Today’s weather forecast wasn’t very promising for an outdoor brunch – overcast and sticky-humid, maybe even a thunderstorm – but our weather worries dissipated as soon as we arrived at Sheldon Farm in Salem, NY. That relief was partly due to a refreshing cool breeze, but mostly it came from our delight at the fantastic spread of food, prepared by Chef Chris Tanner. We were at an annual Brunch on the Farm, hosted by Slow Food Saratoga, an organization of food lovers, farmers and chefs who are interested in promoting good, clean, fair food. In particular, their aim is to connect eaters with the people who produce and prepare their food.
Chef Tanner, a chef, educator, and charcuterie specialist, made several dishes featuring local pork that he aged and cured himself. In the photo above, you can see cantaloupe with lardo and honeydew with a prosciutto-type ham. We were also treated to his home-made pancetta in a dish of perfectly pillowy gnocchi in a creamy sauce with bits of fresh tomato. To celebrate the first weeks of Sheldon Farm’s sweet corn harvest, we had some delicious fresh corn fritters, sprinkled with powdered sugar and served with maple syrup on the side. I couldn’t get enough of these little cuties, despite the fact that there were also croissants and bread from Mrs. London’s and a succulent duck-confit potato hash.
Notice that omelet? It had squash blossoms and sausage in it, and needless to say, it was also great! But, man oh man, those potatoes deserve a close up:
The great thing about being with people who love food is that no one has any qualms about eating and enjoying great food with gusto, leaving many of us wishing we had more room in our stomachs.
The president of the local Slow Food chapter, Rocco Verrigni, said some words of thanks to the farmers and chefs, and plugged upcoming events, including a dinner at New World Bistro in August and a Labor Day potluck in support of real food in our public schools : the ‘Time For Lunch’ campaign
If you’re interested in supporting Slow Food through membership or a contribution, registration is available online. In any case, the events are open to all, with only a slightly higher price for nonmembers. You can read more about their philosophy online or request the book ‘Slow Food Nation’ from your favorite library or bookstore.
If you just want to enjoy food by the awesome chef who masterminded this brunch, he’s cooking at the SPAC Patrons Club (not just for patrons any more), Wednesday-Saturday, Aug. 5-22.
Sheldon Farms products, and many more extra-special local and imported foods, are available every day from 10-6 , all summer long at their cute little market, and Saturdays at the Saratoga Farmers Market.