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At Casa de Suna, we’ve been huge fans of Shelburne Farms for years.

And if you live on the East Coast of the US, it’s likely you’ve been exposed to some of their fantastic products–or maybe you’ve even been lucky enough to visit the inn yourself.

But Shelburne is much more than just a farm. And because it has so much to offer, we wanted to go straight to the source, to give all of our readers a primer on everything they should know, so we spoke to Ari Sadri, Shelburne’s Inn and Hospitality Director, to get some background on everything that Shelburne does–and how you can get involved.

Shelburne Farms

Can you share a bit of background on Shelburne Farms with our readers?

Shelburne Farms is an education nonprofit on a mission to inspire and cultivate learning for a sustainable future. Its campus is a working farm and National Historic Landmark that was a 19th century agricultural estate. Having grown up in the turbulent sixties, great grandchildren of the estate founders established the nonprofit in 1972 to address the issues they were passionate about: protecting the environment, claiming civil rights, controlling urban sprawl, advocating for peace. Education was the nonprofit’s core purpose, then and now. And the vision, then and now, was a thriving world rooted in nature and community.

How did you get involved with Shelburne Farms?

I started working at Shelburne Farms in my capacity as Inn & Hospitality Director in 2017. Initially, I was drawn to the beauty of the location but the clarity of the organization’s mission of making the world a better place really hooked me. I love the notion of using the skills I’ve gained over my years as a hotelier in service of a larger mission.

Shelburne Farms

What’s your favorite thing about Shelburne Farms?

I love being part of an organization with such clarity of purpose. Every day, I come to work and am surrounded by thoughtful people doing brilliant things. The impact of this organization is impressive. We provide in-person programs for school-age children, fellowship opportunities for college students and recent graduates, and extensive professional learning programs for educators all over the world!

Can you tell us a bit about the Inn and what potential visitors can expect?

The Shelburne Farms Inn is part of the nonprofit, and is the original house of William Seward Webb and Lila Vanderbilt Webb. The inn consists of twenty four guest rooms in the historic house plus two double-occupancy cottages, and two three-bedroom houses. The house itself is, for the most part, decorated as you would have expected to find it during Lila and William Seward’s time.

In fact, roughly 85% of all the furnishings found in the inn are original to the house and we take conservation of the home very seriously. Add to this the natural beauty of the farm, and the inn’s stunning location overlooking Lake Champlain and the Adirondacks, and it is very hard not to be amazed. After six years, I still find myself awed by how breathtaking this place is.

When it comes to the guest experience, the Inn team works very hard to make sure that guests feel warmly welcomed upon arrival, graciously cared for during their stay, invited to participate in any education programs, and inspired by the organization’s work upon departure.

Shelburne Farms

Can you tell us a bit about the food program?

Our culinary programs focus on farm-to-table experiences and are led by Chef John Patterson. John came to Shelburne Farms from some of the most well-regarded restaurants in New York and Philadelphia (Gramercy Tavern, and Fork to name a few). Like me, John wanted to put his skills as a chef to use towards something more than winning awards and accolades. While excellent food and hospitality are what we aim to deliver on a daily basis, this is all set in the context of the farm’s primary mission of sustainability which permeates everything we do in the inn’s food program.
A few examples:

  • Approximately 85% of everything we serve in the restaurant and Farm Cart (the Farm’s food truck, located at the Farm Barn) comes from within a forty mile radius of the farm.
  • Our compost is separated a variety of ways, some food and vegetable scraps are retained to feed pigs or other livestock on the farm, some is composted on-site to be applied as soil amendments on the farm, the rest is sent to a commercial composter.
  • Our menus are drawn heavily from the seasonal offerings coming from the farm’s own Market Garden (shout out to Market Gardener Josh Carter and his team) with the bulk of all produce used in the restaurant and other various food programs coming directly from the farms itself.
  • All of the beef and lamb served at the inn come directly from Shelburne Farms (shoutout to Dairy Farm Manager Sam Dixon and his team).
  • All maple syrup that is served at the farm comes from our own woodlands (shoutout to Woodlands Manager, Dana Bishop).

While being able to work with fresh, hyper-local ingredients is every chef’s dream, it has the additional impact of reducing the carbon footprint of the food we serve by reducing the amount of distance the food needs to travel to get to us. It also supports a healthy local foodway by providing an additional market for other local producers.

For those who can’t visit in person, are there ways to support Shelburne Farms from afar?

Absolutely! Shelburne Farms is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, and we welcome support of all kinds. Our website has an incredible amount of information regarding the nonprofit’s work as well as an option for donating should you wish. Our URL is www.shelburnefarms.org.


Thank you, Ari! If you’re inspired to book–or donate (or both!)–to Shelburne after this, let us know by tagging us on social media using #casadesuna!

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