Known for its nutrient-rich soil — the result of glaciers that melted thousands of years ago — the 5,500-acre “Black Dirt” area of Orange County is home to numerous farms; their products are served on family tables and at restaurants throughout the Valley, and sold at Manhattan’s Union Square Farmers Market. With a reputation for producing such a wealth of quality foods, the location deserves recognition.
And this month’s Black Dirt Feast does the region proud. Now celebrating its fifth year, this popular farm-to-table event is a joint effort of the Pine Island Chamber of Commerce and a small army of local chefs. Held under a tent on the great lawn of Scheuermann Farms and Greenhouses in Warwick, the al fresco banquet offers guests sweeping sunset views of the Black Dirt region — along with a six-course meal paired with fine wines, all served on pristine white linens, sparkling crystal, and fine china.
Here’s a small taste of what’s on the menu: roasted asparagus wrapped with air-dried filet mignon from Chef Tony Sylaj of Grappa Ristorante; a sampling of three soups — chilled peach, chilled pea, and corn chowder — prepared by Jennifer Haesche and Stephanie Roth of La Petite Cuisine; and Hudson Valley beef, served with tomato confit and Pinot braised greens, by the Iron Forge Inn’s Erik Johansen. (Vegetarian options are also available.) Still not sold? Performances by the Hudson Valley Strings quartet and jazz guitarist James Emery add a musical touch to the already inviting atmosphere.
Along with showcasing the bounty produced by the region’s growers, the event benefits a number of local causes, including the Pine Island Chamber Black Dirt Scholarship Fund, which helps students who are pursuing careers in agriculture or the culinary arts. Aug. 6 from 6-9 p.m. $100. Call 845-258-7008 or visit www.pineislandny.com for additional information and tickets.