Proud Produce and our Hudson Valley Restaurants
by Wally Nichols
The notion of farm-to-table eating is alive and thriving in the Hudson Valley. The rewards, beyond a tiny carbon toe print, are reasonable pricing and, of course, an exceptional dining experience. It’s actually not surprising that the Hudson Valley’s summer and fall harvests dovetail so nicely with a slate of top-end area restaurants and ebullient diners. It’s pretty much the Perfect Storm for cooking and eating around here.
Seasonal tourists and fulltime residents still weave their cars around tractors dragging enormous hauls of sweet corn and tomatoes from their fields to the myriad farm stands and farmers’ markets that line the Ellenville to Kingston corridor.
Elbow to elbow, we all find ourselves picking through burlap-lined plywood bins for the choicest fresh produce that will have made its way, in just hours, from the fields to our kitchen or restaurant tables with minimal handling and delay.
Never mind that this area is stunning even in the dead of winter. Dramatic slabs of Shawangunk conglomerate pierce the heavens, giving us breathtaking vistas, hiking, biking, swimming, and leaf peeping, to name just a few of the things that attract us all to the positive vortex of this area. Plenty of restaurant owners and chefs, some of whom went to the famed and nearby Culinary Institute, decide that the area is too beautiful and the food too good to leave and so start their businesses in the region. Some others start elsewhere and then realize this is where they might meet with the highest success and quality of life.
However it happens, excellent chefs are here and they realize the symbiosis of being so very close to fertile flats and the stingingly fresh produce they provide. From crisp organic Gala apples to artisan, boutique, small batch, back yard cheeses, to fawning Swiss chard, to hormone free, free-range chicken, to sweet corn, to grass-fed, antibiotic-free beef—if your career is about preparing and presenting the most sensational tasting ingredients, it helps to start off with them right in your backyard.
That’s great news for our many farms, our many restaurants, and our many eaters!
We’ve asked some area chefs who embrace the farm-to-table concept to share a stitch of their philosophy and details of a favorite dish that celebrates the area’s seasonal ingredients. HERE’S WHAT WE FOUND:
Route 213, High Falls 845-687-7298 northernspycafe.com
THE DISH: Fresh wild local mushroom ravioli made from local wild black trumpet mushrooms and white button mushrooms and pesto picked from the garden for a cream sauce.
THE SPY’S SECRET: “We try to buy as much locally as is available to us. Our food is ultra locally sourced from Davenport’s, Gill’s, and Kelder’s, and coordinated by Rondout Valley Grower’s Association farm/grower rep Jen Redmond.” –George Nagle
2356 Route 44/55, Gardiner 845-255-4949 miogardiner.com
THE DISH: Harvest Platter – Colorful squash blossoms, Brookside Farm saffron-pickled eggs, balsamic and mint marinated zucchini with raspberry stuffed gorgonzola.
THE MOTTO: “Taste the simplicity of seasonal freshness every day you can in the Hudson Valley.” –Chef Michael Bernardo
47 N. Front Street, Kingston 845-339-2333 boitsons.com
THE DISH: Espresso-rubbed petite tenderloin of beef (from Hudson Valley Cattle). Mashed potatoes and Swiss chard from RSK Farm with bearnaise sauce.
LOCAL PHILOSOPHY: “Keep it close: New York state beers, local farmers for produce, Hudson Valley cattle for beef.” –Maria Philippis
TUTHILL HOUSE AT THE MILL
20 Gristmill Lane, Gardiner 845-255-4151 tuthillhouse.com
THE DISH: Wallkill Green Bean and Corn salad
THE INSPIRATION: Seasonally inspired, homemade menu with locally sourced ingredients. Choices from Acorn Hill Farmstead goat cheeses, Gardiner Grass-fed Beef, Tuthilltown Spirits, Whitecliff Vineyard wines, and a variety of local produce.
3767 Route 9G, Rhinebeck 845-876-4480 gendroncatering.com
THE DISH: Miglorelli radishes with local Kieseki farm beef topped with a
coddled egg and then drizzled with organic olive oil and a Port wine demi.
THE DECLARATION OF FRESHDOM: “We the people support what’s going on right here, right now: We keep local farmers and chefs inspired to provide the best that this community will and can support. Harumph!!” –Chef Daniel Gendron
THE PHOENIX at the Emerson Resort,
5340 Route 28, Mount Tremper 845.688.2828 emersonresort.com
THE DISH: Locally Smoked Trout Salad, with Emerson-grown baby lettuces, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes and julienne carrots. Topped with edible organic flowers.
THE PASSION: We are devoted to biodynamic foods, community supported farms, and sheer love for cooking. Guests savor the tastes of organic fruits and vegetables harvested locally and from Chef Robair’s heirloom garden at the Emerson. –Chef Curt Robair
46 Main Street, New Paltz 845-255-1426 atavolany.com
THE DISH: House-made goat cheese tortelli – filled with local goat cheese then tossed with local blueberries, corn, and mushrooms. The ricotta gnocchi is a light and airy pillow of cheese. It’s tossed with local peaches and eggplant and then drizzled with Saba (a tangy and sweet glaze).
THE WAY: “The Slow Food Movement (started in Italy in the ‘80s) celebrates locally sourced eating and drinking as a way of life. So do we!” –Chef Bonnie Snow
948 Route 28, Kingston 845-340-9800 bluemountainbistro.com
THE DISH: Fresh trout with Muffuletta olive salad made with “Gardiniera” from their favorite local farm, Gill’s Farm in Hurley. They make their own version of Gardiniera with the beautiful tri-color (purple, green, and white) cauliflower from Gill’s Farm.
THE WORD: “We attempt to integrate as many farm-fresh products in our store as possible, both in the food we prepare and in the products we sell.”–Chef Jonathan Sheridan
6426 Montgomery Street, Rhinebeck 845-876-3330 terrapinrestaurant.com
THE DISH: Hudson Valley Farmer’s Salad – fresh local veggies with Chatham Sheepherding Company ricotta and dijon vinaigrette. Also present in the mix: heirloom tomatoes, snap peas, pickled radishes, sweet corn, celery leaves, fingerling potatoes, and baby carrots, with most of the veggies coming from either Migliorelli Farm or Gill’s Farm. This changes seasonally.
THE MISSION: “Strive to consistently provide diners with the freshest, highest quality food—celebrating the robust local bounty.” –Chef Josh Kroner
HENRY’S AT BUTTERMILK FALLS
220 North Road, Milton 845-795-1500 henrysatbuttermilk.com
THE DISH: Hudson Valley Cattle Company grass-fed strip steak with wild mushroom ragout, caramelized onion mashed potatoes, baby brussels sprouts, and a horseradish demi-glace sauce.
THE BELIEF: “Many organic fruits, vegetables, and herbs are grown on-site at our own Millstone Farm. Cheese, meats, and poultry come from nearby farms such as Coach Farm, Hudson Valley Cattle Company, Hepworth Farms, and Labelle Farms. At Henry’s local isn’t a trend, it’s a mantra.” –Chef Paul Kelly