Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Oustanding in this field!

Noting two opportunities to celebrate local food this weekend:

Acclaimed chef Melissa Kelly (who has local ties) will be guest chef at this Sunday's (Sept. 14) Outstanding in the Field dinner at Gigi Market at Greig Farm in Red Hook.

Outstanding in the Field says its mission is to
"re-connect diners to the land and the origins of their food, and to honor the local farmers and food artisans who cultivate it. ... the Field is a roving culinary adventure - literally a restaurant without walls. Since 1999 we have set the long table at farms or gardens, on mountain tops or in sea caves, on islands or at ranches. ... Wherever the location, the consistent theme of each dinner is to honor the people whose good work brings nourishment to the table. Ingredients for the meal are almost all local (sometimes sourced within inches of your seat at the table!) and generally prepared by a celebrated chef of the region. After a tour of the site, we all settle in: farmers, producers, culinary artisans, and diners sharing the long table."

Kelly is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America who has worked as executive chef at the Beekman Tavern in Rhinebeck and The Old Chatham Sheepherding Company Inn in Columbia County. She was named one of the upcoming chefs of the 1990s by Food & Wine magazine, and has been recognized by a lot of other national publications. She won the 1999 James Beard Foundation Award as American Express Best Chef, Northeast and also was nominated in 1998. Today, she is executive chef and proprietor of Primo in Rockland, Maine, along with Price Kushner. According to her online bio, in 2003 she partnered with JW Marriott to open a second Primo at the Grande Lakes Resort; Orlando, Florida. A third followed in 2003 at Starr Pass Resort; Tucson, Arizona.

The event, which starts at 4 p.m., costs $200 per person and will also feature host farmer Norman Greig, and the Biezynski Family of Northwind Farms. Limited seating is still available. Please call John Storm at 845-876-1007 to reserve.

And if you don't feel like forking over $200 to eat with Melissa Kelly, on Saturday (Sept. 13) from 4 to 7 p.m. there's also the opportunity to celebrate local food with the Green Pizza Fundraiser for the Family Farm Festival, with all-you-can-eat pizzas handcrafted using ingredients from local farms, at Epworth Center in High Falls. Suggested donation is $20 per adult, $10 per child ages 7-12. Kids under six eat for free. The menu includes everything you'd want for a meal, including dessert pizzas!

Here is more info from the organizers:

Pizza baked to crispy perfection in a wood-fired cob oven. Heirloom tomato tastings. Acoustic music. Tours of permaculture and edible forest gardens and straw-bale house. All in support of the continuation of the Family Farm Festival from 2009 into the future!

WHY: To gather together the initial funds necessary to incorporate the Family Farm Festival--originally organized by Dina Falconi and Jen Prosser--into a non-profit organization, and to raise money to begin staging the annual festival again in 2009.

I've been to the last few Family Farm Festivals as a member of Slow Food Hudson Valley and can vouch that it is a lovely family event that celebrates local farms and food producers. I'm looking forward to its return!
Directions and more info here:

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