Monday, June 4, 2007

Local, sustainable, organic ... and delicious

Despite some of the hardest rain I’ve ever experienced, I had a wonderful visit on Sunday to Herondale Farm, a certified organic, environmentally friendly livestock farm on Wiltsie Bridge Road in Ancramdale (it’s in a scenic area close to Pine Plains and Millerton). Herondale is a fascinating place. The farm’s electricity is produced by solar panels on farm buildings and its machinery runs on biofuel made on site from local restaurants’ waste oil. In a postcard-perfect setting, the owners raise grass-fed heritage livestock breeds -- British White and Murray Grey cattle, Berkshire and Berkshire cross pigs and Cornish cross rock chickens -- which they sell to a few select restaurants (including The Stissing House in Pine Plains and Blue Hill at Stone Barns, the acclaimed restaurant at the Rockefellers’ Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in Westchester County.)

Sunday’s tour was a Slow Food Hudson Valley-sponsored event, so of course it included a meal. And what a meal! After touring the farm, our group of foodies (some from as far away as Westchester County and southern Connecticut) settled in at the home of our host (that's one of their cows in this photo I took), one of the farm’s neighbors. The wonderful meal featured Herondale grilled lemon herbed chicken and artisanal hot and sweet Italian, Andouille, and Chorizo sausages as well as our host’s special slow-smoked brisket. Dessert included strawberries -- the first of the season -- from a nearby organic UPick berry farm. (Ask Herondale for directions there.) Lucky for me, Herondale also sells its products right at the farm and there’s more info on the farm’s Web site about how to order. I’m going to recreate the experience at home (well, at least part of Sunday’s menu). Very very soon.

No comments: