Yesterday I blogged about Sunday in Lower Manhattan at the New Amsterdam Farmers’ Market. That’s a journey by foot over paving stone streets in very, very lower Manhattan. No car required. Maybe a cab to take you home with everything you buy — that’s what Brian and I needed.
What if it’s another day? What if you have a car? What can you do? Plenty. Why not go for a journey with family or friends to discover true food: organic, local, and splendidly displayed. Authors Susan Meisel and Nathalie Sann have written Fresh from the Farm: Great Local Foods from New York State. They offer five tours, with each one able to absorb a day as you drive, sample, and learn.
For a day on Long Island, you can tour:
- Farms, food stands and vendors of the South Fork
- Farms, food stands and vendors of the North Fork
- Wineries of Long Island
For a day up north along the Hudson, there are:
- Farms, food stands, and vendors of the Lower Hudson Valley
- Food gems of the Catskills Mountains
Brian and I are New York City based with a weekend house nestled in the Catskills. And we spend our share of time on Long Island. So we know many of the recommendations in this book. But not all. It was great to discover that there are some jewels near us we have yet to visit, like Heichon’s Ice Cream Parlor in Pawling, New York or The Current Company in Staatsburg.
For the vendors we already knew, like Aldo’s coffee in Greenport on Long Island or Fleisher’s meats in Kingston near the Catskills, we can testify that there are the best stores you can find. We are more North Fork than South Fork, so we’re happy to see Briermere Farm get serious notice for its pies. This one farm stand has to bake more pies than any other stand in America. And every single pie tastes like your mother spend ten hours baking it. Or, if you are on the North Fork and want to see produce that looks like it belongs in the Museum of Modern Art, then visit Sang Lee Farms in Peconic. It’s so beautiful you feel guilty eating it. Until that wonderful first bite.
The list of Long Island wineries is extensive and carefully prepared. A long time ago, Long Island wine was not lauded. With time, patience, and science, the Long Island wines are distinctive in flavor because of that climate and truly worthy of your table.
If you know some early New York history, then you know that that Long Island and the Hudson Valley were distinguished for their rich abundance of food. In the Revolutionary War in 1776, when the British invaded Long Island, the soldiers were distracted. It was late fall, still harvest time, and those Brits saw more and better food than they had ever experienced back home.
New York was, and remains, agriculturally rich. I know we think of New York and money and up pop images of Wall Street. But there are other riches there, coming right out of the ground. Fresh from the Farm is your best guide for exploring all the bounty that is still there, just beyond the skyscrapers.