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February 5th, 2013

Baby Radish, Whimpering

We have two young farmers joining us this season at Stonegate Farm from Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in Westchester, NY, where they’ve been honing (and hoeing) their farm and flower skills.

TH BLUEHILL MBF-773-2A fence of farm-fresh baby vegetables at Blue Hill, skewered into submission

As one of the country’s preëminent diversified farms specializing seasonal, sustainable food, Stone Barns makes farming a beautiful obsession. From the exquisite Rockefeller-financed buildings, to the rolling, linear perfection of its field crops and sheep nibbled pastures, Stone Barns sets the sustainable bar mighty high.

They even have celebrity chef Dan Barber’s renowned Blue Hill restaurant on site, which I photographed last year for Tradional Home magazine. A day at Blue Hill and Stone Barns was reassuring (I’m not alone in my OCD fixation on farming as a romanticized ideal), humbling (I’ll never have even the most tenuous ties to a Rockefeller bankroll) and baffling (I shot a small fence of skewered raw vegetables, an appetizer that looked as though the Inquisition had come through and impaled them for vegetal heresy: “how dare you be so delicious and beautiful!” piercing sound, baby radish whimpering).

TH BLUEHILL MBF-96Stone Barns Center in Westchester, NY, where agriculture and architecture meet on high.

I also photographed a delicious ribboned kale and farro salad, in which vinegar-bathed lacinato kale was tossed with buttery pine nuts, curls of Parmigiano, currants and farro (ember wheat). Yes, we ate the props, down the last delectable chiffonade.

TH BLUEHILL MBF-1018A simple, superlative salad at Blue Hill: Lacinato kale, farro, pine nuts, currant, Parmigiano. Perfect.

In an effort to keep up with the Rockefellers this season (we may not have stone barns, but we have some preposterously large stone gates), we’re going to expand our CSA’s vegetable offerings with more variety and choice, including late season heirlooms, root vegetables, and – most excitingly – cut flowers.

Bouquets of organic cut blooms will be an optional part of the share each week, with bunches of wine and lime toned zinnias, purple gomphrena, nigella, liatris, sweet  pastel snapdragons and sunflowers.  Beauty for its own sake.

We’ll also be offering more on-farm events and workshops, Vitamix mash-ups and barn concerts.  It’s going to be a great season!  You can sign up now for the 2013 CSA share on the website, or simply drop a check in the mail.  Our expanding universe will mean more available shares, but sign-up early to secure a spot.  Spring ahead!  –Mb

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