Like any business, our staff is our community. No workplace is perfect, but we’re trying to make this a good place to spend our daily hours together. Many Applestone team members have remained in our lives well after they’ve moved on to other careers, phases of life, and even countries. This is certainly the case with Maggie Thomas, who was a member of our sanitation crew. This year marks her first season farming at Great Song Farm, near Red Hook and not far from our new Hudson shop. Great Song is diverse community farm that uses organic and environmentally sustainable practices.
Maggie purchased the Great Song Farm business with her partner, Emily Eder, in winter of 2019. Some of her former colleagues here have been among her first CSA members, enjoying what they’ve been growing weekly – and continuing a connection with Maggie.
COMMUNITY FARM FEAST
Recently a bunch of us were able to celebrate Maggie and Emily’s work by attending a full moon community feast on their farm. It was rainy but that didn’t dampen the beauty of the land or the energy of the meal. Eating inside the hoop house added a cozy atmosphere.
Maggie and Emily enlisted their friend Katie Briggs of Eclectik Domestic to lead the cooking. The meal was a mix of Great Song Farm’s harvest and our meat. Katie is a Philiadelphia-based chef and activist who has spent several years with Outstanding in the Field, the touring on-farm dinner company. In other words, she’s a farm dinner expert. She’s also a 2016 James Beard Women in Culinary Leadership recipient. The three women all worked on a farm together in California in 2013, and were happy to reunite. “I was there the day they decided to lease Great Song Farm,” recalls Katie.
The following are some pictures from the night at Great Song Farm. The experience included cocktails from the garden, passed appetizers including incredible pork rillettes on Catskill Bread Company sourdough baguette, a four-course dinner featuring our meat (tomato braised brisket, BBQ peach pork shoulder, lamb summer sausage, and parmesan and parsley pork sausage), peaches and cream, and local cheeses from Chaseholm and Miracle Springs farms. All of it was memorable, but the flavor of Katie’s panzanella lingered with us after we left the farm. It’s just the thing to make frequently as tomato season wanes here in the Hudson Valley. So we asked for her recipe and she’s letting us reprint it below.
FENNEL PANZANELLA WITH MINT + TOMATOES
Panzanella is one of those things you can change endlessly based on what you have available. No mint? Try basil. During the farm dinner, Katie substituted grilled bread for stale bread. Its smokiness is well worth recreating.
4 cups stale bread, toasted & cut into bite sized pieces
1 bulb fennel, thinly sliced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
3 lemons, juiced
1 cup olive oil
1 bunch mint, chopped
1 bunch basil, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper, to taste
In a large bowl add bread, fennel, tomatoes. Toss in olive oil, lemon garlic and herbs. Season to taste.
SIGN UP FOR A SHARE
Soon you will be able to sign up for a Great Song Farm share for 2020. You can also sign up for their newsletter, which includes many great recipes.
Endless thanks and love to the Great Song and Eclectik Domestic teams for bringing us all together.