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U.S. and Canadian chefs are fired up in support of local farms in Hudson Valley

FarmOn! Foundation inspires and encourages young people to pursue careers in agriculture
FarmOn! Foundation inspires and encourages young people to pursue careers in agriculture
Margaret Morgan

On Sunday, August 17, the Northern Chefs Alliance (NCA) collaborated with the FarmOn! Foundation to bring 10 all-star chefs from the U.S. and Canada to the bucolic Hudson Valley in support of creating awareness about the importance of sustainable farming and eating local. The team of chefs was hosted by Fish and Game restaurant co-owners Patrick Milling-Smith and Chef Zak Pelaccio and Co-chefs Jori Jayne Emde and Kevin Pomplun. All proceeds from the outdoor dinner and silent auction went towards benefiting the FarmOn! Foundation, a 501( c)(3) non-profit organization.

Chef Zak Pellacio and Co-chefs Kevin Pomplun and Jori Jayne Emde cut into a 250 lb. smoked pig
Margaret Morgan

Under a crystal clear blue sky and brilliant sun, guests strolled over hill and dale of Milling-Smith’s 175-acre farm where tents were scattered about for the chefs’ stations and for icy libations to quench the palates of the thirsty. There was spit- roasted chicken fired up by Jamie Bissonnette from Boston’s Coppa and Toro and Lee Cooper from L’Abattoir in Vancouver; Sicilian-styled roasted goat, prepared by Matt Jennings from Boston’s Townsman and Buca chef, Rob Gentile of Toronto; ember and fire- roasted Hudson Valley vegetables fired up by James Beard award-winning chef Sean Brock from Husk in Charleston who teamed up with Derek Dammann from Montreal’s Maison Publique. North Atlantic fish was prepared by April Bloomfield from New York’s Spotted Pig and The Breslin who teamed up with Jeremy Charles from St. John’s Raymonds. Delectable sweets were created by Culinary Institute of America professor, owner of Hudson Chocolates and head chef of Modernist Cuisine, Francisco J. Migoya.

And, the ultimate chef's challenge in outdoor grilling was undertaken by hosts, Chef Zak Pellacio and Co-chefs Jori Jayne Emde and Kevin Pomplun who smoked a 250-pound pig from Climbing Tree Farm in corn brine for 30 hours. The end result in tasting was a savory, succulent pork served with a corn and tomatillo salad and maple/chili sauce.

Libations were luscious and refreshing - all with intriguing names like Magic Carpet Ride featuring No. 3 Gin and Lucky Pierre created by Fish and Game mixologist Kat Dunn. For the sustainers, there was tea and cold-brew coffee provided by No. Six Depot Roastery.

According to the mission of the FarmOn! Foundation, it is dedicated to bringing awareness to food choices and sources, reinvigorating respect for farming; in particular, working with and inspiring young people to choose agricultural careers to create an economic engine connecting rural and urban marketplaces through a strong educational curriculum.

The FarmOn! Foundation has announced the official opening on September 27 of FarmOn! at Empire Farm in Copake, New York. FarmOn! will be a working farm that includes a community center and an apprentice program to teach the business of food to young people on a best practice working farm. The 217-acre farm will be open to the general public as part of the Friends of the Farmer Festival in Copake, NY, an annual event to benefit the FarmOn! Foundation.

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