11/29/11

Field Trip: Art & Agriculture at Old Field Farm


This last weekend we had the great pleasure of participating in a "pig party" for Art and Agriculture at Old Field Farm. Old Field Farm is an idyllic 160-acre farm / stunning art space in Cornwallville, NY. Started by artists Anne Kennedy and Peter Nadin, the organization's goals, ideas and approach are right in line with ours and we were thrilled to be involved.

The event came together with just a few months of planning and a handful of small world connections. Over the summer, while working towards his MFA at Bard College, Jake was introduced to Old Field Farm through an article in the New York Times. The article began with a quote from Peter: "A carrot is not a work of art. I’m not proposing that anyone think of a carrot as a work of art. But what I am saying is that a carrot and the art I make here are both results of the same process.” Well, with that Jake immediately knew he wanted to call Peter up and pick his brain. But with a busy fall, getting in contact fell to the back burner. 
 

A few months later our friend Tess Diamond came to Jake with some questions about cutting and selling meat. We already knew that, on top of her job in Food Studies Education, she was the operations manager at a small farm upstate. But about half-way through the conversation, we realized her farm was Old Field Farm! We also learned that their former butcher was Bryan Mayer, Jake's mentor at Fleischer's! Like we said - small world!

We immediately planned a meeting to discuss a butcher demo / charcuterie party and went upstate to scope out the farm. Whoa. Dreamiest. Farm. Ever! Beautiful Tamworths and Old Spots rooting around, chickens pecking, bees buzzing, several ponds, and at the heart of everything, a huge art studio/food space overlooking the Hudson valley, and the Catskill and Berkshire mountains. Everything was too good to be true... until Tess finally introduced us to the pig Jake would be cutting. It was SO HUGE! It ended up being the biggest pig the slaughter house has ever processed! We were a little freaked, but decided we were up for the challenge. 


This past Friday we went back to Cornwallville to prepare for the event. We got our recipes in order, took a look at the now-hanging and headless pig, made a huge pot of cider brine, and had some farm-made pork belly before getting a good night's sleep. On Saturday morning we woke up and headed up to the studio. Peter built a fire while Anne put together a beautiful table of local food. Tess and Silka started putting together the dry cures for the lardo, pancetta, and bacon and Jake started to break down the pig. All day artists, food writers, farmers, neighbors, and friends passed through to lend a helping hand and soak in the beautiful afternoon sun. We answered questions about butchery, pigs and charcuterie, drank hard cider and ate freshly cut and grilled pork. It was heaven!

After a day of cutting and curing we went back to the farmhouse for a bath and more food, and revved up to make some fresh sausage and render leaf lard. Finally, with an incredibly successful day behind us, exhausted and stoned on pork fat, we fell into bed. The next morning we woke to an incredible breakfast cooked by one of our favorite food writers, and headed back to the city.

We want to thank Anne and Peter for inviting us to work with them and for sharing their inspiring vision. And we want to especially thank Tess for putting it all together! This is the beginning of a very exciting partnership!

4 comments:

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