Remember when I mentioned that Fresh Direct facility tour and dinner… and I won a tour of the local farms from which Fresh Direct sources a lot of its local produce? I finally went on that tour, and got to meet Jeff Rottkamp of Fox Hollow Farms. He showed us around and explained a lot of the finer nuances of running a farm, things that would never occur to me – why would they? I don’t know the first thing about running a family farm! – and just amazed us with his knowledge.
Here’s a shot of Jeff picking Sungolds.
You don’t know what Sungolds are? I didn’t know their name until that day, but they are probably the best cherry/small tomatoes I’ve ever eaten in my life. These deliciously sweet tomatoes burst in your mouth with the amazing sweetness of a million suns. I ate these, still warm, fresh from the plant. That’s an experience I will never forget in my entire life.
One of the interesting things that I’d never think about is how this intensely hot weather that we’ve had this summer could affect the crops drastically. Apparently, pumpkins for Halloween (carving and/or just display) need to be started months ahead of time, but because the weather has been so hot and humid, they grew faster than normal and are already huge. So huge, in fact, that some of these will certainly go to waste before they can be bought or somehow used. How sad!
After our first farm, we set off for lunch at Love Lane Kitchen/Cafe, the most adorable little place that I believe uses a lot of local ingredients.
I ordered my standard bottle of root beer. Boylan’s.
I’d brought FeistySis along for the tours, and she ordered the fish tacos, one of the specials of the day. I discovered she apparently has a thing for fish tacos, so anyone have recommendations for fish tacos in Manhattan? It would be a nice gift to take her out for fish tacos in the city, take her away from the kids sometime… ;P
Opened up. Luckily, my sister is totally open to sharing, so she split her tacos with me and I split my dish with her. Though I ate this second, I really enjoyed the meatiness of the white fish, the juiciness as well, and the toppings – a creme (I am not sure if it was sour cream, it didn’t seem like it) and guacamole, and some sliced radishes. T’was very delicious.
I ordered the lobster roll; probably why my sister was more than happy to share with me! 😉
Lots of lobster, a bit of celery, mayo, on a buttered hot dog bun…
Mmm, lobster. Yummy! Pretty good, lots of lobster and hard to eat, per lobster roll norm 😉
Our amazing Fresh Direct hostess, Emma, ordered the shrimp salad sandwich, which I think she enjoyed, though I didn’t get a chance to ask her how she liked it.
Our next stop was Paumonk Vineyards! Beautiful day for our excursion.
Gorgeous farmhouse-like building for tasting.
Lovely touches inside welcome you to the tasting room. We had a lovely, grand ol’ time tasting a bunch of Rieslings and whites, meeting the family behind Paumanok – they are so friendly and knowledgeable and the matriarch was adorable! – FeistySis even wound up purchasing 4 bottles of Riesling. People, that’s huge. I’ve never known her to really drink much wine, so 4 bottles (okay, one was for me! thanks again! :)) is a huge commitment to that wine… (It was really good. On the sweet side, but that’s how I like my wines.)
Our next and last official farm visit was the Satur Farms, which provides many of the high end restaurants in New York with their salad mixes. Speaking with Paulette, who runs the farm with her husband, I was blown away with the passion in her voice and the extreme love with which she spoke of her farm. It was really inspiring talking to both Paulette and Jeff, who each have very different ideas and methods of running their farms, but both are intensely passionate and dedicated to their farms. Simply amazing.
After we left Paulette, each a box of mesclun mix richer, we took a small detour and made an unscheduled stop at Briermere Farms, where our hostess had informed has waited the most delicious pie ever. I paused to snap this photo because I am obsessed with elderflowers… and here are elderberries.
Rows upon rows of freshly baked goodies. Mmm nommy. Interestingly, I later discovered that um, my CSA actually gets its fruit share from Briermere. Hehe.
Fresh peaches and cream pie, or, heaven.
Close up of the pie. FeistySis actually bought the pie, but generously gave me a nice slice. Unfortunately, before I could eat it, I got pretty sick, and so I wound up not eating very much of it (I took bites here and there, but my stomach was never ready for it :(), but what I did manage to eat was amazing. I’m not even sure what kind of “cream” that was – it wasn’t custard or whipped cream, but some cross between the two; airy and light, deliciously, delicately sweet, just… awesome! The peaches on top were sweet to melting, although my mother managed to eat a sour one and then decided she didn’t like the pie (more for me, fine!). Hehe. It was good. I need to go back and get my own entire pie and eat my way through it. (No, I never wonder why I’m fat, I really don’t anymore.)
The whole day was incredibly informative and inspiring, to learn all about the various methods of farming, and to really see first hand just how important it is to support our local farmers and produce. Thank you again to Fresh Direct for hosting me on this trip!!! FeistySis and I had a really great time, and we really learned a lot.
PS I am still dreaming about that pie.
Love Lane Kitchen
240 Love Lane
Mattituck, NY 11952
(check website for how to get there)