4 Lancaster St.
Cherry Valley, NY
Usually I promise brief missives, but today I promise a little more. This letter concerns first, the food we cook, then, the sources of our food. We'd like to remind you that many of our menu items come from the inspired efforts of some amazing local farmers and food artisans who make most mortals lives seem breezy and easy.
The Rose and Kettle opens this weekend (tomorrow at 5 in fact) with a whole host of great foods, many from our friends at local farms in the region and a few fished from far-flung and chilly waters. On the chilly waters front, we are continuing to serve wild Barramundi, a flakey thin filet from New Zealand that we coat in ground almonds and flour and cook tempura-style and serve with balsamic aioli and potato wedges. More to the local, we have Painted Goat Farm warm goat cheese tarts with a mission fig glaze. We are also making garlicky meat dumplings with ground pork, lamb and beef from Nectar Hills Farm and Vancalcar Acres. I am also cooking a jambalaya style stew of organic rice, tomatoes and local Gaia's Breath Farm chicken sausages with wild Gulf of Mexico shrimp. We will have a lamb risotto with leeks, parmesan and pinenuts, and braised lamb from Vancalcar Acres Farm. Finally, this weekend we are serving thinly-sliced eggplant marinated in mint and red wine vinegar and served with eggplant ravioli, marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese.
I'd like to take a minute to tell you a little about our farm partners who work very hard to bring us the delicious foods that we have the pleasure of feeding you. While corporate farming structures have steadily marched our culture further and further away from it's own inherited and diverse food principles, and left us and our kids almost blind and lacking in real pallet and plate diversity, a few courageous people have chosen to turn around and look over their shoulder, grab the brakes and try to steer this vessel back back back, closer to the world we'd like to live in. Farming is very hard work, and to choose to return to the land and work with plants and animals in a pre-industrial fashion is an incredible undertaking that requires commitment to something that is largely unsupported by the norms of America today. Some people would almost say it's crazy. But enough folks have been doing it and I meet new ones every year who are striking out with all sorts of schemes, varying goals and approaches, and interesting life stories to tell.
We know that while we didn't invent the notion of 'LOCAL' as either a healthier whole approach to eating and living, or as means of nurturing the regional economy, but we are excited to report that our experiment in it has been so successful and that our roster of friends who we buy from has grown every year and deepened, as young and energetic farmers are cropping up every year. Here are 3 short farm bios for you:
Recently we met the people at Painted Goat farm, Ilyssa Berg and Javier Flores. Their aged goat cheese buttons and creamy chevre are phenomenally light and tangy and worldly tasting, especially for a farm hardly a year old. Then I learned that they were busy excavating caves deep under ground and pouring concrete down there and crafting a dumb waiter system for accessing their products and I thought "Damn, that's for reals." (yes, "For Reals." That's what I thought.)
more info on these folks can be found here: http://www.nyfarmcheese.org/cheesemakers.asp?id=37
Last Spring we began buying meat and vegetables from Gaia's Breath Farm. While Painted Goat does the "one thing, and with incredible focus" approach, Gaia's Breath approaches their property like a little panoramic micro-world, and make a go very successfully at being everything for everybody. That's why our menu can feature beets and heirloom tomatoes, boudin blanc sausage, roast duck or even suckling pig, and all from one farm. These folks are tireless workers and Chrissy, who has a background in culinary art, makes sausages so delicious that I buy them whenever they are available.
more on Gaia's Breath Farm here: www.gaiasbreathfarm.com
Finally, it's been a few years since Dave and Sonia (Dutton and Sola) moved from New York City and brought their eclectic skills to Cherry Valley. They've opened The Nectar Hills farm Store on Main Street, they've performed at local music events (MORE ON THIS IN MINUTE) and they've fed this town with copious bushels of delicious potatoes, wild edible flowers, and lots and lots of some of the best pork and lamb and beef we've ever tasted. Their Highlander Beef is a popular and recurring component to many Rose and Kettle risottos, they introduced me to my first skin-on spare ribs and shoulder roasts, and they play some wickid (that's right, WICKID-spell check it in your Street Dictionary) psychadelic acoustic music. More on them here:
Dave and Sonia will be joining us this Sunday at 8 PM for some great free live music. We promise surprise guests artists, open tunings, slide work outs and wild fret gymnastics. YEAH!!! Come on out and celebrate local food, local farms and local music.
Take Care, and thanks for reading.