HOOT! Italiano Farm Benefit Dinner

Meet your Farmer by Tessa Edick


HOOT! Italiano Farm Benefit Dinner in Copake Hosted International Italian Chef & Author, Announced Industrial Hemp NYS project with SUNY


“One of the nicest things about life is the way we must stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.” the famous Italian, Luciano Pavarotti reminds us…. And we all have to eat! It’s one of last non-digital acts we lust after – and it’s probably one of the most important things you do after breathing and sleeping – both of which are free, but good food is not a privilege!

On July 14th at Empire Farm in Copake NY, we treasured these same guiding principles and celebrated local agriculture by shaking the hands that feed us with farmers as our guests! We thanked the community too by eating locally sourced responsibly grown food and beverage from these local family farms. And we kicked off the HOOT! ITALIANO with a toast to thank our farmers, who work tirelessly to provide food to our tables all year long with a farm chic Veuve Clicquot rose champagne salute!


We remembered to thank the wind, the bees, the butterflies and the rain that blessed the drought once all 300 of us were under the tent overlooking the garden we ate from in the 10 minute downpour that felt magical and much needed.


We thanked parents and children, chefs, producers, educators, staff and volunteers who make our work possible too. We thanked our elected officials and local businesses and many supporters of the FarmOn! HOOT! From SUNY and Cornell University, to Google Farm to Table, NY Apple Association, Bloomberg Philanthropies, Rhinebeck Rentals and Mazzone Hospitality.


And of course we professed our gratitude to Rolando Beramendi our Host Chef and Author of Autentico, Cooking the Italian Way, the inspiring and talented Mastermind and Founder of Manicaretti Italian Food Importers who came from Florence Italy to celebrate with a farm feast for the annual FarmOn! Foundation fundraiser, pizza party and book signing!


And an Italiano feast it was! Beramendi butterflied lamb al Asador over open fire Francis Mallmann-style (a chef he brought to the states from Patagonia decades ago) and spit roasted a 300lb hog from Sir William Farm with Squeaky’s Pig Roast pit master Tommy Hotaling. We sourced Hudson Valley Fresh dairy within 36 hours of milking for Kale Custards, harvested food from our Victory Garden that Alice Waters opened in 2014 for 13 variety mixed greens, Fregola Sarda and Zucchini Torta and finished the 5 courses with an amazing cake for dolce – Hemp Honey Frescobaldi Laudemio Extra Virgin Olive Oil Cake with poached sour cherries and organic Hemp fan leaves served with Fix Farm fresh fruit that Beramendi quoted on the menu, “I personally think having a big bowl of fruit is so much more loving to your guests than serving something overly sweet and filling. My preferred way to end the meal is fruit and a good glass of wine.”


As we ate, more importantly we shared our initiatives, educational programming and goals to fund them. We raised a glass to support our rich agricultural community and honored the noble profession of Farming with respect, inspiring and educating the next generation to do the same.


To this end we announced our NYS permit for research on a cash crop – Industrial Hemp – and introduced, our keynote speaker Dr. Gilbert of SUNY Morrisville who unveiled the opportunity FarmOn! Foundation brings to the region with Industrial Hemp growing 40 acres on property to produce medicine – a CBD oil that is used for anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety purposes and offers a cash crop as an upside for growing at the family farm.


FarmOn! Foundation joint venture with the NYAcres Project at Empire Farm allows economic development with jobs and fosters community investment while providing research to share for New York State at large under the NYS research partnership permit for Industrial Hemp FarmOn! Foundation currently holds. We invite you to get involved with growing or investment to build this opportunity for family farms!


Local and Italian beverages and spirits were served from: Harvest Spirits, Hillrock Estate Distillery, Chatham Brewing Co, Sundog Solar, Saratoga Water Company, Harney & Sons, Organic Treo Birch Water and Copake Wine Works selections, each complimenting the food from our farmers that came to the table in an authentic way! And we raised funds (just over $123,000.00 cash and in-kind) and awareness for a good philanthropic cause popping confetti cannons to celebrate “truly the best farm event of the summer!” guests exclaimed having so much fun before the barn party bonfire dancing under the stars began!


Eating is beyond vital. It’s a pleasure and its social, but most of all; it impacts economics of rural America at the family farm to your table. It runs systems and communities and people and money, every time we take a bite.


The connection we have to food changes the way we live – our choices in health, longevity activity, lifestyle and quality of life – that now CBD can support too!


Nearly two decades ago I opted out of processed food and invested in my community by skipping the supermarket and sourcing food from people i trust to feed me well. Italian by heritage, I started a pasta sauce business in 1999 and chose to buy tomatoes in volume to make pasta sauce, not from a can, but from family farms. No I didn’t maximize margin doing that – but I shifted rural economies and gave us all a pasta sauce product with nutrient density – it was fresh. And it tasted better too and provided seed money to the farmer to plant his crop with capital in the bank by contract growing – much like a king would commission an artist.


This is still my mission today – connecting folks to where their food comes from and why it is meaningful beyond marketing, which actually stems from my farming background to change the way you eat, by bringing awareness to what you eat, who makes it, how and why, and more importantly, support the very thing that connects us all to seed and soil, and the soul of farming – the people that make your food.


Everything you ever need to know you learn on a farm. It’s meaningful. It’s rewarding. It’s storytelling 101…..And most of all it’s delizioso!


Every kid in America should serve on a farm and learn to earn. This isn’t disruption – it’s vital for the next generation to feed us and revitalize a respect for farming which fills the succession gap in agriculture and rebuilds rural prosperity in America – connecting one community, one local farm, once crop at a time.


FarmOn! exists to bring awareness and bridge the gap between succession at family farms and we need your support to inspire youth to connect to food and foster the entrepreneurial spirit connecting rural and urban marketplaces for a stronger and healthier America.


Join us this weekend and every Saturday through October for our POP UP SHOP FarmOn! Provisions at historic Empire Farm from 10am-3pm to graze our farm market, learn about the bees, shop for local goods, experience Hemp “CBD” oil tasting and tours, buy prepared foods and Bartlett House bread and baked goods and learn by experience how eating makes a difference in our schools, on our farms and with our community.


We need volunteers. We need your support. Stop by Saturday at Empire Farm in COPAKE NY and sign up or eat to go to picnic or give back while get your FarmOn! too. Because meaningful matters. HOOT! Italiano was a blast and if you missed it save the date for HOOT! HEMP next year July 27, 2019…. and remember…if you ate today, thank a farmer. Grazie and FarmOn!


For information or inquiries about FarmOn! Foundation or Industrial Hemp contact Tessa@farmonfoundation.org or IG @FarmOnFarmOn