Friday, January 27, 2012

a weekend on a cold farm

cautiously, I allowed myself to feel good at times. I found moments of
peace in cheap rooms just staring at the knobs of some
dresser or listening to the rain in the dark the less i needed the better i felt.
 -Charles Bukowski, Let it Engulf You

Sometimes, I need to get in touch with nature, escape the bounds of the city and feel the raw, winter wind rip across my cheeks and through my knee socks while I mingle with livestock and snowflakes.

Minus the merciless cold, it's nice to get out of the five boroughs once in awhile. Especially if it means a trip to a wonderful sustainable farm just north of the city that also happens to house a prolific farm-to-table (literally!) restaurant: Blue Hill. The farm tour at Stone Barns might have thrown me for a frigid loop but it might have been the most fun I've had while numb--the farm is an incubator for young regional farmers looking to learn skills to start their own ventures and also houses heritage breeds of sheeps, pigs and chicken. Using greenhouse technology, the farm turns out amazing produce year-round. During our four-hour incredulous dinner at Blue Hill later that night I had a taste of some of it...

Beets so many ways! Sushi! Chips! In champagne! On a veggie "fence!" The best (beet)burger ever! 
Sweet potato donuts!
The crustiest Balthazar bread
Gorgeous veggie carpaccio!
2 dessert courses!
A bottle of Pinot Noir from the Santa Cruz mountains!

I'll dream of this meal for years to come. The unmatched service and and thoughtful accommodation throughout the custom "vegan" eight courses--which felt more like 20--- are hard to find. The quality of the produce was impeccable and it came without an organic label, something to think about for hard-nosed shoppers. Our farm guide chalked up the lack of an organic certification to the unjustifiable administrative cost for the small farm. Definite food for thought!