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Fire Feasting on the Farm

August 2, 2017

Remember how I was saying that we’re in peak summer? Well, last night at Pitney Meadow Community Farm was a stunning reminder of just how delicious summer can be.

Three hundred people gathered together under the high tunnel to support the vision for this property to become a hub of small-scale sustainable farming education and training. We also gathered to taste some incredible food prepared by some world class chefs from all over the country, who came up to Saratoga for some live fire cooking of local, seasonal, and sustainable products.

Chef Michael Lapi was behind sourcing the proteins, Josh Coletto designed the fire pits, and John Sconzo worked to secure the culinary talent. And these were just a few of my favorite people who were there.

A play by play of the food would take forever, so instead I’ll just share some of my favorites from the evening. But do yourself a favor. Follow Pitney Meadow Community Farm on Facebook, because if they do something like this again, you’re not going to want to miss it.

The fire grilled shrimp and oysters were prepared under the supervision of chef Alex Harrell from Angeline in New Orleans. And they were served alongside a bright feast of tomatoes and cucumbers in buttermilk, topped with some fermented corn, and fennel pollen. This is pretty much everything I want out of summer.

The fire roasted pork came from Francis Derby whose resume includes wd~50, the two-Michelin star Gilt, and Momofuku’s Ssäm Bar, among others. The roasted and deliciously fatty pork was deliciously balanced by a bright, crisp, and piquant salad of summer beans, basil, and chilis. The story I heard was that the head terrine was a last minute addition, when the chef realized the pig heads had to be removed to fit on the grill. So those got boiled down and transformed into a rich and silky component on the plate.

But it was the beef course that left me weak in the knees. Which is unusual, because I’m generally more inclined to gush about vegetable forward dishes. What I learned last night, was that the Fire Feast was actually inspired by the team holding down the beef station. Apparently it had something to do with a meal John Sconzo had at the 2-Michelin star Atera with chefs Matt Lightner and Victoria Blamey.

Well, they nailed this. More than anything else last night, this dish delivered on the promise of live fire cooking with a lustrous smokiness, but also nailed the buttery rendered beef fat and a perfectly cooked beef roast. I always fret about cooking a much smaller joint of beef in the controlled setting of a kitchen. Being able to do this over a live fire and nail the timing for service, is truly awesome.

More than anything, I wish there was a picture of dessert. Because burns gelato was up from Brooklyn with a corn gelato, with crushed blueberry cookies, and dried corn which was absolutely delightful. I suppose one shouldn’t expect anything less from the fellow who used to be the pastry chef of restaurant noma in Copenhagen.

Even though I had been eating for hours, I had to go back for a second portion. But by that time, it was dark outside, and nobody could see me engage in such excess.

Thanks to Pitney Meadow Community Farm for inviting me out to experience the Fire Feast. It did a great job of putting this farm on the map, and getting people excited about what’s to come. I can’t wait to see what they do next.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Matthew permalink
    August 2, 2017 12:25 pm

    Man that head cheese was good! I asked for an extra portion and ate it on some of the rockhill bread on the tables. I could have eaten that the entire night with a little mustard and some pickles (ok, and some of those roasted oysters and shrimp!)

    It was a thrill to see the Profusser in person!

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