farming

You are currently browsing articles tagged farming.

A gorgeous winter day and I am beaming. To be on a farm with happy pigs, clucking hens and hoop houses growing greens, one hardly notices the freezing temperatures outside. Welcome to the Rodale Institute’s farm in Mennonite country, Pennsylvania.

Hoop Houses

Rodale, Inc., the company, publishes many note worthy magazines from Prevention to Men’s Health. My friend James Oseland, formerly editor in chief of Saveur, is now the editor in chief of Rodale’s newest venture, Organic Life. James invited me down to the farm and I insisted on a winter’s day.  This is a farm that produces year round. Anybody can grow veggies in the summer!

Maria Rodale and James Oseland

My first treat was to meet Maria Rodale herself. She is passionate, articulate and incredibly knowledgeable about the state of the organic movement today. As she should be. Her grandfather J.I. Rodale almost single handedly popularized organics in America. He founded the Rodale Institute in 1947. This non-profit organization has carried out serious research and education on organic farming and since its founding, a Rodale family member has been at the helm. Maria is third generation and has a strong voice on the subject. Her book, Organic Manifesto, is highly readable and enlightening. The Institute todays sits on 333 pristine acres and conducts Farming Systems Trials in conjunction with the USDA and leading universities.

Veggie Tower

Among their key findings which they are happy to share with you show that:

  • Organic yields match or surpass conventional yields
  • Organic yields outperform conventional yields in years of drought
  • Organic farming uses 45% less energy and is more efficient

Rodale’s philosophy is simple: healthy soil, healthy food, healthy people. Only two hours drive from NYC, it really is an experience. It’s open to the public, plan a visit but maybe you would prefer to go in the summer. That’s okay too.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Almost always I would describe David Bouley as an “outside the box” thinker but now he has truly gone so far outside that he is inside the box! What am I talking about? Well, his new restaurant/studio location, Bouley Botanical in TriBeCa once again breaks the mold on how you perceive the concept restaurant. It is a white rectangle room inside a giant garden box. The floor to ceiling windows are full of copper growing boxes!

Copper Growing Boxes

David is constantly challenging himself to think about food. He was the first chef in New York to put the provenance of ingredients on his menu. No one will forget his coining the phrase “day boat” cod, lobster, scallops. His home state of Connecticut and French grandparent’s gardens gave him a cornucopia of delicious, natural and fresh ingredients He spent many hours with the farmers and fishermen. He figured out how to get their products to New York City. Now he has gone one step further. He has brought the farm to NYC. He has built his kitchen to be a lab, and his basement a commissary. He also found Renee Giroux.

Renee Giroux, David Bouley, Bouley Botanical

Renee Giroux is the talented farmer of Gilbertie’s, a three-acre covered farm in Easton, Connecticut. Her thing is soil. Her soils are alive with all the beneficial insects, nematodes and other nutritious elements that make a delicious leaf. Her understanding is more than biodynamic, it is holistic and is pushing the envelope on natural growing techniques. She and David are creating a container farm lab at Botanical. The air itself in the space is a gift to your lungs. You sense the well being the minute you walk in.

David Bouley in the kitchen

When you think of growing vegetables or greens it is easy to think of soil elements and water. But have you thought of wind? The constant breezes in nature play their part in building the muscle of strong stems. Thus, while you dine at Botanical, at regular intervals a breeze comes out of nowhere! It brushes your cheek like a little pick me up. The various boxes surrounding you are doing their happy dance. Happy dance? Just think, if you have to give up your life to be an ingredient, wouldn’t you want it to be for the genius of David Bouley?

Tags: , , , , ,