kind. It was designed to help people with alcoholism. They treated alcoholism as a disease and it was one of the first places to do so. The building was built mainly out of stone and brick and is considered tudor castellated architecture. The building is very large, but is no longer in use. The building is currently undergoing renovations with the hopes that it can be used for the Binghamton clinical campus and physician assistant program.

            Churches have always been marvelous architectural structures. The purpose of each varies depending on the location and design of the church. One of the architectural marvels of the Binghamton area is Saint Patrick’s Church on Leroy Street. Built by Isaac G. Perry in the late 1800s it is one of the oldest churches in the area. The Saint Patrick’s Church in Binghamton was built in Norman style architecture. The church is still being used today and is a very popular landmark in the city of Binghamton.

            Saint Patrick’s church has a bell tower and two side towers right at the entrance of the church. This church has no buttresses and this gives it a more boxed shape look. The thin columns of the church lead up to pointed archways. The nave of Saint Patrick’s church has a patterned and vaulted roof with a pointed archway at the very front just above the choir. Above the side archways on the second level are stained glass windows that allow for light to illuminate the church during the day. Saint Patrick’s church does have a number of lights and chandeliers in it to help illuminate the church. The vaulted ceiling and crossed arches are similar to many churches and cathedrals throughout the world. Isaac Perry designed this church to last a long time and is very similar to the other buildings he has designed.

Saint Patrick’s church is a Catholic church that still holds mast regularly. There are many pews that all face the main choir at the front. Above the main entrance is where to organ is placed. There are stairs to the right just through the entrance that lead up to the organ where the organist will play songs during worship. There are also pews up next to the organ for people in the choir to sing while the organ is playing and to lead the church goers during songs of prayer.  The front choir holds a very elaborate alter and a main podium for the pastor to breach during service. Also on the main choir there is a bath that is used for baptism. At the front left side of the church there is a statue of the mother Mary. Above the main alter there is a large stained glass window with a pointed archway.


The Inebriate Asylum and Saint Patrick’s church are two of Isaac Perry’s best architectural works in Binghamton. The asylum is no longer in use and is currently undergoing renovations, while Saint Patrick’s church is still active and holds regular masts. There are a large number of pews lined in the nave of the church or cathedral for the worshipers to sit in that all face the main choir. There is also an alter at the front for the pastor to use during services. Saint Patrick’s church is mainly made out of brick, wood, and concrete. There is also some marble on the lower part of the entrance hall. Isaac Perry was one of the greatest architects in New York State that decided to do a lot of his work in Binghamton. Without people like Isaac Perry Binghamton would not be what it is today.

 

 

Being in College is more than just knowing the University

Going into college, I didn’t think much about what kind of difference I wanted to make in the world, rather the things I wanted to get out of my next four years. Ive come to realize that what is more important is what I give back in my four years, to the community, to the school, and the environment around me.

Luckily, one of the best things on a university campus is the connections that made with the community surrounding it. At Binghamton the CCE, Center for Civic Engagement, has a multitude of different volunteer opportunities for anyone wanting to get involved around the city of Binghamton. Historically, Binghamton had job security and things for children and the community living there, but recently the city has become more and more depressed. The CCE helps put student volunteers around the city and helps to develop better and safer and more consistent programs for the people living around our University. It is increasingly important to get involved in the real world at this time in our lives, to be able to contribute to other peoples happiness and welfare and not just concentrate on what we need to be doing to succeed in the long run.

One of the many things most Binghamton University students don’t know is that 1/3 of the average Binghamton High class isn’t in school on a given day. There are numerous problems with the school systems, and the support of the University only strengthens the growing student population going to school here. The CCE specifically takes students going to College in Binghamton and sets them up to help out the kids living here whether it be in an after school program or an extracurricular activity. There are also groups and activities set up to help the elderly community here, keeping them stimulated and strengthening the community further. Students are able to volunteer at the Discovery Center, where Binghamton Children come to play and learn, or at the Senior Center where there are coordinated Bingo games, for example.

On the CCE website it is very forward and clear as to how to get involved. When you get to the homepage, there is a search button where you can type in any sort of “keyword” and then find volunteer projects that connect you to that. The school makes it incredibly easy and even enticing to help out in the greater Binghamton community. 

At this point in our college careers we are not only trying to prepare ourselves for just a job, but also to live in the ‘real’ world. Helping with the CCE and connecting with people living around the university is a good way to ground yourself and see that there is more to life than just doing basic college endeavors. It is important to give back to the community which is essentially hosting us in their city for four years while we learn and grow.

We found this wonderful Turkish couple feeding pigeons near State Street.  When we told them we wanted to interview them for a blog they started giving us directions to the library.  Despite having trouble understanding each other we spoke for a pretty long time.  When we asked if we could take their picture, the husband pulled out his phone and took a picture of us.  Or he might have been recording us.   "Fifty percent of Binghamton very bad man, fifty percent very nice people."

We found this wonderful Turkish couple feeding pigeons near State Street. When we told them we wanted to interview them for a blog they started giving us directions to the library. Despite having trouble understanding each other we spoke for a pretty long time. When we asked if we could take their picture, the husband pulled out his phone and took a picture of us. Or he might have been recording us.
“Fifty percent of Binghamton very bad man, fifty percent very nice people.”

This guy was very quotable and had an interesting, but tragic story.  He moved here from a dangerous neighborhood in the Bronx thinking Binghamton would be safer, but didn't find that to be the case.  He lost his children but told us "I'm a survivor." He left us with this: "People in Binghamton need to start focusing more on their families and sticking together.  That's the only way they're going to survive in this town." He was wearing glasses that he took off for the picture.  When asked about this he responded, "I'm going for that Clark Kent look."

This guy was very quotable and had an interesting, but tragic story. He moved here from a dangerous neighborhood in the Bronx thinking Binghamton would be safer, but didn’t find that to be the case. He lost his children but told us “I’m a survivor.” He left us with this:
“People in Binghamton need to start focusing more on their families and sticking together. That’s the only way they’re going to survive in this town.”
He was wearing glasses that he took off for the picture. When asked about this he responded, “I’m going for that Clark Kent look.”