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Farm Food

June 20, 2019

When I first arrived in the Capital Region, I learned that we were surrounded by farms, and yet precious few of them were represented on local menus. These days, you can read a lot about restaurants who support the idea of using local produce when available, but in many ways that’s a cop-out. And then there’s the other story of restaurants that cite specific farms on their menus, but haven’t purchased anything from that farm in a long long time.

However, it’s encouraging to see the growth of food being prepared and sold directly on the farm. Nine Miles East built its business around seasonally inspired farm-made pizza, but has expanded to weekly dinners at Saratoga Apple. If you haven’t been, you owe it to yourself to go. And Indian Ladder Farms has been slowly and steadily improving and expanding its brewery and dining operations. The beer garden is an amazing place to eat, drink, and relax at foot of the Helderberg escarpment.

But today, I share news from two of my favorites that aren’t even out in the countryside. Forts Ferry Farm and Lansing Farm are right here. Just minutes off the Northway. And if you haven’t been following them closely, you may have missed some exciting news.

You’ve heard me talk about Field Notes at Lansing Farm before. We had an incredible Official Yelp Event there, where Farmer Al picked the best ears of corn that morning for Joan and Kyle to grill. I’ve raved about Joan’s scrapple, which you can get as part of $4 breakfast special on Sunday mornings. And I was lucky enough to score a seat at one of their multi-course sit down Saturday night dinners. Oh, and they came out to Riverside Maple Farms to cook pop-up style dishes, like they make at events around the Capital Region and Saturday mornings at the Troy Farmers Market.

Well, now they have started doing Friday night a la carte dinners.

The Saturday night spreads are fantastic, but they are also long and expensive. Plus you have to be comfortable letting the chefs decide your menu for the evening. Which is to say, they are probably not for everyone. But on Friday night, you can pop in and sit down for whatever grabs your fancy.

Be that a salad, a burger, a vegetarian taco, or a braised chicken thigh. And the menu tops out at $12. There is even farm made dessert like the ancho chile ice cream sandwich. Oh yeah.

This is the food I want. Hopefully, I can swing in on a Friday night before we leave. And those brunches. If you want to peek all their menus, you can find them here.

Forts Ferry Farm is very different, but it’s a magical place. Emma Hearst has saved this farmland and is now growing delicious and rare vegetables, that are delightful to eat. This part of the operation hasn’t changed.

One of the things I have been hearing lately is a desire for better bagels, now that the beloved Psychedelicatessen in Troy has closed. Well, take a look at these. Yep, those are made by Matthew D’Ambrosio the Culinary Director at Forts Ferry Farm, and available Sunday only.  There are also some incredible looking loaves of bread too.

So mark your calendar for Sunday. Unfortunately, I’ll be in Pennsylvania. But hopefully some of you can try these and report back. If they taste even half as good as they look, they will be a strong contender for the best bagels in the Capital Region.

For the sake of full disclosure, I haven’t had any of these yet. This post is as much a reminder to me to get over to Forts Ferry Farm on a Thursday or Friday from noon to six, or over the weekend from 10a-4p. And I’m going to subscribe to the newsletter in the hopes of trying to catch the next time donuts make the menu. Because farm-made and filled yeast-raised donuts, sound like a dream come true.

These healthy and thriving small farms are just another indication that the Capital Region food scene is on the right path. It’s such a killer to have to leave when things are starting to get really really good. Just make sure to get out there and support these incredible producers, and even more importantly, make sure to tell your friends.

Or, better yet, bring some friends with you the next time you head out to one of these suburban farms.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. chrisck permalink
    June 20, 2019 12:42 pm

    The bread at Forts Ferry farm stand is now the best in the area. I’ve had the baguette, a whole grain loaf, and some remarkable chewy rolls – one with cheese, one generously studded with black olives. The crust and chewy crumb on all these yeast breads were superb (best eaten within a day or two of being baked). Also bought an excellent oatmeal cookie that had a great salty/sweet balance. Superior to the average bakery oatmeal cookie.

    Now for the bagels – sorry, no. For me they were not in the same class. I bought a half dozen a few weeks ago and found them spongey. I won’t be buying them again. But other people might like that style. (Also, they get big points for copious seeds, not a bare, stingy sprinkle.)

    So people should try the range of their baked goods and decide what they like. For me it is the breads that are worth the occasional drive to Latham.

  2. chrisck permalink
    June 20, 2019 2:23 pm

    Addendum – this post induced me to run up to Forts Ferry Farm buy bread. It was my good luck they had some foccacia still warm from the oven. Amazing tasting. And beautiful with scattered blue borage flowers across the top. Note: the baker does not shy away from salt as a flavor enhancer to bring out the flavor of other ingredients. (This goes for today’s salty peanut butter cookie and the focaccia.) The focaccia was complex and delicious, crispy and chewy.

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