A large and diverse crowd of hipsters, artists, parents and kids of all ages (and a few just plain regularpeople too) braved the September drizzle to revel in the bounty of local and artisanal food and drink and to mingle with many of Brooklyn’s farmers, brewers and chefs at the Farm City Fair on Sunday.
We joined the fray. Here’s a recap of some of the highlights that we sampled:
Matthew Tilden and Alyssa Alpine of SCRATCHbread were serving up a special toast selection, including their country parma loaf with speck, aioli and pickled peppers; their caciao e pepe bread sprinkled with pecorino romano, salt, pepper and olive oil; focaccia with charred heirloom tomatoes; and a chai sticky bun with Salvatore Bklyn ricotta and orange zest.
SCRATCHbread is always a crowd favorite wherever they set up shop, as was evidenced by the throngs lining up for some toast action all afternoon.
Chef Ted Jackson of Ted & Honey was serving up some crazy-good BLTs that he built with his house-smoked pork shoulder bacon, heirloom tomato and red leaf lettuce. He made the biscuits with pork lard from the hogs he used for the bacon along with yeast, fresh buttermilk and Pennsylvania-milled organic flour from Daisy.
Ted cures the pork shoulder with maple syrup from upstate, brown sugar, kosher salt, pink sea salt (as a curing agent), and juniper berries, bay and peppercorns. He cures the meat for seven days, smoking at four different temperatures for up to eight hours.
He makes the smoked tomato pepper jam himself too, using fresh local tomatoes that he smokes in house, along with local jalapenos and red bells, and brown sugar, onions garlic and spices. (You can get a jar for yourself at the café).
Seriously people – we’ve never had a better BLT.
Marlow & Sons chef Sean Rembold was dishing out deep-fried local corn-on-the-cob with a special buttery dressing and a garnish of local cherry tomatoes and greens. This was another major highlight – we had never had deep-fried corn-on-the-cob before, and it was dangerously good.
It’s probably best that we don’t have a deep-fryer at home, ‘cuz if we did, we’d probably spend the rest of September neglecting baby Nona while trying to replicate this one.
Stacey Murphy and Bee Ayers of BK Farmyards brought a generous haul of of their Brooklyn-grown organic produce to the fair. Bee mentioned that the project has harvested over 4,000 pounds of produce so far this season, and they’re still going strong.
We picked up a jar of Bee’s cut-comb honey from her hives at the youth farm at the High School for Public Service, and a jar of Stacey’s Candied Hot Peppers (also grown on the farm, of course).
We had our own SCRATCHtoast party when we got home, pairing Bee’s honey with sheep’s milk ricotta from Stinky Bklyn and Stacey’s candied hot peppers with goat cheese – both on toasted SCRATCHbread focaccia. Before we knew what had happened, the honey and the candied peppers were GONE. Noooo! Should have gotten more …
Shaun Dubreuil and Lindsay Andrews were on hand with rooftop organic produce from Greenpoint’s Eagle Street Rooftop Farms. We picked up some beautiful looking swiss chard. Shaun said they’ll be harvesting lots more leafy greens in the coming weeks.
The crew from Added Value Farms were representing Red Hook with some of the season’s last heirloom tomatoes, some very pretty purple eggplants, and lots more.
The inside of the Invisible Dog Arts Center was packed with Greenpoint Food Market veterans selling artisanal foods of all sorts, and with scrums of hungry Brooklynites trying to get their hands on samples.
We managed to secure a foothold at Laena McCarthy’s Anarchy in a Jar stand, where we sampled her Peach Preserves with Lemon Verbena, Hot Fireman’s Pear Jam with chipotle and cinnamon, and Pickled Pear with juniper and crème do violet. If you haven’t yet had the pleasure of trying Laena’s creations, you should seek them out – they’re worth it – take our word for it.
The Farm City Fair was part of the French Institute Alliance Francaise’s Crossing The Line festival, which lasts until September 27. If you missed the fair, you can still catch the Farm City Tours next weekend. The tours will be visiting Brooklyn farms including Eagle Street Rooftop Farm, BK Farmyards and Added Value, and will include discussions regarding urban farm practices, beekeeping, raising hens, and harvesting rainwater.