Heather Ridge Farm, a rural Albany County operation that bills itself as a “farm and table” operation, on Wednesday announced an ambitious winter schedule. To kick it off, a “supper club” event has been set for for 6 p.m. Saturday, January 16. Chef Rob Handel will create a menu using meat and poultry raised on the farm as well as items he foraged, and produce and dairy products from other farms in the region.
“Rather than ‘farm to table,’ we like to call ourselves ‘farm and table’ because so much of the dinner is grown right here on this farm,” said Carol Clement, co-owner with John Harrison. She moved to the property, in the shadows of the Catskills, in 1979 and farmed part-time for many years while supporting herself with marketing and film production jobs. John, as he puts it, “married into the estate. Carol shrunk her outside businesses to grow the farm,” and John, who spent childhood on farms in Ireland. eventually retired from his off-farm job to join her full time.
Clement, who was raised in nearby Saugerties where her family ran a resort and restaurant, describes the couple’s farming philosophy. “We believe a grass-based farm is better for the animals, better for the farmers, better for the environment and better for the consumers. It’s a sustainable system of agriculture that offers you the healthiest, leanest, tastiest products we can raise. If you could raise your own, this is how you would want to do it. And, if the animals raised themselves, this is how they’d like it. Our animals are treated humanely, some would say a tad pampered. Their time on this planet is brief, and their sacrifice total. Why not make it so they want for nothing?”
In addition to allowing no antibiotics, hormones, or animal by-products in their livestock’s feed, Clement and Harrison further assure the quality of their Animal Welfare Approved (AWA) meat products by having the animals slaughtered and processed at small operations or with the state-approved mobile meat processing unit. “We are proud to be one of only four farms in New York State licensed for use of the mobile processing unit where we can work side-by-side with professional butchers,” Clement said. “We also have a certified kitchen on the farm, making it possible to create specialty products, such as our own sausage, and offer our scrumptious food at our cafe.”
Heather Ridge Farm’s dinner series has been held once or twice a month all year. In the winter months, dinner is in the solar-powered 1820s farmhouse. From June through September, supper club dinners usually are held outdoors. The menu are posted on the farm website. Reservations, which must be secured by credit card, are $75 plus tax and tip.
Some other food events on the farm’s winter schedule.
• A monthly “Grange Kitchen” event will offer a three-course comfort food supper. The next one is set for 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday, January 30. Reservations are $24 for adults, with kids charged their age.
• A “Cabin Fever Brunch Buffet” will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, February 6 and 7. Reservations are $24 for adults, with kids charged their age.
• While brunch buffets are held the first weekend of every month, on other weekends, the farm’s Bees Knees Café offers a changing a la carte menu. Some examples of the current menu include a nitrate-free breakfast sandwich with Brovetto cheese, and an egg on a housemade English muffin, served with home fries; butternut squash spoonbread, maple, and cornmeal souffle, with a side of nitrate free ham and maple syrup, and “Oink and Moo Chili” made with grass-fed beef and chorizo sausage in a spicy bean and tomato base, served with Toma Celena grated cheese and sour cream and a slice of corn bread.
The cafe is located at 989 Broome Center Road in the hamlet of Preston Hollow in the Town of Rensselaerville, southwest of Albany. The cafe and farm store is open every Saturday and Sunday for lunch and brunch from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Phone: 518-239-6234.