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Farms and Conflict

September 27, 2018

Food comes from farms.
Food is important for our survival.
Therefore, farms are important for our survival.

Logical syllogisms were never my strong suit, but I think that works. Even if I got the logical syntax wrong, the conclusion remains the same. Farms are a critical component of our society.

We could argue about the definition of a farm, and if there is a fundamental difference between large farms and small farms, or family farms and industrial farms. Perhaps one of the problems we have is painting farms too broadly with the same brush. I’m not entirely sure.

What I do know is that over the years I have wanted to deepen my relationship with the region’s farms and farmers. And it’s not easy. Mostly because of time, and the fact that farmers are busy with the hard work of farming.

But I do think it’s important for more people to get to know farmers, and vice versa. Because after talking with some farmers, there is an underlying belief—expressed by far too many—that they are under attack from consumers.

That’s not good. And in part, this is why I am leading a bunch of Yelpers out to one of the region’s beef producers on Sunday. So we can meet Phil Trowbridge and see how he raises Angus on his farm in Ghent.

However, there are some other regional farm events that you don’t have to be part of the Yelp Elite Squad to attend. The only problem is that I’ve got conflicts with two of the very best ones.

Did you hear that Rob Handel is back at Heather Ridge Farm? He’s the talented chef who forages, ferments, and does everything the hard way. For the past year he’s been in the kitchen at fin – your fishmonger, but now he’s returned from a year at sea and is getting back to his roots.

See what I did there?

Anyhow, on Saturday, October 6 he’ll be frying up chicken at the farm in Preston Hollow from 5-7pm. Technically, I’ll be available. However, that same day from noon until 5pm is the Schenectady Wing Walk, and I will be judging over 20 different chicken wings. After that feat of endurance, I just can’t face another piece of fried chicken. Even something as good and wholesome as what Rob will be cooking.

Which isn’t to say you couldn’t do both. Participants of the wing walk don’t have to try everything. And for the $12 entry fee, even if you walked away with just 12 wings, it would be a fair price given the cost of wings these days. Twelve wings in the afternoon, and a fried chicken dinner may be decadent, but it’s still doable.

Just know that reservations are necessary for the event at Heather Ridge Farm. It’s $29 for adults and reservations need to be in by Wednesday, October 3. To hold your spot, call Carol at 518-239-6234, and please tell her how sorry I am that I can’t make it.

It also breaks my heart that I can’t go to this year’s grand Fire Feast at Pitney Meadows Community Farm. This year the live fire cooking and craft cocktail extravaganza is on Tuesday, October 16 from 5-9pm and I have a Yelp conflict.

Once again this Saratoga Springs farm is brining in internationally acclaimed chefs and world-class bartenders to cook and delight those who are lucky enough to score a ticket. This year the cooking talent includes Oswaldo Oliva, Justin Carlisle, Joel Viehland, and Diego Moya. Drinks will be served by Dave Arnold, Don Lee, LJ Sconzo, and Aidan Bowie.

My memories of last year’s Fire Feast are still indelibly etched in my mind. I’m still enchanted by one of the cocktails. And while tickets may be expensive, the value of the event is extraordinary. Plus the money goes to help support this vital community organization.

This year Pitney Meadows Community Farm is adding a Family Day to the Fire Feast festivities on Saturday, October 13 from 12-4pm. It makes good sense to get as much use out of the live fire pits they build for the give event as possible. It’s a good bit less expensive, and I’m hopeful that I might be able to convince at least one of the kids to come with me for grilled foods and fun.

All the details, including how to get tickets, can be found here.

Of course there are other farm focused events coming up. Field Notes does its thing at Lansing Farm every Saturday night and Sunday morning. Indian Ladder Farms always has a ton of events, especially at their cidery and brewery. 9 Miles East has pop up dinners at Saratoga Apple on Friday and Saturday nights.

This is far from a comprehensive list. Tell me, what else am I missing?

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