Nowness: American Arcadian
Photography duo Andrea Gentl and Martin Hyers document an ode to the season: a meal close to their hearts, sourced entirely from close to their Catskills home.
On a recent Saturday, a coterie of food-loving friends spearheaded a feast at Table On Ten, the Bloomville, New York, restaurant that has become their nexus. The excuse—not that they needed one—was a celebration of the late summer season, the rich local soil and the bounty that springs forth from it, coaxed by organic farmers and foraged from nearby shrubs and streams by enthusiastic cohorts.
Everything for the feast—from chicory to flowering chocolate mint, bee balm and duck breast, even that pesky “immature sunflower”—was procured from within 25 miles of the restaurant. “We got dried mushrooms from a shoeless man who lived in a hut in Big Indian,” says chef John Poiarkoff of The Pines in Brooklyn, who conceived the nine-course menu. He was aided in the kitchen on dishes such as trout with dill crème fraîche, charred leeks, dill flowers and black mustard greens, by The Pines’ owner and Catskill native, Carver Farrell, and chef Camille Becerra of Navy. Brooklyn’s Four & Twenty Blackbirds bakery made the corn custard pie with pickled blueberries and poor man’s pepper.
In fact, the story of this meal—and of the motley crew who manifested it—is as layered as an onion, as potentially delicious and as versatile. Table On Ten owners, Justus and Inez Valk-Kempthorne, built a sanctuary where old pals and new come to languor and eat, chat and chuckle over Campari-laced cocktails and pizza from their wood-burning oven. It’s a place to rejuvenate after a day in the fields, whether those fields are literal or metaphoric. Theirs is a camaraderie of soil and harvest, life’s ineluctable cycles, the passage of time and the meals that connect it all. Tianna Kennedy, farmer and proprietor of nearby organic Star Route Farm, sums up the fellowship simply: “It’s the right time to be here amongst the best group I’ve known.”
Tomatoes, corn, whipped ricotta, garlic croutons, flowering chocolate mint and anise hyssop
Beet stuffed nappa cabbage, potato and yogurt puree, potato broth, wood sorrel
White pine roasted carrots, immature sunflower and white pine pistou, chicory, pine oil
Roasted and pickled cauliflower, Miranda cheese and roasted onion béchamel, jalapeño, flowering thyme
Trout, dill creme fraiche, charred leeks, dill flowers, black mustard greens
Shitake ciriole, braised rabbit, roasted garlic, bee balm
Duck breast and leg, cranberry beans, pepper and rose hip chutney, nasturtium
Ouleout ice cream, peach and beer compote, granola, honeycomb, beer caramel
Corn custard pie, pickled blueberries, poor man’s pepper