Luscious and local
Uniting a passion for great food with love of the land
By SANDY LONG
UPPER DELAWARE RIVER REGION The benefits are many and the logic is simple: supporting local food initiatives helps to save land, farms and farming, reduce our carbon footprint, preserve ecosystems and provide the freshest, most nutritious food possible with the least expenditure of resources.
Extras include getting to know the often fascinating folks who produce and prepare that food, as well as reaping the bounty ignited by their passion for sustainable and soul-satisfying food sources.
Its always been our mission to serve foods that help preserve small farms and to educate our customers and staff about what that means, said Grant Genzlinger of the Settlers Inn, Hawley, PA.
Genzlinger grows a variety of herbs and edible flowers in the inns gardens for use in the restaurant. The lifelong gardener is a member of the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture, and most of his producers and farmers belong to that organization or the Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York.
Menus at the Inn feature specialties obtained from regional producers. Smoked trout, for example, is harvested from pristine Pike County waterways in Blooming Grove, PA, while much of the inns produce, cheeses and meats come from regional farms like Gordons, Gorzynskis, Forks and Anthill.
As president of the board of directors of the Delaware Highlands Conservancy, Genzlinger sees another important perspective to buying local. Our regional landscape cant be preserved if we dont support local agriculture, he said. Small farms do a tremendous job of helping to preserve the rural landscape.
Chef and owner of Restaurant 15 Main in Narrowsburg, NY, Peter Schott returned to the area to renovate a restaurant in the locale in which he grew up. Schott showcases foods crafted from local ingredients like ramps and wild mushrooms in his prize-winning creations to provide a gratifying dining experience reminiscent of the region. Schott admits that sourcing local ingredients is challenging, but adds, Once you see, smell and taste the freshness, how much better can you get?
More than ever, locally produced cheeses, breads, eggs, fruits and vegetables are available at regional eateries and retail outlets like Roasters Coffee Shop and Main Street Café in Narrowsburg; Pecks Markets in Sullivan County, NY, Natures Grace in Honesdale, PA and Catskill Farm Market in Liberty, NY. Some of the most popular products come from producers such as Calkins Creamery, Tonjes Farm, Fallsdale Farm and Beach Lake Breads.
Will Foster of Catskill Farm Market said he and Dan Duttinger opened their business with the intent to harvest locally available resources and make them more accessible. The market works with area farmers for its supply of meats, honey, maple syrup, fudge and jams, and uses local ingredients in its prepared foods. Goods come from a variety of providers like Flour Power, Bake You Happy, Snowdance Farm, Hilly Acres and Apple Pond Farm.
A locally sustainable economy is important to Sullivan County, said Foster. In terms of our carbon footprint, local farmers can get food to the table with much less carbon in the equation.
Jill Padua, owner of Jills Kitchen, a catering business based in Narrowsburg, makes it a point to incorporate locally derived ingredients in her menus, and offers options such as cheese trays featuring locally produced cheeses. Forging relationships with other local food providers is a win-win situation that helps to strengthen our regional economy and sustain our efforts to live our principles, said Padua.
Farmers markets and farmstands are yet another regional resource for local goods. Since produce is typically harvested the same day its available at the markets, local produce typically retains more of its nutritional value.
Although seasonally based, these markets have proliferated in the region, and feature not only the freshest produce, meats, cheeses and baked goods, but also a variety of local specialty items like handmade soaps and artisan crafts.
Visit delawarehighlands.org for information on the Delaware Highlands Conservancys Shop Local, Save Land initiatives. See scva.net for information on the Made in the Sullivan County Catskills program, and purecatskills.com to download the 2008 Farm Fresh Guide featuring Catskill farms, retailers, restaurants and farmers markets.