A Trip to Meadow View Farm

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I think it’s safe to say that most people’s favorite part of a meal is dessert. This week at the Valley Café, one of the desserts includes a sweet Raspberry Financier made with sugar, sliced almonds and, of course, fresh raspberries. The raspberries are not only an important ingredient for the treat, but also a proud product of Meadow View Farm in New Paltz, New York.

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Meadow View Farm was founded by Bart Colucci and his wife Doris in the late 1990s. The couple were originally the founders of Colucci Real Estate where they worked for 30 years as honest and dedicated employees. Meadow View Farm was established in their retirement based on Bart’s interest in delicious and healthy food and responsible farming practices. As a Certified Naturally Grown Produce farm, Meadow View does not use any pesticides on their crops, provides humane treatment for their livestock (including grass fed beef and cage free eggs) and uses crop rotations or cover crops to protect their land. Bart and Doris sell their produce, dairy and meat products at the Farm Stand on their property. After housing much of Ulster County, farming is an additional way that Bart and Doris can care for the well-being of their family, friends and neighbors.

Since New Paltz is an easy and scenic drive from campus, I decided to take a trip to Meadow View Farm and see the place where our Valley Café meal is coming from.

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The farm is nestled in the rolling hills of Ulster County with a view of the white cliffs of Minnewaska State Park in the background. There is a big red barn to welcome you into the grass parking lot and the Meadow View Farm Stand is a small red hut on the side of the road. Inside is freshly picked lettuce, arugula, radishes, potatoes and peppers. In the fridge are eggs and packages of beef and chicken also produced on their land. And the raspberries, of course.

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But the best part is that the farm stand is self-service. So when it came time for me to purchase some green beans I was trusted enough to write down my order, put the money into the unattended cash box and take the proper change. The simplistic set-up really reflected the close-knit and respectful community of the farm. The brochure in the store wrote a “Hello to all our Neighbors”, showing just how much Meadow View Farm values their customers and community. The brochure continued to explain that, “We grow this way because we care about our families’ and workers’ health, the health of our friends and customers purchasing and enjoying our food, and because we want to be good, sustainable stewards of the small portion of this earth that has temporarily been put under our care”.

It only seems natural that a farm built on such an ethical foundation and with a strong love for its community would provide the important ingredients for the meal we eat this Tuesday at the Valley Café. As you enjoy your Raspberry Financier tomorrow, make sure to give a thank you to Bart and Doris.

Please Note: Many other ingredients in this week’s French meal were also sourced locally. The cremini mushrooms for the Chicken Fricasse are from Bulich Mushroom Farm in Catskill, New York and the apples for the Apple Tarte Tatin come from Migliorelli Farm in Tivoli, New York. Other ingredients such as the tomatos, onions, heavy cream and chicken have also all been sourced from the region.

French Cuisine with Auguste Escoffier

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This upcoming Tuesday, October 1st the Valley Café will be going to France.

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Chef Anthony has designed the menu with inspiration from the work of French chef and restaurateur Georges Auguste Escoffier, who represents this week’s theme.

Escoffier is a legendary figure in the culinary field and a key leader in the development of modern French cuisine. He showed early promise as an artist and began an apprenticeship in his uncle’s restaurant in Nice by the age of thirteen. Later in life he ran the kitchen of Hotel National in Lucerne where he met César Ritz. Together they formed a hotel partnership, with Escoffier in charge of the kitchen. He eventually set up the kitchens and recruited the chefs for the high status clientele of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel chain in both Paris and London.

Escoffier introduced an organized discipline to the kitchen that helped elevate the status of the culinary profession. He also worked to simplify the elaborate cooking styles of the time, particularly the recipes for five mother sauces. Escoffier was France’s most distinguished chef of the early 20th century and the French press referred to him as roi des cuisiniers et cuisinier des rois (“king of chefs and chef of kings”).

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Come enjoy the tastes of France at the Valley Café on October 1st!

(Photo courtesy of escoffier.edu)

Time to Dig In

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I am very excited about sharing the stories behind each meal at the Valley Café (and sampling some of the food as well).

I will officially start posting regarding the first Valley Café meal of October. Hope you all enjoy!