3.14.10 The Kids Are Alright

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photos by george billard
Our journey north yesterday was so much fun! Visiting River Brook Farm in Cochecton really got me excited about the arrival of the new season—though in the wake of gale force winds and freezing rain that still seems a ways off up here. Still, nothing says spring like cuddling with a baby goat. They are so silky and sweet-smelling, so lovable and mischievous, nibbling on your hair and your fingers and your collar. As you can see, I was in ecstasy. It was also great to see the farmers, Alice and Neil, whom we hadn't visited in a couple of months. They're all revved up for planting season, super-organized and already cutting bags of salad greens—spinach, mache, miner's lettuce, etc—from their greenhouse. And they've still got several kinds of potatoes, jars upon jars of rare heirloom beans, and hardy vegetables like squash and celery root.
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so adorable, I could just eat her up—NOT!
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lots of the females are pregnant, with most ready to deliver in the next few weeks
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Alice and Neil grow an incredible variety of organic produce
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heirloom beans
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After a prolonged stop at the farm, we made our way up to Delaware Delicacies, Ray Turner's smokehouse in a remote corner of Hancock, New York.
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ray turner outside his smokehouse in hancock, ny
Ray is a real character. I like him even though he calls me Amy (for Amy Irving). Ray's been holed up in the backwoods for the past 30 years, in his very cool wood-&-stone house right on the Delaware River. He smokes all kinds of things—Gouda, colossal shrimp, cornish hens—but he's perhaps best known for the river eel that he catches, brines with salt and dark honey, and smokes over applewood. It's a lush, oily fish with a delicious smoky-sweet flavor that is divine atop some Japanese rice with a cucumber salad on the side. I like to eat those shrimp with greens, avocado and a homemade mayonnaise dressing. Decadent. Ray also took us for a visit with his pet emu, Tweety. He sells her gorgeous teal green eggs—apparently her poop is the same color, although she subsists on dog food!
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We made it home before the deluge, bag stocked with fresh ricotta, potatoes and celeriac from the farm; and with eel, bacon, smoked cheese, shrimp and a big chunk of hot-smoked salmon from the smokehouse. We felt fortified by our neighbors, and by a scenic drive north, scattered everywhere with huge branches downed by the recent storms. Spring clean-up is going to be a challenge this year...


What a great day! I've been wanting to visit Ray for years now, and have never made the trek. (I'm near Kingston.) One of my short stories even has a character based on him. One day...For now I'll be happy with your post! I've got to get some of that eel...
Juila on March 15, 2010 at 2:05 am —
oh what a lovely day. and how pretty are you! i hope spring is truly here. i hear it is going to snow in toronto next week. grrrrrr.....but perhaps on the bright side, time for some mulled wine. x shayma
shayma on March 15, 2010 at 8:58 am —
Yes, get your toddies in while you still can!
laura on March 15, 2010 at 12:31 pm —
You can call Ray up and he'll send it to you! 607-637-4443
laura on March 15, 2010 at 12:32 pm —
All writers should look so happy. Here's to kidding around! Love, j
Jennie on March 15, 2010 at 2:56 pm —
Ray looks like a foodie version of Walt Whitman! Smokehouse, fresh ricotta, beautiful beans, cute animals, a wonderful celeriac soup perhaps? Do you need anything else out of life? And you look really happy, great road trip!
nakedbeet on March 16, 2010 at 8:37 pm —
Yes, I think a celeriac soup is in order—good call. Tonight, though, it's time for the corned beef that's been brining since Saturday...
laura on March 17, 2010 at 4:28 am —
YUM! I bet that is going to be insanely good. Very lucky household, you have.
nakedbeet on March 17, 2010 at 6:30 am —