2012-02-08 / Perspectives

Lanza Farms: The Full Monty for Valentine’s Day

Gardening GUSTO

Second in Our Local Farms Series

Who wants to be a farmer anyway? Those raised on a farm know that farm life is often beautiful, sometimes back-breaking, and occasionally heart-breaking. Farming requires hard work, involves incredible risk, and rarely makes anyone rich. Who really gets into farming with their eyes wide open?

Meet Joni and Louie Lanza, owners of Lanza Farms in Garrison. Joni is a former Broadway dancer who knew by age seven everything she needed to accomplish to go on stage in New York City. And she did it and she was a success. Louie has been a chef for twenty-five years and owns the acclaimed Josie’s West, Citrus and Josephina’s in New York City. The Lanzas have three children, aged six months to four years old. And now they have a Garrison farm, forty acres—organically and sustainably run.

But before you get your “tsk, tsk” on about how “city folks have no idea” et-negativecetera, hear this: Joni and Louie have seven generations of farming experience between them! They deeply know farming, and all while they built their successful city careers, they aimed to get back to the farming life. Their families had dedicated their lives to it, they were raised with it, and they wanted their kids to grow up on a farm. All the discipline and dedication that it took for Joni and Louie to become a Broadway dancer/ actor/singer and a high-powered chef/restaurateur now pays off for all of us who love our local farms.

Lanza Farms has a growing goat herd and Joni will soon be certified in goat cheese production. Later in the year they will sell goat meat—a rare and delicious treat around here—and I promise a future article featuring this local, organic, and healthy protein.

The Lanzas also have 1,000 maple taps in their sugar bush and, if you have missed out on Joni’s spectacular maple cupcakes at the Cold Spring Farmers’ Market, you should rectify that unfortunate oversight immediately. The Lanza Farms table also sells their maple syrups, candies, and special farm-grown items.

Which brings me around to Valentine’s Day: last year’s column was aimed at the guys (Gardening Gusto, Feb 9, 2011.) This year it’s for all of us women looking for something fun and affectionate to give to our guys. If you know him well, go for the “Lanza Farm Maple Full Monty,” a basket packed with manly sweets like Bourbon Barrel Matured Maple Syrup, Maple Chipotle BBQ Sauce, Loco Rub, Ginger-Infused Dragon Syrup, Buddha Bliss, and more. If you’re not there yet, order the more demure “Joni’s Sweet Six,” a collection that is sure to pique his interest. Contact Lanza Farms (845- 424- 6170 or info@lanzafarms.com) and get yourself organized for a sweet and local Valentine’s Day with your (maple) Sugar.

To return to the original question (who wants to be a farmer?) we in the Hudson Highlands appreciate that local farms preserve our cherished open landscape. Get your kids out to visit our farms and teach them where our food comes from. During a recent visit to Lanza Farms by Garrison School kids, one child tugged at Joni to say good-bye, announcing: “I want to be a farmer when I grow up.” And that is how it happens.

Louie Lanza’s Seared

Breast of Chicken with

Maple Soy Glaze

Ingredients for sauce:

· Lanza Farms maple syrup: ½ cup

· Braggs liquid or tamari: 3 ounces (Look for a future Gardening Gusto on Braggs)

· Water: 2 cups

· Fresh ginger: 2 inch piece, peeled and sliced

· Fresh garlic: 3 cloves cut in half

· Vegebase: instant powdered, 2 teaspoons

· Coriander: whole, 2 teaspoons

· Star anise: 3 pieces

· Arrowroot: 1 teaspoon mixed with 2 tablespoons water

· Pepper: freshly ground to taste

Ingredients for chicken

· Chicken breasts: natural, boneless, skinless, pounded flat between waxed paper and dredged in seasoned flour

· Olive oil: virgin, one tablespoon

Sauce preparation

1. Place all ingredients— except arrowroot mixture—in one quart saucepan.

2. Simmer together for 7 minutes.

3. Add arrowroot mixture and whisk briskly for 30 seconds.

4. Continue to simmer sauce for 3-4 minutes until it thickens slightly.

5. Set aside until chicken is cooking.

Chicken preparation:

6. Heat olive oil in sauté pan.

7. Brown chicken breasts for 3-4 minutes on one side.

8. Turn breasts over in pan and cook for one minute.

9. Add ½ cup of maple sauce to chicken. (Save leftovers for searing salmon or tofu.)

10. Reduce heat. Cook Chicken and sauce slowly until chicken is done and sauce turns to glaze. (Cooking on high heat will cause glaze to burn.)

11. Serve with brown rice and sautéed vegetables. YUMMY!

Katherine Whiteside wrote and Peter Gergely illustrated The Way We Garden Now, available from GardeningGusto.com.Any questions? Email Katherine@ GardeningGusto.com.

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