At a time when most produce that Americans consume is shipped over 1,500 miles across the country and leaves a huge carbon footprint in the process, Greenwood Lake’s first community Farm to Table dinner made its debut Friday evening, Sept. 8, at the Elks Lodge Outdoor Pavilion on Chestnut Street, amidst long Tuscan-style table settings on a mild summer night, that shortened the distance between those who make, grow or process our food and a few dozen grateful residents and guests.
Grow Local Greenwood Lake
The story began in 2019, when a few concerned individuals in Greenwood Lake met to discuss strengthening their resilience and recognizing the importance of local food; eventually they incorporated as a non-profit the following year. Grow Local Greenwood Lake, the name the group adopted, provides access for all to local fresh, healthy food via home garden support, community gardens, farms, restaurants, and by supporting local small businesses.
Chad Pilieri, the group’s founder, explained that they wanted to “develop a self-reliant community-based food economy where production, processing, distribution and consumption are integrated locally. Meanwhile, they wanted to educate our community on the benefits of a resilient local food system based on regenerative growing techniques, preserving food and healthy eating.”
Working collaboratively with several of the farms that participate in the weekly Lakeside Farmers Market at Winstanley Park on Windermere Ave., the group engaged the talents of a local chef, Jamie Heller, (chef proprietor of the Village Buzz), and a handful of local farms to design a unique menu for the evening.
There were three generous dishes that comprised the appetizer course:
• Skewers of fresh mozzarella, tomato, and basil with balsamic drizzle, sourced at Jersey Girl Cheese with tomatoes from Common Ground Community Garden and Garden of Edenville. Warwick Valley Olive Oil supplied the balsamic drizzle.
• Caponata over polenta with tomato confit. The eggplant and peppers were sourced at J&A Farm; tomatoes from Garden of Edenville; and polenta from Glynwood Farm.
• Barley with fresh herbs and julienne seasoned vegetables and squash. Vegetables came from J&A Farm; the barley from Glynwood Farm; and the herbs from Common Ground Community Garden.
The main course included an extraordinarily tender citrus-marinated slow-roasted pork shoulder, prepared from pork from Sweetman’s Farm, complemented with roasted corn succotash with soybeans and goat cheese (with corn from Sweetman’s Farm; cheese from Lynnhaven; and edamame from J&A Farm).
Another side dish included garlic potato salad with cucumber, dill and pickled red onions. The potatoes and onions were raised at Sweetman’s Farm; the cucumbers from local farms; the olive oil from Warwick Valley Olive Oil; and the herbs from Common Ground Community Garden.
The remaining side dish consisted of deconstructed fresh vegetable and barley salad with lemongrass aioli. The kale, radish and zucchini came from J&A Farm; the green beans from Little York Farm; the beets and carrots from local farms; and the barley from Glynwood Farm.
The dessert course was prepared by Chef Camille Strano and consisted of goat cheese, honey and thyme cheesecake with local peach compote. The cheese came from Lynnhaven; the honey from Hudson Valley Pantry; the eggs were sourced from Beth’s Eggers; the thyme from Camille’s own garden; and the peaches from Chef Jamie’s own peach trees.
Floral arrangements from the Garden of Edenville adorned the tables, while two different groups of musicians filled the event with just the right touch of music that allowed guests to enjoy conversation while enjoying familiar tunes. The duo, NSR, with Michael O’ Brien and Melissa Mahoney began the evening followed by the No Soap Radio trio with James Katz, Matt Lambiase and John Ferrari Trio (guitar, drums and horns).
Océane Vineyards in Sugar Loaf generously provided ample bottles of cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay that complemented each course of the evening’s menus.
A QR code on the menu thoughtfully allowed guests access to the providers’ contact info for each of the dishes on the menu.
Greenwood Lake is Orange County’s largest fresh water lake. It is getting ready to celebrate its Centennial in 2024.
Besides its free concert series on the lake each summer, the return of its Annual Bed Race event, and the weekly Lakeside Farmers Market from June through October, the village has several important upcoming events that include the Centennial Cocktail Party Kickoff event on Oct. 8, the annual Oktoberfest event, a Halloween Festival, a Casino event in November, and many others on its family-oriented horizon. To learn more, click on https://GWLNY.org.