July 1, 2011
Hay is for hearts here:
Haystock benefits sustainable agriculture
By Deborah Medenbach
Haystock is food for a cause, music to milk by and activism steeped in buttercream.
"You can't sit across from Michael Lang to plan an event and not have the word 'stock' at the end of it," quipped ceramist and flower arranger Jill Wiener about the fundraiser for Farmhearts, a year-old nonprofit dedicated to helping farmers and supporting sustainable agriculture.
The event, hosted by Woodstock Music & Art Fair co-founder Michael Lang, will take place at the Delaware Youth Center and features five musical acts, live theater and potluck picnic offerings by some of the nation's top chefs. Food Network "Chopped" judge Amanda Freitag, and chefs Mario Batalli, Surbhi Sahni, Alex Raij and Heather Carlucci-Rodriguez have all promised sensational covered dishes that will share the table with potlucks from legendary local home cooks.
"I know Alex will be making the best Basque gazpacho ever and Mario is doing antipasti from his kitchen at Otto," Carlucci-Rodriguez said.
"I'll be making dessert. Something with local blueberries."
Farmhearts works to raise awareness of the difficulties faced by local farmers and the practical benefits of eating local, organic produce.
Organizers said that local dairy farmers with large tracts of land — paid the same amount for milk since the 1970s — are particularly vulnerable to the temptation of leasing their land to natural gas developers.
"This is not a new issue to me. I've always been interested," Lang said of his involvement. "I have a couple of acres I try to grow things on organically, and I buy locally grown food."
His interest was piqued when Farmhearts board members Victoria Lesser and actor Mark Ruffalo told him about the organization's mission.
"The model makes complete sense. We want to be known not only as the New York City watershed, but also as its 'foodshed' since gourmet chefs often turn to the Hudson Valley for their produce."
"Michael Lang's a luminary who has a really nice connection to the greater community," Ruffalo said. "Farmhearts is about change and sustainability and he's been working in this area. He's a natural 'go-to' person to bring awareness to it."
Ruffalo described the fundraiser as a homey, local event to bring farmers, small businesses and the community together for support, education and planning a sustainable future.
IF YOU GO!
When: 6 p.m. July 2
Where: Delaware Youth Center, 8 Creamery Road, Callicoon
Price: $10; guests asked to bring potluck offering