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No Country for Old Farms

June 29, 2018

Earlier this week, I teased that there would be some special post to run on Friday, displacing Emily’s ongoing search for the best eggs benny in the Capital Region.

You’re going to have to wait until the bottom of the page for the payoff, but there you’ll find a partial picture of a menu that I suspect will knock your socks off. But the story I want to tell about an incredible brunch you can have on Sunday, fits neatly into a slightly larger story on older farms that aren’t all the way out in the country.

Maybe you remember how we recently went hunting for strawberries. Well, that drive took us out to Columbia County. It’s not far. The farms out there are fantastic. And it’s well worth the trip.

But Mrs. Fussy was bit by the strawberry bug and was hoping to get a few more pints in her before the peak of the season ended, and that led me to explore some of the old farms that are right in our backyard.

This was a great excuse for me to finally check out Forts Ferry Farm in Latham. It turns out that strawberries don’t dig the farm’s soil. And that’s okay. It also turns out that this is the farm’s third year of being open.

So how is this an old farm? Well, it’s a new operation on an old farm. This farmland was almost turned into more houses, but it was saved. And now, it’s truly a gem.

How have I missed out on this place for two full seasons? It’s amazing. It’s like a local produce lover’s candy store. Even though this is only the second week of their season, and produce is just starting to trickle in, there were several things I had never seen before. And I left with some delightful heirloom cucumbers, which will hopefully help keep me cool over the hot weekend.

Seriously, go. Check it out. It’s not inexpensive, but it won’t break the bank. And it’s totally worth it. I’m kicking myself for not getting there earlier.

Still on the hunt for strawberries, I was off to another farm I knew that was only a short hop away. But as I was driving, I saw a sign on Route 7 that advertised strawberries. Thankfully, I had a little bit of time for exploration, which led me up this gravel path to a huge clearing with lots of greenhouses and the farm stand for Burger’s Market Garden.

I didn’t even know this place existed. But it’s been there for a long time. And they have additional fields on the other side of Route 7. They grow their own strawberries, and they were delicious. Maybe not quite as pretty as the ones we had picked up a couple weeks earlier, but they certainly scratched the itch. The hot house tomatoes they grow are also looking pretty nice, but I had a goal and needed to stay focused.

Then it was off to Lansing Farm. Some people say it’s in Colonie, some say Schenectady, others call it Niskayuna. Not only do they have strawberries, but they also have homemade pies.

Oh yeah. They also have chefs.

I’ve been working on a project with chefs Kyle MacPherson and Joan Porambo of Field Notes. Earlier this week, I stumbled upon their farm brunch menu online. I don’t have the full thing, but you can get a lot out of information from this picture.

I’m hoping against hope that I can make the brunch when it starts on Sunday at 11am, because we have a family function in Massachusetts later that day. I think I’ve got a fighting chance, if I’m quick about it.

What might not be able to tell from the menu is that Kyle and Joan make all of this themselves. When I was at the farm yesterday, Joan was simmering a variety of animal parts to make her scrapple. She’s from Northeastern Pennsylvania, so scrapple is in her wheelhouse.

I also had the chance to ask her about the prices, because at first I thought it was a misprint. But she wants to make these brunches accessible to everyone. And I can’t tell you how wonderful that is.

Yes, the duo are still hosting fancy farm dinners, with more elaborate preparations. But if that’s a bit beyond your budget, I love the fact they are offering local, seasonal, and sustainable food at a price anyone can afford.

If that doesn’t make this worth the trip on Sunday—despite the summer heat—I don’t know what to tell you. If you know what’s good, you’ll be there. And maybe I’ll see you on Saturday at Eat Drink Saratoga too. It’s another busy weekend. It must be summer.

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