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Star Farmers

July 31, 2017

Every now and again it’s good to have a reminder that farm-to-table isn’t just a marketing slogan. There’s a reason why the phrase is overused and and getting tired.

That’s because the premise is a powerful one.

The idea behind food purity and food integrity resonates with people. Pluck a tomato ripe off the vine, slice it up, sprinkle it with salt, and eat while it’s still warm from the sun. It’s simply glorious. In a world where tomatoes can be grown on the other side of the planet, picked while green, packed into shipping containers, and gassed until they turn a marketable shade of red, going back to the old foodways is a compelling notion.

But like all good ideas, the battle cry of farm-to-table has been coopted. And it’s wise to look closely at those espousing these ideals, because not everyone walks the walk. Much like the organic label, farm-to-table is at risk of losing its meaning.

However, this past weekend was a great reminder of the potential behind the promise.

If you missed the FarmOn! Foundation’s 7th Anniversary Hoot! you missed a delicious night all around. But you didn’t even have to stick around for the dinner to get in on some of the good stuff.

I wish I had a picture of the roast pig that was being sliced up and stuffed into steamed buns with lettuce, hoisin sauce, and a pickle. Each bun also included some crackling along with ridiculously tender meat. And because they had the whole pig, the carvers were offering little tastes of variety cuts. Which meant I also got to try a slice of pig tongue, which was delicious.

While perhaps I should have accepted the offer of a taste of the pig’s brains, I demurred. However, if there was ever a time to take the leap, it would have been this weekend.

The supervising chef was Terrance Brennan, and the pig came from Sir William Farm.

Actually, there were so many farms involved with this event, it’s amazing. I’m not entirely sure if this is a full list, but at least it’s a start: Bartlett House Bakery, Black Horse Farms, Blue Star Farm, Coach Farm, Common Hands Farm, Empire Farm, Fix Farm, Hawthorne Valley Farm, Heermance Farm, Herondale Farm, Holmquest Farms, Irving Farm, Kleins Kill Fruit Farm, Lynnhaven Dairy, Maple Hill Creamery, Migliorelli, Pigasso Farms, Ray Tousey Honey, Thompson Finch Farm, Whistle Down Farm, and Wild Hive.

One of the goals of the dinner was to create star farmers. There’s even a hashtag, that combines those two terms into one completely made up word. Ready for this?

IMG_9036

#Starmer

Get it? Star. Farmer. Starmer. Personally, my favorite star farmer wasn’t at the Hoot! Primarily because Sprakers isn’t anywhere near the Hudson Valley. It’s out past Fonda near Canajohare. And that’s where Paul and Joan from Bella Terra Farm do their thing.

I’m not sure any actual farmer would self-identify as a Starmer, but perhaps that’s why it’s even more important that we elevate the status of those people who grow our food to the level of those who provide us with entertaining diversions.

There was someone at the event who looked like Parker Posey. The only reason I might say I’m a fan of her work is because of her excellent performance in Waiting for Guffman. Not that I don’t like her other work, it’s just that I haven’t seen much of it. But more than anything, I regret missing the chance to shake the hand of Bruce Conover at Sir William Farm who raised the pig that I revisited over and over again.

This weekend, I became a huge fan of his work.

Fortunately, I’m off to another farm benefit tomorrow night. This time in Saratoga Springs. And as good as the Hoot! was, from a culinary perspective, this promises to be even better. Keep your eyes peeled to the FLB Twitter feed for reports on Tuesday night. Or better yet, buy a ticket and join me for the Fire Feast.

One Comment leave one →
  1. August 1, 2017 3:10 pm

    That was indeed one fine pig. #Porkstar!

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