[infobox bg="bluelight" color="black" opacity="on" subtitle="Week 3: The Farmer's Market"]Adventures in Culinary School[/infobox]
So, my program at The International Culinary Center is Classic French Culinary Arts plus a Farm-to-Table emphasis. We study the same curriculum as other classic culinary students at school but get additional education, reading, field-trips, and hands-on experience. Our first field trip went down during my third week of class, on an especially frigid December afternoon right before the Christmas holiday. After the end of class we changed out of our whites, hopped on the subway like the crazy family we are, and headed uptown to the Union Square Farmer's Market.
Upon arrival I immediately discovered the gorgeous wreaths and floral arrangements on display for the holiday and had to take a snap to share. I know, I know - not food, but pretty nonetheless. From there I caught up with the rest of my class to meet one of the chefs from Blue Hill New York to meet some of their preferred vendors that post up weekly at the Union Square Farmer's Market. Blue Hill New York and Blue Hill at Stone Barns are the brainchild of ICC alum/genius Dan Barber. He is quite famous 'round these parts, and his food is delicate, fascinating, delicious and entirely farm-to-table. When you eat at Blue Hill at Stone Barns, you simply tell them what you're averse or allergic to, and they'll prepare you a full-course meal based on the bounty they've selected from their own farm and their trusted family of local farmers.
We met the Paffenroth Gardens team at the Union Square Farmer's Market on our trip, one of Dan's favorite farms. They grow in black soil 50 miles north of New York City. It's a 4th generation farm and they farm mostly root crops, greens, sweet corn along with 250 different items they bring to the market. They are quite forward thinking, trying new crops often and frequently setting the trends at the market amongst other farmers. Everything is incredibly fresh, a lot of it picked 24 hours before serving.
If you're ever visiting New York City or live here and frequent the market, definitely search out Paffenroth Gardens. They set up shop at the northeastern corner of the market where 15th street intersects with Park Avenue.