Three Sisters

Lee, Chef/Owner of Ariel’s Restaurant touring 3 sisters

Corn, beans, and squash create a special alchemy together in the field and on the plate.  In legend, the plants were a gift from the gods, always to be grown together, eaten together, and celebrated together. This companion planting trio was widespread across North America and the Iroquois label, “three sisters”, is woven into contemporary gardening parlance and grade school social studies curricula.

The symbiosis and interdependence of three sisters is inspiring as it is needed for a small farm to survive.  Our customers, guests, staff, colleagues, community and supporters from afar enable our venture and so many other small businesses to survive and hopefully thrive.


Farmstay guests picking beans for dinner in the 3 Sisters garden


In the field, corn provides support for the beans. Beans have bacteria living on their roots that help them absorb nitrogen from the air and convert it into a form that the plants can use and corn requires lots of nitrogen to grow. Large and prickly squash leaves both shade the soil to prevent weed growth and deter animal pests. On the plate, the foundational carbohydrates of corn are complemented by amino acids essential to humans found in beans, while squash provide key vitamins as well as healthy fats in their seeds.  Together, the three sisters provide both sustainable soil fertility as well as a healthy diet.


Our Floating Bridge Food & Farms Cooperative also formed with a similar mission to both serve as a support system for its members and to better provide our neighbors and visitors with authentic farm and food experiences, ultimately deepening appreciation and understanding of our working agricultural community.

Our annual Floating Bridge Food and Farms dinner, like a three sisters plot, celebrates the magic of our diverse offerings woven together. And the feast, like corn, beans and squash served together, provides physical and spiritual nourishment as we together celebrate our special place in this season of abundance.

Join us to experience the Three Sisters!

3 sisters on a tour in 3 sisters

Next Thursday on the farm during Open Farm Week, we will be doing tours and making scarecrows to protect that corn.

And there are still some tickets left to experience the Three Sisters regional dinner on Ariel’s lawn.  And you can already buy some of the elements of the three sisters garden in our farmstand, perhaps next week we can add corn to that mix.


And let us not forget the fourth sister often added, the beloved sunflower.

Chef Peter from Wild Roots Restaurant gathered some sunflower buds to braise like artichokes! We can’t wait to try them.