This fourth-generation, 72-acre farm was once covered in onions, until a hail storm in 1986 wiped out most of the crop. Farmer Alex Paffenroth started realizing "what New Yorkers want," focusing mostly on root crops. Potatoes, onions, beets, sunchokes, radishes, and horseradish. Perhaps the most oooh'd and aaah'd thing he grows, though, is his Marai sweet corn, a Japanese variety that has a whole three sugar genes in each kernel. (That's apparently a lot.)
Bathtime! They rinse in big buckets before getting packed up to head off to the Greenmarket and restaurants.
One of these red vehicles is not like the other... Since the road trip was sponsored by Mercedes-Benz, they provided those sweet 2012 Roadster two-seater convertibles for the ride. Distant cousins of the tractor?
Looking for the plumpest sugar snap peas on the trellis.
Three Little Piggies
They also live on Windfall. Their average day includes such activities as rolling in the mud, eating turnips, wagging curly tails, and oinking. Okay, so that's about all they do.
Rows of arugula and other greens, as well as a fig tree on the right.
Founder Ralph Erenzo smiles in the tasting room with his bottles. The line-up includes their Hudson Vodka, Manhattan Rye Whiskey, New York Corn Whiskey, Hudson Single Malt, Four-Grain Bourbon, and the crowd favorite Baby Bourbon. (Stay tuned for more photos of the distillery and the grain-to-spirit process in a photo slideshow on Serious Drinks soon.)
Tantillo's Farm Ride
Not too far from the Tuthilltown Distillery sits the 130-acre Tantillo family farm in Gardiner, New York. In addition to growing the rye and corn for Tuthilltown's whiskey, they grow many crops that don't necessarily turn into booze, including peaches, plums, pears, strawberries, sweet and sour cherries, apples, peppers, eggplant, beans, and tomatoes. Pick-your-own season starts in late June with cherries (which, unfortunately, weren't a plentiful crop this year) and ends in October with apples and pumpkins. While bumping along in the back for this ride, we could see the Shawangunk mountains (a.k.a., the Gunks) off in the distance.
Millions of Peaches...
We pulled over only once for a quick peach pick. It's still a bit early in the season so they were underripe, on the hard side, but surprisingly sweet.
Inside the Market
Baskets of produce for sale, as well as jarred jams, locally made maple syrup and honey, and a freezer full of pies.
Or you can buy them already baked for instant gratification! Just in case you were confused, this ain't an apple or a blackberry pie. Tantillo likes to embellish the top crusts on their pies. They sell around 850 pies during the Thanksgiving season (!).
Oh, and there was a tray stacked with fresh doughnuts (our doughnut radar is always on). These little sugar-coated tires were made that morning with cider from apples grown on the farm. Biting into one, for a brief second, it felt like autumn. A very brief second.
The one on the upper left, a Nubian goat, wins for best floppy ears.
Here's a La Mancha goat (with its stubby, basically non-existent ears) nuzzling Linda. "I don't know what I'd do without my goats," she told us. (She also has a house full of goat trinkets, quilts, and other knickknacks.)
A trio of chevre logs made on the farm. Lynn rolls them into the log shape herself. Right now she's making about 400 to 500 pounds of cheese a week.
Lynn and Chef Dan
He made her a special salad (you'll see it in the next slide) using her crumbly goat cheese before we left.
Goat Cheese, Strawberry, Lime, Arugula Salad
It was now 7:30 p.m. and we were sitting in the back of ABC Kitchen. (We'd be the ones caked with dirt, sweat, and sunscreen, but thankfully the lighting was soft, glowy, and generous.) Chef Kluger changed into his chef whites and was back at work in the kitchen. Some of the dishes on the ABC menu that we tried included ingredients from our outing that day. Like Lynn's soft, creamy goat cheese on this salad. The sweet, almost-raspberry-sized-small strawberries are from Rick Bishop at Mountain Berry Farm, another one we love but didn't visit that day.
Summer Bean Salad
Yellow and green beans tossed with tomatoes and hazelnut bits in a champagne vinaigrette. Simple and refreshing with some tanginess, and the toasty hazelnuts elevated it to more-than-just-a-salad. It's really hard not to fill up on salads here.