Tag Archive | "Edible East End"

How Do You Bottle Creativity? Local Winemakers at the Parrish Art Museum

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By Tessa Raebeck

Three of the East End’s premiere winemakers will be at the Parrish Art Museum Friday, March 21 at “How Do You Bottle Creativity?” an interactive talk and tasting presented with Edible East End and the Long Island Wine Council and hosted by the Parrish Business Circle.

Long Island is one of the world’s most up-and-coming wine regions. Guest speakers Kareem Massoud of Paumanok Vineyards, Barbara Shinn of Shinn Estate Vineyards and Christopher Tracy of Channing Daughters will explain what inspires their art – and then let the audience taste that inspiration.

“How Do You Bottle Creativity?” is Friday, March 21 at 6 p.m. Tickets are $25 for non-members, $20 for members and include museum admission. Reservations are recommended and can be made here. For more information, call 283-2118.

Circling the Wagons

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By David McCabe

For years, food trucks have been huge on the streets of Manhattan, but in the Hamptons they are normally relegated to beach parking lots.

Now, for one night only, denizens of the East End can enjoy what office workers in Midtown Manhattan enjoy every day at the first Food Truck Derby, which is being held this Friday at the Hayground School in Bridgehampton.

The event is organized by Edible East End, a food magazine that has been published since 2005 and is part of a national chain of Edible publications. Its publisher, Brian Halweil, said the magazine wanted to bring a taste of food truck culture — which has reached a fever pitch around the country in recent years — to the East End.

A $50 ticket buys a guest a tasting portion from each of the trucks, as well as unlimited beer and wine.

“The concept was to create a food experience that doesn’t really exist out here but that we love from the city,” said Halweil.

Long Island, however, will not be entirely unrepresented amongst the trucks present. Hampton Coffee Company will have an espresso truck at the event, Halweil said, as well Wandering Palate, a truck that specializes in Long Island cuisine. Montaco, a Mexican food truck that’s normally parked at Ditch Plains in Montauk, will also be at the Derby.

Mars Ostarello, who owns Montaco, said her truck focuses on producing food that honors her Mexican heritage while using locally-sourced ingredients. Everything the truck serves is made from scratch, she said, from the blue-corn tortillas to the salsa.

This is not Montaco’s first Derby, so-to-speak. After their first season on the East End, the staff wanted to keep the truck open, so they took it down to Miami, where a food truck culture was just forming. That meant that five days a week, the taco truck was going to events like this weekend’s derby.

“So we’re pretty well versed on food truck derbies and gatherings of all types,” Ostarello said.

This weekend, they’ll be serving three types of tacos. Their fish taco, which is made with mahi and garnished with lettuce and chipotle mayonnaise, a chicken and salsa verde taco and a zucchini and roasted corn variant with hints of cumin and salsa verde.

Ostarello said that she doesn’t want the East End to become saturated with food trucks, as Manhattan has been. Instead, she praised the way the hamlet of Montauk as regulated vendors: only one food truck is allowed in each small beach parking lot, and two are allowed in larger spaces.

Other than a little more variety, she said, “I think we’re all good here.”

Some of the trucks featured in the event will be coming from their regular berths in New York City, including La Bella Torte, an Italian dessert truck based out of Brooklyn.

Joe Glaser, who owns the truck with his wife AnnMarie, went to culinary school when the recession of 2008 began, and he and his wife decided that it made more sense economically to open a truck rather than a brick-and-mortar store.

The truck specializes in traditional Italian desserts, and was nominated for a Vendy award after being in business for only four months.

“Everything that I do is classic Italian and I keep everything traditional,” Glaser said.

Halweil, for his part, hopes that this event will perhaps encourage more operators to create food trucks on the East End.

“We hope that this event encourages more food trucks to come out here and stay parked, at least for part of the summer,” Halweil said.

Putting the Fun into the Purim Holiday

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By Emily J Weitz

If you’ve never celebrated Purim, you’re missing out on one of the best parties of the year. When Rabbi Leon Morris of Sag Harbor’s Temple Adas Israel dubbed it “Mardi Gras for Jews,” it pretty much summed up the feasting, storytelling, and overall joyful sentiment that accompanies Purim.

“On a very basic level,” says Morris, “it’s a topsy-turvy carnivale-esque holiday filled with laughter, parody, sweets, gifts and masquerade. On a deeper level, it’s about how to construct a life of faith in a world where God’s presence often appears to be absent.”

To honor both the lightness and the significance of Purim, the temples in the area are planning to honor the four mitzvot, or commandments, of the holiday in their own special ways.

The first mitzvah is the Reading of the Scroll of Esther, or the Megillah.

“Esther is the great heroine of this story,” explains Morris. “She risks her own life to intervene on behalf of her people and succeeds.”

Goldie Baumgarten of the Chabad in East Hampton adds that “Purim is a time that celebrates the victory of good over evil, the victory of the innocent being protected by God, and the importance of faith.”

In this spirit, Temple Adas Israel, the Chabad, and the Jewish Center in East Hampton will all have Megillah readings on Wednesday evening. The reading is one of the more serious of the mitzvoth, but Shelley Lichtenstein of the Jewish Center promises that “It will still be a fun evening, with celebration and chocolate.”

Esther’s great accomplishment in the Megillah is that she protects her people. But Rabbi Morris explains that “Esther is a complex and curious character. She is in many ways a ‘hidden Jew’,” he says.

“She is thoroughly assimilated into the culture of the country in which she lives, yet identifies with her people when the moment calls.”

The name Esther means “hidden,” and Morris says this refers not only to Esther’s hidden identity but also the fact that “God is hidden throughout this story, without God’s name appearing even once.”

Readings are an integral part of most Jewish traditions, as these texts have been passed down for thousands of years as a way to keep the stories alive. But just as important on Purim is the celebration – a different way to honor memory and history. At Temple Adas Israel, “Purim Fest” will include family activities and food for all. The energetic congregation has created a new way to celebrate this year, with a local beer tasting, co-sponsored by Edible East End.

“Purim is traditionally celebrated by drinking to celebrate the deliverance of the Jews in days of Mordecai and Esther,” says Morris. “In fact, in the Talmud it says that one drinks until he or she doesn’t know the difference between ‘Blessed be Mordecai’ and ‘Cursed be Haman’ (the villain of the Purim story). We thought a contemporary and local twist on this would be a local beer-tasting. This will encourage responsible drinking while sharing the joy of the holiday with one another.”

The Jewish Center will host its annual carnival in honor of Purim, and this year there will be a kids’ rock concert in addition to the usual face painting and balloon makers.

“Purim is a joyous time,” says Lichtenstein. “Kids are encouraged to dress up and be silly. It’s a big party.”

Of Rick Recht, the Jewish kids’ rock star that will perform, she says, “He uses Jewish prayers and text in contemporary form. The kids sing about doing good deeds and about Israel, and it’s really exciting. Each age level gets a song they sing on stage with him.”

The other two mitzvoth on Purim are making offerings to the poor and sending food to friends. The temples organize donations, with charities as local as the Sag Harbor Food Pantry (Temple Adas Israel) and as distant as a charity in Israel that brings a Purim dinner to those who cannot afford it (Chabad).

“It’s all in the spirit of bringing joy to each other,” says Baumgarten. “It’s a holiday of joy, celebration and salvation.”

All of the congregations are throwing their doors open wide to members of the community, Jewish and non-Jewish alike. To learn more about the Purim festivities in the area, check out the temples’ respective web sites. Chabad of the Hamptons is at www.chabadofeastend.com, Temple Adas Israel at www.templeadasisrael.com, and the Jewish Center of the Hamptons at www.jcoh.org.



Brian Halweil

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The editor of Edible East End and publisher of Edible Manhattan and Edible Brooklyn talks about how he became interested in agriculture, how mindsets are changing in how we produce and consume the food we eat and why the East End has long held onto agricultural and aquaculture traditions now made popular as sustainable food movement grows.

How did you first become interested in agriculture and our food system?

I was tracking climate change, population growth, freshwater scarcity, hunger, and other dismal trends for an environmental think tank. Agriculture was at the root of so many of these crises. So if you were concerned about the fate of the planet, not to mention your own health, food seemed the thing to focus on.

After taking a position at the environmental think tank World Watch Institute, researching and writing about factory farming, over fishing of our oceans and what you termed “the twin epidemics of obesity and hunger in the world” you found hope on the East End of Long Island. What did you discover?

The history of modern agriculture reads like a mass extinction event. Small farms gobbled by large ones. Crop varieties narrowed and lost. But to live and eat on the East End today is like watching that process unfold in reverse. Traditional farmers are willing to adapt and innovate, there’s a huge new crop of upstart food and drink makers and support for this local food and wine and more coming from bars, restaurants and IGA shoppers. There’s a new sheep farm in Southold, a handful of new breweries in Suffolk County, and just recently, a friend connected local food pantries with local farms. The pantries got fresh produce and the farms got a new customer.

Is that what you’re going to discuss in the “Happy Valley,” as the keynote speaker at the Pennsylvania Association of Sustainable Agriculture’s annual conference?

It’s the conference’s 20th anniversary, so I’m going to discuss how even though many of the ecological challenges remain today, I’m very hopeful for the coming years because every where you look you see governments, companies, communities and families turning to food as a solution to these problems. Growing food, farmers might help reduce climate change by locking up carbon in their soils faster than energy companies will shift away from oil and coal. And the best fix for our rising healthcare costs might be giving farmers and supermarkets incentives to sell more fruit and vegetables.

Do you see trends in sustainable food production, often found historically on the East End, spreading across the state and country, if not the world?

A lot of these ideas seem to have gone viral. They are growing without major government involvement or other support. I was part of a research effort last year to identify sustainable solutions to hunger in Africa. And all the most effective innovations — from reducing food waste, to investing in urban farming, to feeding kids in schools — were sprouting up in dozens of African countries. And those same innovations are happening in New York, on the East End, and around the country.

How valuable are the edible schoolyards we have seen pop up at virtually every major school on the South Fork?

With a childhood obesity epidemic, teaching our kids how to cook and garden may be some of the most important life skills they need. Even where the schoolyards are too small to raise more than a bit of food, they are still monumental in terms of getting kids to consider what they put in their mouths and where it comes from. They will grow up to be better eaters, better food shoppers and better food citizens.

Speaking of edible schoolyards and nutrition, in the last few weeks the scandal of the food world has of course been the revelation that southern chef Paula Deen, famous for dishes like the bacon, egg, donut burger, has type two Diabetes. What kind of an impact, do you think, chefs like Deen have had on American food culture?

The Food Network has turned some chefs into household names. But I think this story shows that we are beginning to face up to the fact that most of our nation’s health burden comes from what we eat. We have a former President who is openly promoting eating less meat to improve his health, and a current First Lady who is an ambassador for kitchen gardens that are sprouting on a scale we haven’t seen since the Victory Gardens of the 1940s.

You have traveled the world, and studied food production on virtually every continent it seems. How is sustainable food production ultimately tied to healthier economies?

Agriculture may not be the world’s most lucrative industry, but it is arguably the only industry we can’t do without. When the Greek economy collapsed recently, people left their jobs in the city to grow food with their grandparents in the country. Food and drink will always remain. And with more and more people making food and drink experiences a bigger part of their lives, agriculture is attracting more investment. That’s why the state is helping build the new food distribution and innovations hub in Riverhead, why New York City is starting to invest again in public food markets. Communities that raise or make a greater share of their food can keep their landscape green, put money in their neighbors pockets, and insulate themselves from food shocks elsewhere. Not to mention, enjoy fresher tastier food.

Speaking of, how was your oyster crop this year?

This was a good this season. They were extra plump and the flesh had a light-green tinge and a strong, briney flavor. We have to get to the hatchery for more spat. We also got four laying ducks, but they haven’t started laying. And we’re still cutting greens from our cold frames. I built them from about $30 worth of materials. They were the best investment I ever made.

The Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture Conference will be held February 1 through February 4 at the Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel in State College, Pennsylvania. For more information, visit http://www.pasafarming.org.