Tomorrow the Valley Café celebrates Native American Heritage Month with a delicious luncheon in the student center. Native American cuisine contains the historic staple crops, one of which is corn. As an essential element in Native American culture, this week’s Corn Stew could only come from a local favorite.
Gill Farm in Hurley, New York is well-known in Ulster county for its sweet corn. The farm harvests 1,500 acres of a variety of yellow, white and butter and sugar corn each year between April and mid-July. With so much corn in demand, the farm needs about 100 employees working during the harvest to operate two corn pullers, eight tractors, many wagons and pack, stack and load the corn to be delivered to local customers and retailers like ShopRite. John Gill, owner of the farm, is passionate about his sweet corn and knows that tenderness, flavor and dark green husks are key to a successful harvest. Add his expertise with the naturally fresh flavor of local crops and the Gill corn is perfection.
The business began with John’s grandfather, who also happens to be named John Gill. He established the Gill Farm in 1937 at the base of the Catskill Mountains, less than an hour from the Marist campus. In addition to farming, John served the United States in the 5th marine division and fought on the shores of Iwo Jima. He eventually passed the business on to his daughter Charlotte and her husband Jack. At 91 years old, John now watches his grandson John and his wife Loretta run the family farm. However, it is still very much a family effort. John and his brother David manage the farmland while Loretta and Charlotte run the market and greenhouses also present on the Gill Farm property. Loretta is well-known for her famous corn chowder which is served at the farm’s popular fall festival that also includes hay rides and a pumpkin cannon.
Like the Native Americans, the Gill family is very passionate about their corn, earning themselves a positive reputation in the Hudson Valley. Tomorrow’s Valley Café could not be possible without this starring ingredient! Taste the hard work of the local Gill family in the Corn Stew from 11:30 to 1:30 in the Cabaret.
See you then!
Please Note: Many other ingredients in this week’s Native American meal were also sourced locally. J. Glebocki Farm in Goshen, NY supplied the leeks, sorrel, dandelion greens and poblano pepper. The red pepper came from Davenport Farm in Stone Ridge, the cilantro from Migliorelli Farm in Goshen and the jalepeno from Sorbello Farm across the river in Highland.
(Pictures courtesy of Gill Farm)