News from the Farm
Kuddos to our guest chefs
What a summer it has been for our farm dinners. We are so grateful to each and every chef who participated, who went above and beyond - prepping parts of the meal in their own kitchens, diligently driving the feast up, coming early, staying late, enlisting families and friends. They put the finishing touches at the farm kitchen with a smile, love for their craft, for the farm, and for the happy diners who greet them with standing ovations like the rock stars they are.
To Chefs Ralph Scarmadella and John Deloach, Chef Justin Bazdarich and wonderful wild card Dan Churchill, Chef Saul Bolton and Chef Josh Cohen, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts and stomachs. We dream of encore performances to come. Ray will name a row after each of you for sure.
Kuddos to our guests
Whether you walked across the road, made the trek up from NYC, have been coming for one year or 5, we cannot say enough to those who came and enjoyed the dinners this year. Everyone is so good natured, no one complains (almost), no one asks for salt on the table, and suddenly everyone wants a bread basket so they can soak up every flavor. You appreciate what Ray grows, you appreciate what the chefs create, and you take it all in, literally and figuratively, many of you,over and over again. You tell your friends, and before long, they bring their families. We cannot thank you enough for selling out every single dinner, and keeping no chair empty.
Kevin Zraly and Daniel Johnnes
For 5 years we have held dinners and for 5 years you never hesitate to say “yes, count me in.” Please keep saying yes, everyone love and appreciates you both. Although we also love our newbies, Nick Bill and Edouard Bourgeois, there is nothing like men of a certain age.
For 5 years and 15 dinners, you have made sure that our menus are painted as wonderfully as only you can do. You do each and every one one of our meals justice.
Five years of dinners and you never missed one. We cannot wait to start selling your beer and serving it everywhere including the future farm dinners!
xoxo xoxo xoxo, Ray
Photos by Etienne Frossard
We can’t say enough about the wonderful 2014 summer dinner series. Each one unique and special, all memorable. Hats off to Chef Saul Bolton for his dinner, and what appears to be the “best” dish of the summer – his sugar snap pea soup. Ray, you have not lost your culinary touch, and thanks to Justin Farmer for his help in dinner number two. Chef Josh Cohen, you catapulted us to end the series on a very high note, and rumor has it you have already committed to coming back next year!
There are no words to thank everyone else who makes these dinners happen. Kevin Zraly and Daniel Johnnes, the best wine friends any farmer can have, Paul, Risa and John, Jody, Linda, Kendra, Lu and Don, our star triplet Bella, behind the scenes and serving the food, a million thanks to you all.
And to all the diners, who traveled as far away as Toronto, and as close as across the street, without your support, we could not have these dinners. We are already dreaming and planning for 2015!
by Dori Fern
When I posted the above shot on Facebook with the caption “Mama’s First Pickles,” a friend expressed shock that I had never before then attempted to make these simple, sour treats at home. I am, after all, an avid and adventurous cook with Semitic, pickle-eating, roots who resides in Brooklyn, the locavore locus of do-it-yourselfness.
I have resisted making my own mainly because, unlike many foods and dishes I boldly believe I can improve on myself, I cannot imagine besting the Eastern European-style pickles I have most enjoyed. Growing up, that meant Ba-Tampte half sours, the brand favored by every self-respecting Jewish New Yorker. In my post-adolescence years, Guss’ pickles out of the barrel on the Lower East Side were a real revelation: garlic, half-sours, sours, sometimes tomatoes and always the addictive pickled mushrooms.
My pickle tastes have wandered in recent years. These days I tend to go for quick-pickled veggies decidedly not of the European variety, like sweet, hot and sour shredded cabbage and carrots. A perky topping, indeed, for tacos and Southeast Asian dishes. These I have made at home.
But last week at the market, I couldn’t get my mind off the classics of my youth. Ray had everything I needed to make a reinvented, neo-Brooklyn, version of the pickles I love: cute-as-a-button little kirbys, garlic scapes, new season garlic. And since I was buying the fennel for a salad, I decided to use the wild mane of fronds as a substitute for dill in my pickles.
This recipe on Food52 seemed perfect. I was curious about the lacto-fermentation process and liked the idea of watching it “cook” right on my countertop for a few days. My few tweaks: swapping in fennel fronds for dill, adding some dried pickling spices I had (which I wouldn’t bother with again) and adding both a few cloves of new garlic along with the scapes. I wouldn’t bother quartering, or even halving, Ray’s tiniest of kirbys next time. They’re small enough to leave whole.
They turned out bright and garlicky, sour and salty. Not exactly like the ones from my youth, but a transporting bite nonetheless.