Fruits of the Field Bewitch the Palate
In September, I wrote a story entitled Finger Food: A Personal Account, in which I told of my quest to live on a farm. I am a self-described city boy who had preconceived notions that life on a farm would be idyllic. As I discovered, that is not the case at all.
Dr. Mary Ellen Finger and husband, Dave Vickery, live on their Horsemen Trail Farm, 20 acres of land in Philipstown that they call home, along with many four-footed (and feathered) friends. They raise their own animals for meat.
As I discovered, the reality of day to day life on a farm, came as quite a shock to me. It also left me with hay fever and a little dizzy to boot.
Cut to today. The PCN&R’s very own Director of Advertising, Lynn Duffy, can not only whip up a great creative ad, but on occasion a wonderful gourmet lunch, as well. This is a story about two gifts: First, that of Dr. Finger and her husband, who so kindly provided us with fresh meat and other food supplies from their stocks, harvested from their farm and prepared with minimal processing. And second, a gift from Lynn Duffy, who took the ingredients and turned their food into a feast.
This story also reflects the increasing strength of the farm-to-table movement, which stresses regional food supplied from area farms, and then prepared by chefs who want to feature local ingredients, often with specific breeds in mind, such as a heritage hog.
But back to our Friday lunch. Lynn wears many hats at the paper. Not only does she handle advertising for both the PCN&R and our sister paper The Putnam County Courier, but she also creates all of our window displays – and she makes cakes on the side for special occasions.
In my opinion, Lynn happens to be one of the best cooks I have encountered since my own dear mother (just don’t let my sisters know I said that).
Lynn recalled that her mother taught her to cook from the time she was 6 years old. “I would pull up a chair, and used to make the meatballs,” she recalled. However because of her young age, she was not allowed to navigate the stove, which over time she would master that, too.
She credits her mother for teaching her everything she knows about cooking and entertaining. Every Friday and Saturday, there was always company at the Polisi house – and plenty of good food to spare.
Lynn is very proud of her Italian heritage and she has a passion for everything she does.
Personally, I am glad that I have found a kindred spirit with my fellow Italian, who also knows all the lyrics to all the old Italian songs, like Lou Monte’s “Pepino, the Italian Mouse.”
Recently, Dr. Finger paid our office a visit, and she was toting a large wooden box filled with fresh goodies. Inside was a carton of fresh eggs, a whole chicken, lard, bacon and bean sprouts.
Her farm’s fresh organic eggs can be found in abundance in the organic section of Foodtown, right next to the fresh produce.
You could see a gleam in Lynn’s eyes that day when Dr. Finger walked in the door; it was almost as if she pictured the fresh food on the plate already. And so the two gifts were in motion, about to become one.
The date was set for the big luncheon at our dining area upstairs in our office. The staff and I could hardly wait as the scent of Lynn’s cooking was wafting down from the kitchen upstairs.
I must admit, I was a little hesitant to join my colleagues at this particular lunch. Here’s why: I had previously had the privilege of meeting Sausage the pig, who gave her life for this meal, and possibly the chicken as well.
Excuses ran through my head: “Sorry ladies, this morning I made a pledge to eat healthier and I woke up and decided to go vegan; can you please pass the bean sprouts?” No, that wouldn’t do. How about feigning illness? Perhaps doing a pratfall down the stairs? No, our steps are too steep and I could break something. Madding thoughts raced through my head.
I just could not get through my head that I was once again going to meet the same pig I met that day I went to the farm to interview Mary Ellen and Dave, but this time in a very different way.
I am positive Lynn must have picked up on my thoughts earlier in the morning as I said aloud, “I just can’t do it, I think I met that chicken before.” My cohorts laughed it up, but if they only knew how serious I was.
Beads of sweat now formed on my brow and a melancholy dirge played in my head as we high-tailed it up the staircase.
My anxiety slightly dissipated when we slowly approached the perfectly set table. White plates had been set and each of our names was spelled out on the plate’s rim, to compliment the beautiful frittata made from the fresh eggs. (No getting out of this now Greco, I said under my breath.)
A heaping plate of bacon, (from Sausage) was off to the side and a bowl of fresh hot chicken soup was set before us and a baguette lay across the table. We all bowed our heads to give thanks for our friends who valiantly made the ultimate sacrifice for our luncheon.
I must say that after one slight sip of the delicious soup. I forced myself into continuing this gastronomic journey.
The frittata was next and it was a heavenly fluffy concoction. Lynn once again out did herself on this meal. A tall glass of ice tea was served up.
By the time our conversation and laughter over our delicious meal was complete I hardly gave it another thought and we all agreed that fresh Finger food was not all that bad, although I have decided not to share with our readers if I ate the crispy bacon. Some things are better left unsaid. R.I.P. Sausage
For a delightful ad, even cooking advice or a cake for a special order, don’t hesitate to call Lynn at 845- 265-2468.
Please visit Dave and Mary Ellen’s farm video at www.youtube.com/ watch?v=xQb6LnZLj3I.