Bountiful Black Dirt

Feasting in black dirt country

Orange County’s “black dirt” region, situated in the vicinity of Pine Island, is a geological marvel. Thanks to glaciers that retreated some 12,000 years ago, leaving nutrient-rich bogs, the farmland today contains some of the richest soil in all of the U.S. (and yes, it is jet-black).

It’s a perfect habitat for onions — in fact, about half of all onions grown in New York State come from black-dirt farms, although many other crops are also grown in the region’s 10,000-or-so acres. And it’s super sod for landscaping, too.

On July 27, you can sample delicious homegrown — and home-cooked — fare at the second annual Black Dirt Feast, sponsored by the Pine Island Chamber of Commerce. As part of this collaboration between about a dozen Warwick Valley area farmers and at least half as many local restaurateurs, guests will savor a five-course meal whipped up by top regional chefs and served al fresco in the beautiful fields of Scheuermann Farms & Greenhouses. Wine, dessert, and live music are included. Proceeds from this year’s farm-to-table party will go towards the beautification of Pine Island, and to purchase more equipment for a local park, says Sue Wilk, president of the chamber. “It’s a wonderful way to promote local farms and restaurants, and to have a good time,” she says. Tickets are $90 per person.

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Pine Island Chamber of Commerce

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