North East Community Center
Farmers & Chefs Benefit for North East Community Center
Reprinted with permission from Rural Intelligence.

Jenny Hansell and Didi BarrettThe only thing better than rolling out of bed for a delicious Sunday brunch is doing it for a great cause. On Sunday, August 19, farmers, restaurateurs, and foodies alike turned out to support the North East Community Center (NECC) at the Chef & Farmer Brunch in Millerton. The backyard of Number 9 Restaurant was bustling with pop-up food stands and over 125 patrons eager to sample local delicacies like pain au chocolat from Red Devon, Bloody Marys with heirloom tomatoes and Berkshire Mountain Distillers’ Ice Glen vodka, and socca crepes with lamb and ratatouille courtesy of Stissing House. Chefs from six restaurants donated their culinary talents to the event, while 27 farms and other producers provided local fruits, vegetables, coffee, tea, bread, and wine. Proceeds benefited the NECC’s farming and food projects, headed by NECC director Jenny Hansell (left, with New York State Assemblywoman Didi Barrett). Among the Dutchess County nonprofit’s programs are farmers’ markets in Millerton and Amenia, a summer recreation program, and a community garden that offers its bounty to local schools and food pantries. This summer, NECC launched a USDA-sponsored program that serves schoolchildren in Millerton and Amenia over 2,600 free, healthy breakfasts and lunches like pasta with broccoli and feta. With so many good works on its plate—and an abundance of croissants and coffee to relish—it’s no wonder NECC’s brunch had a bevy of community partners eager to rise and shine.


Betsey McCall, manager of the Millerton Farmers Market, talks shop with Alex Camillone and Wholey Oats owner Patti Camillone; Tanya Fields and Ben Schwartz of Wassaic Community Farm with McEnroe Organic Farm’s Suko Presseau.


Sundeep Bhan and Sanjay Pingle, who biked to brunch from Amenia, flank chocolatier Christina Bhan of My Sweet Brigadeiro; Sol Flower Farm’s Trevor Roush with Breanne Trammell of The Wassaic Project.

Taryn and Tim Cocheo, with their daughter Charlotte, are the owners of Number Nine Restaurant—and the soon-to-be innkeepers of Simmons’ Way Village Inn, located just next door.


Courtney Kuhbach, Denise Bricker, and Cady Crowley wait in line for short ribs; Dan Morse and Zach Kalas are apprentices at Moon in the Pond Farm in Sheffield.


Jerry Finkel, Stacy Bogdonoff, Mark Shehan, and Susan Irwin; Abbey Hansell and Fred Baumgarten, daughter and husband of NECC director Jenny Hansell.

Michel Jean, chef/owner of Stissing House, raised a glass from Tousey Winery with Gerard Boyer and Rona Boyer, food editor at The Millbrook Independent.