'Meet Your Farmers' on Serious Eats

Meet a Forager: Avia Hawksworth, Farmstead Restaurant in Napa Valley

This week we bring you something a little bit different from our typical Meet Your Farmers profiles. Avia Hawksworth isn't a farmer. She's the forager for the newly-opened Farmstead Restaurant in St. Helena, California. That means she sources local ingredients for the always-rotating menu and educates diners on where they're food is coming. Chez Panisse was first to start a "forager" position back in the 1970s. More

Meet Your Farmers: Perry Raso of Matunuck Oyster Farm in Rhode Island

The last 20 years has seen leaps and bounds made in the theory and practice of low-impact, sustainably farmed seafood, oysters included. Perry Raso is one of these pioneering aqua-farmers; he tends a seven-acre shellfish farm in East Matunuck, Rhode Island, and runs a wildly popular local restaurant, Matunuck Oyster Bar, that overlooks the estuary and inlet that make up his farm. I spoke with Perry on the morning of Easter Sunday as he shucked oysters and prepared for the inevitable influx of locals at his restaurant. More

Learning About Cheesemaking and Raw Milk from Two Dairymen in Alabama

I'll be honest, before I talked to David Wright and Corey Hinkel, I would have bet my life that you couldn't find something like the artisan dairy operation they run in a place like Northeast Alabama. But a conversation last week with the duo shattered my Northerner-biased expectations and has given me a mind to visit the Heart of Dixie. They're churning out Gouda, Cheddar, Abodance, and an Asiago cheese they call Wanda. More

Meet Your Farmers: Don Weed of Schoolyard Sugarbush in New Hope, New York

"On average we need around 57 gallons of sap to make a gallon of syrup." [Photographs: Welch's Syrup] *Schoolyard Sugarbush wasn't able to send us syrup photos. Ah, late winter. A time when intrepid local eaters are sick of leftover beets and kale from the farmers' markets. But do not despair, things are starting to turn around! One of the most important and delicious signs that spring is upon us? Maple syrup season. All over the Northeast and Canada, sap is starting to flow, and thankfully people like Don Weed of Schoolyard Sugarbush in New Hope, New York, are there to harvest it and boil it down to pure, delicious, maple syrup. Yesterday was the first run of the season... More

Meet Your Farmers: Golden Earthworm Farm of Jamesport, New York

[Photographs: Maggie Wood] The North Fork of Long Island may not be as glamorous as its southerly neighbor (the more famous fork, home to the Hamptons and Montauk) but it's an agricultural paradise with rich soil and an ocean-tempered climate that remains largely rural and committed to its agrarian roots. Traditionally potato country, the region is now home to more than 30 vineyards and is teeming with large and small-scale vegetable farms, berry patches, and orchards. In addition to the farmers' markets, CSAs, and roadside farm stands, you'll also find top-notch farm-to-table dining. (like the North Fork Table and Inn). So who's behind the bounty of good food coming out of the North Fork? I recently spoke with the... More

Meet Your Farmers: KayCee Wimbish and Owen O'Connor of Awesome Farm, New York

Note: This week in Meet Your Farmers we meet KayCee Wimbish and Owen O'Connor two young (and awesome) farmers who are part of a blossoming organic industry in the Hudson Valley. [Photograph: Awesome Farm] Name: KayCee Wimbish and Owen O'Connor Farm: Awesome Farm in Tivoli, New York. How many acres? We currently lease 75 acres, but only use 30 intensively. The other 45 are for cutting hay and back-up grazing. We're looking for a new home base right now, so those numbers could change soon. Your crew: We hired folks to help us slaughter chickens this year. Dana Gentile and our our friends Jeff Bonhag and Tracey Potter-Fins logged a lot of volunteer hours. [Flickr: mizzell] What you grow: Grass... More

Meet Your Farmers: Jennifer Megyesi of Fat Rooster Farms in Vermont

"I quit my job and we moved to a battered, neglected farm in Vermont to start from the ground up." Jennifer (center) with her son Bradford and husband Kyle. [Photographs: Geoff Hansen] Name: Jennifer Megyesi (pronounced Ma-jess-sea) Farm: Fat Rooster Farm, named after a pet rooster that was intended as a meatbird, but I didn't have the heart to do him in. How many acres? We (my husband Kyle and I) own 20 acres and use another 165 for haying and pasturing sheep and cows. Two barred silver cockerels. Your crew: We are the full-time farmers, though we each have part-time jobs off the farm. During the growing season (March through November) we have two or sometimes up to four... More

Meet Your Farmers: Wes Shannon, a Peanut Farmer in Tifton, Georgia

"Boiled peanuts are considered the caviar of the south." Wes Shannon. [All photographs: Herb Pilcher] A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of spending some time with Wes Shannon, a peanut farmer in Tifton, Georgia. My company Peanut Butter & Co. only uses peanuts grown in the United States, and we try to maintain a tight connection with these farmers. While I had met Shannon before, this was my first visit to his farm. He took a break from the harvest to talk to me about peanuts and peanut farming. He even let me drive the tractor and dig up some of the peanuts! How are peanuts grown? Well, we usually plant peanuts in mid-May. The soil is good... More

Meet Your Farmers: Greg Massa of Massa Organics in California

Note: This week in Meet Your Farmers, we get to know Greg Massa, a fourth-generation California rice farmer. Each week he brings delicious brown rice to nine Bay Area farmers' markets and is working toward building a sustainable farm model. [Photographs: Massa Organics] Name: Greg Massa Farm: Massa Organics What do you grow? Organic brown rice, wheat, almonds and now ducks. Ducks? We are selling our first 100 ducks at farmers' markets this weekend. The ducks live in the rice field and can help us with weed management. Ideally, the ducks should be able to feed themselves on the weeds and the bugs in the field. Weed management is no small feat when it comes to rice—it's our biggest production... More

Meet Your Farmers: Adrienne Kravitz, a Cranberry Farmer in Southeastern Mass.

Or, Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Cranberries But Were Afraid to Ask. [Flickr: clarkbw] Adrienne sporting her waders in the bog. Name: Adrienne Kravitz Profession: Cranberry farmer Location: Our farm is in Southeastern Massachusetts spread out over a few towns—Bridgewater, Middleboro, East Bridgewater and Hanson. How many acres? 150 acres this year How exactly do bogs work? Beyond knowing that cranberries don't grow on trees, my knowledge is pretty limited. Cranberries grow on long-running vines in sandy bogs and marshes, usually near wetlands. Since they are perennials, they return year after year. In the spring the vine blossoms which matures and ripens over the summer. During the harvest—typically at the end of September through early November, so right... More

Meet Your Farmers: Jen Small and Mike Yezzi, Flying Pigs Farm in New York

"We realized we had to do something with the land and settled on pigs...This year, we'll finish somewhere between 500 and 600 pigs, along with 2,500 meat chickens and 1,500 laying hens." [Photograph: Craig McCord] Names: Jen Small and Mike Yezzi Farm: Flying Pigs Farm How many acres? 200 acres [Photographs: Erin Zimmer] Your crew: Blake, Andrew, and Erin work with us on the farm. Peter, Daniel, and Jonathan work with us at the Greenmarkets in New York City. What you grow: Rare breed pork on pasture and in the woods as well as chickens and laying hens raised on pasture. We raise rare breed pigs (Tamworths, Gloucestershire Old Spots, and Large Blacks) because they are more moist and have... More

Meet Your Farmers: DeLea Sod Farms in Long Island, New York

Note: Meet Your Farmers is a weekly series where we profile the farmers that mean so much to serious eaters everywhere. This week we introduce you to DeLea Sod Farms, a family-owned business based on the North Fork of Long Island. These folks may be in the sod business, but they also grow amazing produce at rock-bottom prices for the community. They have been my exclusive source for vegetables all summer long. I've never eaten sweeter corn and tomatoes, or more flavorful squash and zucchini. --Chichi [Photographs: Chichi Wang, unless otherwise noted] [Photograph: Frank Beyrodt, Jr.] Names: Vincent Sasso, Rick DeLea, Frank Beyrodt Farm: DeLea Sod Farms How many acres? 40 acres devoted to vegetables and 3,500 to 4,000 acres... More

Meet Your Farmers: Nancy Prebilich of Gleason Ranch, California

Note: Meet Your Farmers is a weekly series where we profile the farmers that mean so much to serious eaters everywhere. This week we catch up with Nancy Prebilich, a California farmer who's also earned her MFA in International Theater and Performance Studies. [Photographs: Gleason Ranch] Name: Nancy Prebilich Farm: Gleason Ranch in Sonoma County, California. How many acres? 98 acres Your crew: Mother, father, sister, eleven year-old nephews, and five year-old niece. Hours: 24/7. I wish this was an overstatement, but it truly isn't. Every day we live and breath the ranch. We sleep in the barns at night if a sow is having trouble birthing, we leave a holiday dinner early to make sure everyone is watered and... More

Meet Your Farmers: Joe Nicholson Jr. of Red Jacket Orchards, New York

Note: Meet Your Farmers is a weekly series where we profile the farmers that mean so much to serious eaters everywhere. This week we catch up with Joe Nicholson of Red Jacket Orchards, one of our favorite juice suppliers. [Photographs: Red Jacket Orchards] Previously Lisa and Ali Moussalli of Frog Bottom Farm, Virginia » Ron Binaghi of Stokes Farm, New Jersey » John Lee of Allandale Farm, Massachusetts » Name: Joe Nicholson Jr. Farm: Red Jacket Orchards How many acres? 600 acres Your crew: A seasonal crew of up to 75 people. That number is obviously highest during the harvest, starting in June. They are great people, hard-working, and really a community within the community of Geneva. There are a... More

Meet Your Farmers: Lisa and Ali Moussalli of Frog Bottom Farm, Virginia

Note: Meet Your Farmers is a weekly series where we profile the farmers that mean so much to serious eaters everywhere. This week we introduce you to a young couple in Virginia (with a little farmer of their own on the way) who met through farming and are now making a living out of it. [Photographs: Lisa Moussalli] Name: Lisa and Ali Moussalli Farm: Frog Bottom Farm in Pamplin, Virginia How many acres? 25 acres with eight to ten under cultivation Your crew: Every year we hire a small crew of seasonal workers to join us planting vegetables, harvesting them, sharing them with customers through the CSA program and farmers' markets, and tending to our farm animals. Most of them... More

Meet Your Farmers: Ron Binaghi of Stokes Farm, New Jersey

Note: Meet Your Farmers is a weekly series where we profile the farmers that mean so much to serious eaters everywhere. This week we catch up with our pal Ron Binaghi. [Photographs: Erin Zimmer] Name: Ron Binaghi Farm: Stokes Farm How many acres? 17 Your crew: Four full-time and three part-time at the farm Hours: We work about 60 to 85 hours between Monday and Saturday, and rest on Sunday. What you grow: Tomatoes (nine kinds of heirloom), eggplant (eight kinds), peppers (mostly Hungarian yellow), Persian cukes, kirbies, zucchini (round zucchini, yellow long zucchini, and others), lettuce, asparagus, strawberries, onions, basil (five kinds), radish, cilantro, potato, and assorted herbs (five acres full).... More

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