Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Farms & Tables

Making the connection between local farms and local restaurants



Liz Taggart and her team tend to the fields at Amba Farms, where plants like this wasabi arugula are grown specifically for Leslie Lampert's kitchen at Café of Love.

Photos by Rana Faure

“Farm-to-table” once described a nascent, noble movement that championed small-scale farms and promoted hand-to-hand commerce. In recent years, the phrase has been bandied about by less-than-honest players. We all know a restaurant that calls itself  “farm-to-table” but takes delivery of Ecuadoran asparagus and Chilean strawberries at the back door.      

We asked a half-dozen conscientious farmers and chefs working within a tight radius of Bedford to tell us what “farm-to-table” meant to them—and weren’t surprised that most wanted to distance themselves from a label that had lost its luster.

The consensus was this: food should follow a sure, straight line from field to restaurant, traveling the least distance possible in the shortest amount of time. And a model emerged: the farmer dazzles the chef with the quality and freshness of what she brings to his kitchen, and the chef adjusts his menu to what is truly in season, finding new and wonderful ways to honor the farmer by showcasing her “babies.” 

Close collaboration between farmers and chefs has given rise to a sort of “bespoke” growing season, with farmers tailoring their crops—baby hakurei turnips, valentine radishes, even snapdragons—to fit the needs and whims of individual chefs. The beneficiaries of all this back-and-forthing are not only farmers and chefs, but also the lands they till, and the communities they nourish.

    

from THE FARM 

Amba Farms, Bedford Hills

Liz Taggart’s Amba Farms sprawls across four bucolic acres on Wood Road.      Her orchard in May was a picture-postcard of blossoms: apple, cherry, peach, plum, apricot, pear, and gooseberry—abuzz with bees from her four hives.      Dandelions formed an exuberant yellow carpet on her front lawn. “I don’t weed them,” she says without apology. “They have long tap roots that keep the soil from getting compacted.” For Taggart, sound soil is both a science and an art form; the rich, black dirt in her hoop house—where delectable little greens thrive—looks like crumbled Oreo cookies. In a new thrust this year, she’s sown 48 varieties of edible flowers, among them carnations, hollyhocks, calendulas, and bachelor buttons. At Café of Love, they’ll brighten salads, perfume cocktails, and, when candied, they’ll adorn desserts. “I’m not immune to their beauty,” says Taggart, “but the thing I love most are their healing properties.” (ambafarms.com)

to THE TABLE 

Café of Love, Mt. Kisco

Leslie Lampert, the owner of Café of Love, enjoys a tight-knit relationship with her favorite farmer, Liz Taggart—they are in many ways kindred spirits, benefactresses who in business never lose sight of the needs of the larger community. This year, they’re blending their skill sets as they promote Amba Farms as a site for special-occasion events. The first of these, “Lunch Among the Lettuces,” saw guests plucking wasabi arugula and baby red Russian kale from the garden before assembling their own salads in the elegant main house. “Everybody loves a farm,” says Lampert, who likes nothing more than to walk among the growing things that will feed and delight her customers. “It gets my blood pressure down.” (cafeofloveny.com)

 

from THE FARM

I and Me Farm, Bedford Hills​

Mimi Edelman is something of a fairy godmother to the farm-to-table tradition in northern Westchester. An early proponent of close-to-the-land practices, she comes to it honestly, the granddaughter of a Scottish farmer who bred dogs and hunt horses, and the daughter of a horticulturalist who was the groundskeeper on the Greenwich estate where she spent her girlhood. “I grew up rather reluctantly on farm-to-table,” says Edelman. “Everyone was eating Chef Boyardee while we were eating fish out of the Sound and currants from my father’s bushes.” Singlehandedly, Edelman cultivates three acres whose yields go almost entirely to Restaurant North. In a show of commitment, North’s partners advance money to her even before she sows a single seed. “We keep it fresh, sort of like a marriage,” says Edelman, who in winter plots the future season with co-owner and chef Eric Gabrynowicz. “He has me growing parsnips—I hadn’t done that before!” 

to THE TABLE

Restaurant North, Armonk

Eric Gabrynowicz says Mimi Edelman bewitches his staff when she sweeps into North with produce deliveries. “They adore her,” he says. “It can be the worst day, and Mimi rolls through the restaurant like sunshine.” Edelman often lingers for “family meal,” a time to share folklore and to educate cooks and waiters about the hard-won harvest, both foraged and farmed, that they’ll present to diners. As for those parsnips—“I’m on a little parsnip kick,” Gabrynowicz says—Edelman has found an Italian beauty called Rapunzel with a willowy silhouette and tapered root. While the parsnips are still tiny, Gabrynowicz will braise and glaze them, leaving them whole with tops attached. “I do butter-and-stock,” he says, using the shorthand known to chefs. “I’m an old-school French guy when it comes to that.” The delicious, glossy result (see recipe here) will no doubt have the fussiest eater willingly eating his vegetables. (restaurantnorth.com)

 

from THE FARM  

Snow Hill Farm, North Salem​

When Laura O’Donohue counted her flock in early May, she had 16 lambs on the ground and more to come. A lamb’s life is good on this 140-acre, certified-organic farm on Keeler Road. The wooly newborns frolic in pastures alongside their mothers, guarded by two Italian sheep dogs named Bella and Romulus. Although most lambs are sold for meat in the first year, some ewe lambs are kept for breeding; the occasional ewe who proves disappointing becomes available as mutton. While “mutton” sounds somewhat Dickensian, O’Donohue has found a ready buyer in chef Forrest Pasternack, who covets the full-flavored, fine-grained meat. Snow Hill Farm—a sprawling enterprise with garden, orchard, apiaries, mobile chicken coops, livestock barns, and sustainably managed woodlands—has thrived under O’Donohue’s ten-year stewardship. Farming, she says, comes with a learning curve: Baby lettuces were once ravaged by deer but now find their way onto the salad plate. “The difference in our success rate,” says Donohue wryly, “is a ten-foot fence.”  (snowhillorganicfarm.com)

to THE TABLE  

Bailey’s Backyard, Ridgefield

Forrest Pasternack came to love farms as a boy, growing up in western Connecticut. “It was the norm to be canning in the summertime, picking our own turkey at Thanksgiving, going out in the field for strawberries when they were perfectly ripe, red through and through,” he says. These early encounters inform Pasternack’s penchant for products with local pedigrees and what he calls “big flavor.” Enter the mutton from Snow Hill Farm. “Their mutton is unbelievable,” he says. “I use it to make a sausage with piquillo peppers, manchego cheese, fennel pollen, tarragon pesto, fresh-baked focaccia, and a reduction of balsamic and maple syrup.” The adventurous Pasternack, who was once chef de cuisine with the BLT Restaurant Group, makes coppa di testa and guanciale from Snow Hill’s Berkshire hogs, which he butchers himself. He also prizes the farm’s green tomatoes, which he fries and serves with chipotle aioli, blue-lavender flower and gooseberry relish; and its Boston bibb lettuces—now off limits to rampaging deer—which he tucks into a salad with a panko-encrusted poached egg, North Country Smokehouse bacon, and New England gorgonzola.  (baileysbackyard.com)


Read other farm-to-table related articles: 
Taste the difference with farm-produced seeds
Organic: Farmers & Chefs of the Hudson Valley

Add your comment:

Connect With Us

             

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

Bedford Shout Outs - September/October

This, that, and the other things

Cliff Hanger

Glenn Close finds comfort on the edge

Show Stoppers

Fashion spotlight on local non-profits

A Renewed Focus

The Bedford Post's two restaurants merge local farms with fine dining

Maine Squeeze

Breathing new life into a mid-century split-level home

Profiles

Your Guides to Leading Local Professionals

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

September 2018

Take a one-hour guided tour of the historic Lyndhurst mansion overlooking the Hudson River. The Gothic Revival mansion has been used as a movie set for six major motion pictures...

Cost: $18

Where:
Lyndhurst
635 S. Broadway
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

Kykuit, a hilltop paradise, is now a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, was home to four generations of the Rockefeller family. Read our review of...

Cost: $25

Where:
Kykuit
381 N. Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

On August 18, 2018, the Bruce Museum will open A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions. This exhibition will trace the history of the Navajo weaving tradition from the earliest...

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Take a one-hour guided tour of the historic Lyndhurst mansion overlooking the Hudson River. The Gothic Revival mansion has been used as a movie set for six major motion pictures...

Cost: $18

Where:
Lyndhurst
635 S. Broadway
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

Kykuit, a hilltop paradise, is now a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, was home to four generations of the Rockefeller family. Read our review of...

Cost: $25

Where:
Kykuit
381 N. Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

Come sing with Westchester’s highly acclaimed community chorus, Hudson Chorale. The group is welcoming new members in all voice parts (SATB) to join them for an exciting concert season that...

Cost: Free to audition

Where:
Pleasantville Presbyterian Church
400 Bedford Rd
Pleasantville, NY  10570
View map »


Sponsor: Hudson Chorale
Telephone: 914-478-0074
Contact Name: Jeanne Wygant
Website »

More information

On August 18, 2018, the Bruce Museum will open A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions. This exhibition will trace the history of the Navajo weaving tradition from the earliest...

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Take a one-hour guided tour of the historic Lyndhurst mansion overlooking the Hudson River. The Gothic Revival mansion has been used as a movie set for six major motion pictures...

Cost: $18

Where:
Lyndhurst
635 S. Broadway
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

Kykuit, a hilltop paradise, is now a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, was home to four generations of the Rockefeller family. Read our review of...

Cost: $25

Where:
Kykuit
381 N. Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

Join us as we tee off to create a brighter future for children in need at the 2018 Save the Children Golf Classic presented by PVH Corp. This year at Saint Andrews Golf Club in Hastings, NY...

Cost: $1,000 per person

Where:
Saint Andrew’s Golf Club
10 Old Jackson Ave
Hastings on Hudson, NY
View map »


Website »

More information

On August 18, 2018, the Bruce Museum will open A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions. This exhibition will trace the history of the Navajo weaving tradition from the earliest...

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Take a one-hour guided tour of the historic Lyndhurst mansion overlooking the Hudson River. The Gothic Revival mansion has been used as a movie set for six major motion pictures...

Cost: $18

Where:
Lyndhurst
635 S. Broadway
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

Kykuit, a hilltop paradise, is now a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, was home to four generations of the Rockefeller family. Read our review of...

Cost: $25

Where:
Kykuit
381 N. Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

Westchester Community is in need of more than 40 foster homes to provide the county’s most vulnerable children with housing in a safe and stable environment. For more information and to...

Cost: Free

Where:
Department of Social Services
112 E Post Road
White Plains, NY  10601
View map »


Sponsor: United Way of Westchester and Putnam
Telephone: 914-997-6700
Contact Name: Toyae Liverpool
Website »

More information

On August 18, 2018, the Bruce Museum will open A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions. This exhibition will trace the history of the Navajo weaving tradition from the earliest...

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Take a one-hour guided tour of the historic Lyndhurst mansion overlooking the Hudson River. The Gothic Revival mansion has been used as a movie set for six major motion pictures...

Cost: $18

Where:
Lyndhurst
635 S. Broadway
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

Kykuit, a hilltop paradise, is now a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, was home to four generations of the Rockefeller family. Read our review of...

Cost: $25

Where:
Kykuit
381 N. Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

Join us at Whitby Castle in Rye, honoring 5 community Rock Stars to benefit United Way. The fun starts at 6:00PM in the Castle Ballroom, spilling onto the Great Terrace under a September Sky. A 3...

Cost: $80.00

Where:
Whitby Castle
330 Boston Post Rd
Rye, NY  10580
View map »


Sponsor: United Way of Westchester and Putnam
Telephone: 914 997 6700 X 720
Contact Name: Drew Coburn
Website »

More information

FREE community event: Join Dawn Kurth, of No Kidding Nutrition (www.nokiddingnutrition.com) for a workshop sure to be of interest for anyone who's dealt with the six o'clock scramble or had one too...

Cost: Free

Where:
Martin House Workspace
69 Westchester Ave.
Pound Ridge, NY  10576
View map »


Sponsor: Martin House Workspace
Telephone: 914-764-3128
Contact Name: Erin Trostle
Website »

More information

On August 18, 2018, the Bruce Museum will open A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions. This exhibition will trace the history of the Navajo weaving tradition from the earliest...

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Presented in conjunction with Gilda's Club Westchester Join us for a very special event with original SNL Writer, Emmy-winner and Executive Producer of Love, Gilda, Alan Zweibel. Guests will...

Cost: $30

Where:
Bedford Playhouse
633 Old Post Rd.
Bedford, NY  10506
View map »


Telephone: 914-234-6704
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Take a one-hour guided tour of the historic Lyndhurst mansion overlooking the Hudson River. The Gothic Revival mansion has been used as a movie set for six major motion pictures...

Cost: $18

Where:
Lyndhurst
635 S. Broadway
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

Kykuit, a hilltop paradise, is now a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, was home to four generations of the Rockefeller family. Read our review of...

Cost: $25

Where:
Kykuit
381 N. Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

Copland House at Merestead opens it's season with a glittering, intimate journey into the life of the charismatic  conductor and composer, and a sold-out smash at its Lincoln  Center...

Cost: $25

Where:
Copland House at Merestead
455 Byram Lake Road
Mount Kisco, NY  10549
View map »


Sponsor: Copland House
Telephone: 914-788-4659
Website »

More information

On August 18, 2018, the Bruce Museum will open A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions. This exhibition will trace the history of the Navajo weaving tradition from the earliest...

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Legendary journalist Lesley Stahl will lead a special one-on-one event with former sex-crimes prosecutor turned BEST – SELLING crime novelist, Linda Fairstein. From the unsolved cases that keep...

Cost: $40

Where:
Bedford Playhouse
633 Old Post Rd.
Bedford, NY  10506
View map »


Telephone: 914-234-6704
Website »

More information

Take a one-hour guided tour of the historic Lyndhurst mansion overlooking the Hudson River. The Gothic Revival mansion has been used as a movie set for six major motion pictures...

Cost: $18

Where:
Lyndhurst
635 S. Broadway
Tarrytown, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

Kykuit, a hilltop paradise, is now a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, was home to four generations of the Rockefeller family. Read our review of...

Cost: $25

Where:
Kykuit
381 N. Broadway
Sleepy Hollow, NY  10591
View map »


Website »

More information

On August 18, 2018, the Bruce Museum will open A Continuous Thread: Navajo Weaving Traditions. This exhibition will trace the history of the Navajo weaving tradition from the earliest...

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

The 58th annual Lewisboro Library Fair is Saturday, September 22 from 10 am to 4 pm at Onatru Farm Town Park (99 Elmwood Road in South Salem). The Fair features huge Book, “Attic Treasures”...

Cost: free

Where:
Onatru Farm Town Park
99 Elmwood Road
South Salem, NY  10590
View map »


Sponsor: Lewisboro Library
Telephone: 914-875-9004
Contact Name: Liz Gabriele
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags