Field & Fork Network

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A delectable evening at Burchfield-Penney Art Center

In Uncategorized on April 20, 2012 at 5:29 pm

edible Buffalo intern Katie Padowski mans the table.


Burchfield-Penney Art Center at Buffalo State College was home to a variety of treats for the senses last Friday evening. Part of the M&T Bank Second Friday series, a “live exhibition of food culture” was held conjunction with the gallery exhibition Edible Complex. Nearly twenty farms, vineyards and nonprofits attended to educate, sample and sell products.

Participants included First Light Farm and Creamery, White Cow Dairy, Arrowhead Spring Vineyards, Blackman Homestead Farm, edible Buffalo, Farmers and Artisans, Field & Fork Network, Garden of Stewardship, Go Veggies, Hill-n-Hollow, Lexington Cooperative, Massachusetts Avenue Project, Nickel City Chef, Oles Family Farm, Pelion Community Garden at City Honors School, Singer Farm Naturals, Singer Farms, Stand Fast Farm, Western New York Book Arts Center, and Winery at Marjim Manor.

After visiting with local businesses and chowing down on delicious samples, guests took in the Edible Complex exhibition, which, according to the Burchfield-Penney’s website, urged visitors to “examine our desire to consume and its simultaneous consequences on the family unit and the culture at large.” Also offered was a screening of Locally Grown: The Lexington Co-Op Story, as well as several lectures and discussions from participating businesses. The night was capped off by the final performance of the season for A Musical Feast, who performed a variety of classical and modern tunes.

Everyone from Edible Buffalo had a great time at the event meeting members of the community and talking about the magazine. If we saw you there, we hope you enjoyed the “Eat Drink Think Local” bumper stickers and pins!

Hogs & Cherries

In Uncategorized on April 17, 2012 at 4:13 pm

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by Lisa Tucker

Spring is proving itself once again as being a challenge for our local growers. Two weeks of unseasonably warm temperatures followed by a cold snap, have put tree fruit and grape vines in serious jeopardy. Apricots, the first of the tree fruit to blossom and some say the most vulnerable, were immediately affected. Singer Farms has lost about 50% of their apricot crop. I’ve heard from some of the grape growers that the first buds and blossoms have endured damage, which will adversely affect future harvest. You will recall last year’s spring season was hampered by inordinate amounts of rain that prevented growers from getting seeds in the ground at the right time which ultimately shrunk yields and prevented certain crops altogether.

As we demand more and more to know where our food comes from and how it is grown, we gain a greater appreciation for the challenges our local farmers face with regard to weather and forces outside of their control. As we connect our eating habits with eating ‘in season’, we value getting that sweet, fresh strawberry that much more because we know what it takes to grow the delicious coveted fruit.

It is important, especially in these early days of spring, to pay attention to mother nature because she largely determines the course for farmers for the rest of the year. Cherries, another highly coveted locally grown fruit, are also at risk as the topsy-turvy weather plays its tricks. In speaking with Tom Szulist at Singer Farm Naturals, I learned that temperatures are able to drop as low as 27 degrees before the cherry buds will be damaged. They are anticipating cherries to blossom about a month early this year (some time in mid to late April), which will make them even more vulnerable to extreme changes in weather as fruit develops. So far so good.

Last year, Field & Fork Network (an organization I co-founded back in 2008), started putting on Seasonal Suppers, authentic farm-to-table dinners to marry the extraordinary foods being grown here with the exceptional culinary talents of some of our region’s best local chefs. The objective was to educate our guests on the diversity of our local agriculture and to gain a greater appreciation for what we have available here in our own backyard. By coming to the farms, meeting the growers, and tasting the food, guests were getting the complete food experience, from farm to plate.

With the success of last year’s Seasonal Suppers, Field & Fork Network just announced 3 dinners for the 2012 harvest season. The first will be a Hogs & Cherries cookout at Singer Farm Naturals during cherry u-pick season. This family-oriented event will be a pig roast featuring some of the specialty crops of Singer Farm Naturals including cherries and garlic! This is a non-ticketed event and guests will be served on a first-come-first-serve basis. We hope you will join us as we celebrate the cherry harvest. The tentative date for the cookout is July 7, 2012. This date is subject to change due to Mother Nature’s unknown path this spring. We encourage folks to check our website, for the most up-to-date information. And we look forward to seeing you during the harvest season!

Lisa Tucker is the publisher of Edible Buffalo magazine and the co-founder of Field & Fork Network.

Field & Fork Network Kicks Off Seasonal Suppers Dining Series with a Summer Dinner at Root Down Farm

In Uncategorized on July 28, 2011 at 6:16 am

Field & Fork Network kicked off their Seasonal Suppers dining series this past Saturday, July 23, 2011 at Root Down Farm in East Amherst, NY. This unique dining series is meant to encourage guests to explore and savor the bounty of the season all at various farms across Western New York. All proceeds from the dinners support Field & Fork Network. The inaugural dinner featured ingredients found fresh in the summer prepared by Chef Patrick Rhodes from Nektar Restaurant in Buffalo, all paired with wines from Arrowhead Spring Vineyards in Lockport!

Ken Spoth Farm Market and Farmer's Daughter Gift & Antique Shop

With plates in hand, guests arrived at Ken Spoth Farm Market and Farmer’s Daughter Gift & Antique Shop where they enjoyed a cocktail reception featuring braised local lamb (from Painted Meadows Farm) flat bread with charred scallions and yogurt, various local cheeses from Yancey’s Fancy and fresh local berries paired Arrowhead Spring Vineyards 2008 Meritage Reserve. This wine is a hearty blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot and pairs beautifully with lamb and other game meats. Guests were also provided a field tour of Root Down Farm from proprietors, Erin Grimley and Steve Blalock. Root Down Farm is a CSA farm (Community Supported Agriculture) in its first year of production. With over 50 shares, they have an extensive waiting list of folks who are eager to join next year.

Guests seated for dinner

At the conclusion of the cocktail reception, guests were escorted to the tented dining area where the first course was soon served. A distinctive take on a good ‘ole fashioned Buffalo chicken wing, Chef Rhodes wowed guests with Buffalo Style Duck. This deconstruction of the trademark wing consisted of duck confit with celery and carrots, Frank’s Red Hot Sauce with blue cheese slaw atop a lettuce leaf. This was paired with Arrowhead Spring’s 2009 Semi-dry Reisling, a fruity luscious wine with a balanced touch of sweetness.

The salad course featured honey roasted beets and shaved heirloom carrots with crumbled goat cheese and mint atop frisee lettuce. This was paired with a 2009 Arrowhead White Sauvignon Blanc which displays intense tangy lime and gooseberry flavor on the palate and is a perfect match for any summer salad featuring goat cheese.

Fresh Blueberry Granita made from berries picked at Oles Family Farm in Alden, NY

Next came the Intermezzo which was a delightful bite size portion of fresh blueberry granita and prepared the guests’ palates for the main course, Chard Wrapped Rabbit Loin.

The Main Course: Bacon stuffed Rabbit loin wrapped in braised chard

Chef Rhodes prepared fresh, tender rabbit loin from Painted Meadow Farm by stuffing the loin with bacon, then wrapping it in braised chard and then cooking it in an immersion circulator, sous vide style. The perfectly selected accompaniments included fresh summer succotash and herbed fingerling potatoes. Paired flawlessly with Arrowhead Spring’s 2009 Pinot Noir Niagara Escarpment vintage. This 100% Pinot Noir from the Demaison vineyard was aged for 1 year in French oak and has a beautiful nose of raspberry, cranberry, and the scent of fall leaves on a hike in the woods!

Chef Patrick Rhodes from Nektar in Buffalo

Last but certainly not least was the dessert course. Chef Rhodes wowed guests once again with his deconstruction of the campfire favorite, S’mores! A perfectly plated homemade marshmallow, alongside a scoop of oak infused vanilla ice cream with crumbled homemade graham cracker and a drizzle of chocolate fudge sauce. This course was completed with a glass of Arrowhead Spring’s 2009 Vidal Late Harvest ice wine.

In addition to Painted Meadow Farm and Yancey’s Fancy, guests enjoyed ingredients provided by Root Down Farm, Oles Family Farm & Promised Land CSA and bread donated by Farmers & Artisans.

The next Seasonal Supper will be Early Fall is on September 24, 2011 at Green Heron Growers in Panama, NY in Chautauqua County.

Pig Roast…A Journey In Honor of Pork

In Uncategorized on June 28, 2011 at 1:16 pm

The Barn at the Gallo Homestead. Photo by Bonnie Lawrence

Last summer I was reading the NY Times piece, “Have Pig, Will Dig”. The article chronicled the journey of four friends who wanted to roast a pig in the ground, ala Hawaiian style. Their first attempt to roast the pig in the ground in someone’s back yard in Brooklyn yielded only a call from the fire department. Apparently this type of endeavor is not easily done in the confines of city living so they decided to take their idea upstate to a farm where they had the room to dig a proper pit and roast the pig for the right amount of time.  I have to admit I became enthralled with the idea, or rather the process, of roasting a pig in this way.

I shared the article and photo essay with friends, family, and the board of directors of Field & Fork Network (which I am the President of). I talked about the idea a lot with hopes someone, anyone!, would share my curiosity and enthusiasm for roasting a pig in the ground. Alas, I found some fellow enthusiasts who wanted to embark on this roasting journey with me. My good friend and fellow Field & Fork Network board member, Chef Bill Metzgar was the first to get on board. Another good friend, Chef John French soon joined us. We decided the roast would be a great way to kick off the Seasonal Suppers dining series Field & Fork Network would be doing as fundraisers for the organization.

After much discussion, it was decided we would need the following: a pig, a location to roast, a way to dig the hole, rocks to line the hole/pit, fire wood for the fire in the pit, and banana leaves, burlap, and chicken wire to wrap the pig. And most of all, we needed a lot of faith the pig would cook properly while buried two feet underground for roughly 12-15 hours.  As we started to accumulate the things needed to make this all happen, we began to hear a variety of stories from folks who knew someone who had roasted a pig in the ground. Some were great stories of how exciting it was to see the pig come out all crispy and delicious. Other stories talked about how the fire went out and the pig came out raw. While I embraced the risk involved (and I am not a chef), my two chef friends did not. They had growing concerns about the pig not roasting as planned. And as the weather continued to not cooperate all through the month of May, there were also concerns about the ground being too wet to roast in at all. Yes, my dreams of Have Pig, Will Dig were soon fading.

T-Meadow Farm, Lockport, NY

Then the idea of roasting the pig in a roasting box came up. The easiest part of this whole process was acquiring the pig. Rich Tilyou of T-Meadow farm is one of a handful of heritage breed hog farmers in WNY. I’ve known Rich since the first Field & Fork Network Farmer-Chef Conference back in February 2009 which he attended at the urging of Jen Small of Flying Pigs Farm in the Hudson Valley. Jen was conducting one of the workshops that year and had known Rich for some time as she has purchased breeding stock from him. Many local chefs and foodies have come to appreciate Rich’s pork products as being some of the best the region has to offer. Rich recently purchased a La Caja China roasting box and suggested this would be a good route to take with roasting our pig. This option offered limited risk and enough spectacle for our guests. Bill and John were sold.

Bill and John Rotating the Pig in the La Caja China roasting box

While I admit I was somewhat disappointed, I knew this was the right option as RSVP’s kept coming in and the guest list kept growing. The thought of having the pig come out of the ground raw and not being able to feed the 50+ people attending was daunting to say the least.

So the chefs got their menu planned and prepped with assistance from Sean Purdy, a chef at the Lexington Co-op. They decided, in addition to the whole 70lb. pig, they would also roast two pork butts, one smothered in a hickory cherry butt BBQ sauce and the other done in a coffee rub crusted with Bill’s basic BBQ sauce. These would be cooked on the grill. The main event was soaked over night in a 3-2-1 brine of salt, brown sugar, and maple syrup before heading into the roasting box the next day.

Plate of Delicious Yumminess! photo by Bonnie Lawrence

The complements to the meal included; 3 different kinds of corn bread which guests could smother with a honey lime butter, roasted vegetable terrines, potato salad, and fruit salad. To start, guests were fed deep-fried Caesar salad wraps dipped in Caesar dressing. While most parties are held in honor of an individual(s), this one was definitely in honor of pork.

The Finished Roast!

Our hats go off to Rich Tilyou the farmer who provided the pork, Bill Metzgar & John French the chefs who put much time & energy into creating a fabulously delicious meal, and to my parents, Karen & Jim Gallo who hosted the event and topped the day with an amazing fireworks show!

Here is a photostream chronicling the day, compliments of Caesandra Sewell!

~posted by Lisa Tucker