If you follow us on Facebook or Twitter, I am sure you noticed that Alli and I were lucky enough to go on the 5th Annual Foodie to Farm tour this past Sunday. The event is put together by Feed Your Soul (aka Christa Glennie Seychew) and is sponsored by Lexington Co-op. We were pretty fortunate to not only visit some awesome locations in the Chautauqua area, but also spent the day with some of our favorite foodie friends. On this particular tour we visited a cider mill, two farms, and a winery, had lunch provided by Chef Bruce Wieszala and ended the evening with a meal from Chef Ross Warhol at the Athenaeum Hotel. All pictures from the event can be found at our Facebook page (link below).
Our first stop was Busti Cider Mill in Jamestown. We met owners Bob and Judy Schultz who are still using a cider press that was built in 1890. We had a demonstration of how they press the apples to make cider and sampled some of the product for ourselves. They offer tours of the mill on the weekend from 1-4pm until October 31st and have a small roadside market were they sell cider, vegetables and baked goods. We then got back on the bus and visited the gorgeous Green Heron Growers in Sherman, NY and met owners Steve & Julie Rockcastle. On a hay ride we had a tour of the farm (which holds a large blues festival every year) and got educated on how they grow their delicious, organic Shiitake mushrooms. Steve and Julie really care about producing food that’s organic, delicious and as simple/natural as possible. We visited their very happy grass-fed cows (as Steve said, the cows have a really great life with one bad day) and the renovated campers where their free-roaming chickens live (they move the campers around the farm every few weeks). While we were already very aware of the many benefits of free-range/grass-fed farming, Green Heron reminded us of its importance and rejuvenated our desire to seek out meat from places that practice these techniques. If you are more interested in reading about this movement, I suggest you fire up the old Google and do some eye-opening research. For lunch we had a meal provided by Chef Bruce Wieszala (sous chef at Carmelo’s) that included a burger with potato salad that was almost solely comprised of products from the Green Heron farm.
Next stop was Good Grass Farms in Chautauqua County. The owners and their adorable daughter gave us a tour of their chickens and turkeys (who were hilariously awesome), both of which are free range and have no chemicals in their diet. They are currently taking reservations for their turkeys. So if you are looking for a delicious bird this November, please hit them up! The next stop was Johnson Estate Winery in Westfield, which included tastings outside in their fields next to the grapes and inside in their newly renovated tasting room. Alli and I aren’t really “wine people” but we both enjoyed sampling their Rieslings, Ice Wine and Champagne.
We then left to our last destination of the day and the stop I was looking forward to most, a 5 course meal from Chef Ross Warhol at the Athenaeum Hotel featuring locally sourced ingredients (some veggies were even grown on site in his rooftop garden). It was the third time we’ve eaten at the Hotel and, like our previous meals there, it was perfectly delicious. Here’s the 5 course menu we enjoyed…
- Half Acres Farms peach gazpacho
- Athenaeum Hotel tomato salad, green beans, radish top pesto; Red Ribbon Farms garlic custard, herbed croutons
- Green Heron Growers beef tartare, traditional accompaniments, organic hen’s egg yolk
- Freeman Homestead Farms duck confit; shiitake mushroom and Lapps Farm cheese custard pierogi; Athenaeum Garden candy striped beets and zucchini, onion caramel
- Haff Acres Farms Asian pear and plum cake, wild ginger ice cream
The event was a blast and both Alli and I came away with a new respect for local farms and the care that goes into preparing organic, high quality foods. Our goal in the upcoming year is to spend more of our grocery budget at farmers markets and maybe finally join a CSA. Feed Your Soul puts together some amazing events, I highly suggest you look at their upcoming schedule and buy a ticket to something that’s coming up.
If you’d like to see all of our photos from the tour, click here to see the photo gallery on our facebook page. If you’d like to see more pictures and read other recaps of the event, I suggest you check out Nina Barone’s post on her blog Buffalo Foodie or Julia Burke’s blog post on New York Cork Report.
Sample Photo Gallery: