North East Community Center
 
Interview with Co-organizers of the Chef & Farmers Brunch August 19th
Reprinted with permission from The Millbrook Independent.

Jenny Hansell and Taryn CocheoWhat is the 2nd Annual Chef & Farmer Brunch?

It is an event that brings the local farmers together with the local chefs and the food loving public. It will be held on August 19th in the gardens of Number 9 Restaurant here in Millerton. The proceeds go to the NECC Food Access program.

What does the Food Access program do?

NECC’s food access program promotes the education about and access to healthy local food to local residents in need. It sponsors the Millerton Farmer’s Market and Share the Bounty Market at the Hudson River Health Care Center in Amenia, their acceptance of food stamps and “healthy bucks”, and it organizes cooking demonstrations to teach the public how to prepare fresh vegetables and fruits. Its Job Training Program that arranges for teenagers to work with local farmers in the fields and at their farm stands has already influenced one young man to become a chef (he is now at the CIA) and another to make a career out of sales of fresh food – these are two young people who “did not like to eat fruit or veggies” when they started with us. We also oversee the development and maintenance of the Webutuck High School Garden which provides nourishing school lunches; Summer Food Service which will have provided about 3000 lunches this summer to the needy in Millerton and Amenia.

How do Individual Farmers Benefit from the Chef & Farmers Brunch?

Farmers showcase their produce and get to see and taste what our chefs do with the raw food. They develop relationships with their customers and the buying public who tend to come say hello and buy again at their farm stands and the Farmer’s Market. They also promote and get customers to sign up for their CSAs.

How do the Chefs/ Restaurant owners benefit from it?

The good will is enormous and very important in the restaurant business. The public becomes more familiar with the restaurants and their food and feels more comfortable about going to them. Making the connection with the farmers and the community is good for business.

How does the Farmer’s Market Benefit from it?

It is really nice to make a connection with the people who grow and prepare your food. The brunch enables the public to meet one another and establish those relationships with the farmers and the restaurateurs. The trust that builds is continued at the Farmers market for the months to come and the years to follow.

How much money was raised last year for the Food Access program through this event?

Over $3500.

Who will participate this year?

Chefs from Number 9, of course, but also Stissing House, The Red Devon, Manna Dew, Harney & Sons, John Andrews, Back in the Kitchen, Pine Planes Platters, Irving Farm Coffee House, Berkshire Mountain Distillery, Berkshire Mountain Bakery and the Tousey Winery will be there serving their wines. The participating farmers are from Good Dogs Farm, Wassaic Community Farm, Double Decker Farm, Higher Ground, Solflower, Herondale, Willowbrook, Moon in the Pond, and Black Sheep Hill Farm.

Where and when will it be and how much will it cost?

Sunday, August 19th, from 11-1 at Number Nine Restaurant & Catering Co at 53 Main Street in Millerton. We ask for a donation of $40 to attend and tickets can be bought on line at http://neccmillerton.givezooks.com/events/chef-farmer-brunch. Also available are VIP tickets for$50 with which you may come earlier (10:30) and meet the Chefs and Farmers.

I must ask you both my standard questions:

If you are alone and hungry and must make yourself something to eat- what do you make? Jenny- my “go to snack” would be peanut butter and rice crackers. Taryn: In this season, cucumbers and tomatoes with salsa.(Her answer provokes a nod from Jenny)

If you could relive one meal of your life which would it be?

After much thought, Taryn recalls her honeymoon in Paris and selects a dinner at Taillevent. So many restaurants in Paris were incredible, but when they learned that my husband was a chef they were so nice. The chef came out to speak with us and signed and gave us the menu which now hangs on our wall. Jenny recalls an anniversary dinner at The River Café under the Brooklyn Bridge. The food and wine were fabulous but I can still see the moonlight on the water under the NYC skyline.

Having been to both restaurants I can understand how glorious their memories are.