Home on the Free Range
An Earth Day with People & Animals
On April 20, the 8th Annual Earth Day Dinner at the Garrison Institute will tell the story of a family who moved their furniture business from Brooklyn to East Chatham back in 2008. In addition, they hoped to raise and grow as much of their own food as they could on their property. Well, building furniture morphed into raising pigs. These things happen.
From Ruby Duke, “We started the farm originally as a way to feed our own family. As our business started to grow, the idea that we have been following is to find sustainability, both environmentally and financially, through minimization of waste. For example, we found ways to supplement feed by finding alternative sources from waste products from other businesses, like whey is the waste product from cheese making.”
In 2009, Ruby Duke and her husband Sather founded Raven & Boar, a family farm that embodies the resourcefulness of sustainability, where small herds of pigs are raised with care on open pasture and forest. They partner with local yogurt and cheese producers to use the whey as a food source for the pigs, their variant on the Italian tradition of using whey from the production of Parmesan cheese to feed pigs destined become Prosciutto di Parma. As a result, the pork has a unique flavor and texture, is richly marbled, and especially excellent for charcuterie. Raven & Boar deliver their meat and products to restaurants in Hudson Valley to Manhattan and Brooklyn.
“The Earth Day dinner is our opportunity to explore a particular aspect of our relationship with nature through a story and a meal,” explains Shelley Boris, executive chef of Fresh Company, who prepares the meal and operates the foodservice program at the Garrison Institute. “The prevailing view is that a vegetarian diet is a more sustainable one, environmentally and economically. At the Garrison Institute, our meals are largely vegetarian, but most of our guests (and most of our cooks) are not. To reconcile this, we occasionally serve what we call ‘small amount of meat meals.’ For Earth Day this year, I wanted to dig a little deeper into this concept and examine the farm animals we eat.”
“I turned to Glynwood Farm to help connect to someone intimately involved in all aspects of livestock farming,” says Boris, “and that’s how I found Ruby.”
The menu for this event features and is inspired by Ruby’s pork and her connection to Italian farming methods. It includes Raven & Boar charcuterie, pancetta prepared by Fresh Company with pork bellies from the farm, and pork shoulder cooked in whey. “I grew up eating a lot of Italian food,” says Boris, “It’s a cuisine that uses small amounts of meats effectively … and deliciously.”
This year’s event follows a wide range of talks and meals. Past dinners have examined subjects such as urban sustainability, GMO’s, clean water access, organic farming, and the very nature of nature. The dinner is served in the large, beautiful, wood-paneled dining room at the Garrison Institute.
“I look forward to this event every year,” says Boris. “It’s an opportunity to sit with our neighbors, to listen to a personal story with an open mind, and if nothing else, to share a good meal. It’s about fostering community and increasing our consciousness.”
Using pork from Raven & Boar, local dairy, wheat and all that April brings in the Hudson Valley, Fresh Company will prepare some of our favorite home supper dishes.
Assorted charcuterie from Raven & Boar
Bratwurst, rillettes & pâté
Hudson Valley cheeses
Old Chatham, Shunpike Dairy, Chaseholm, Sprout Creek & Coach Farms
Garrison sourdough bread
Rhubarb, beets & pine nuts
Sautéed spring greens
Whey-cooked pork shoulder / heirloom beans
Fresh ricotta agnolotti
Pancetta & chive / mushroom, onion & sage
Thyme pound cake & crème fraiche
NY State beer, hard cider & house-made shrub
This is the eighth annual Earth Day event hosted by the Garrison Institute in collaboration with Fresh Company. The dinner will be served in the large, beautiful, wood-paneled dining room at the Garrison Institute. Everyone will sit at communal mission tables and serve themselves from a buffet. Many ingredients will be sourced from local growers and vendors. Local hard cider and beer will be served at dinner.
April 20, 2017, 7:00 pm at the Garrison Institute, 14 Mary’s Way, Garrison, NY 10524.
Reservations are required: www.garrisoninstitute.org/earthday or 845-424-4800. $45 per person, by credit card, accepted prior to the event; $50 cash or check at the door. Directions are posted at www.garrisoninstitute.org. A percentage of the dinner price will be donated to charity (TBD).
Fresh Company (www.freshcompany.net) caters private events, runs the food service at the Garrison Institute and the café at Storm King Art Center. This event reflects the Garrison Institute’s (www.garrisoninstitute.org) mission of applying the transformative power of contemplation to today’s pressing social and environmental concerns, helping to build a more compassionate, resilient future.