I hadn’t yet opened this week’s issue of New York magazine before making yesterday’s post about the celebrity farmer (I do hope those of you in the Seattle area will try to make it to the Incredible Feast event in a couple weeks, “where the farmers are the stars”). A feature article in this issue celebrates “The Farmer as Cult Hero,” going ‘celebrity’ status a notch or two higher. Relating the trend in a similar fashion that I did, writer Susan Burton notes that “Just a few years ago, only a celebrity chef could have stirred up so much epicurean excitement.” The story highlights a few cult-status farmers in the New York area, including Ronnybrook Farm Dairy and Blooming Hill Farm (such lyrical names!).
Cult hero, huh? Makes me wonder who I’d put in that class around here. In my Seattle Magazine article, I’d featured George Page from Sea Breeze Farm, Brent Olsen from Olsen Farmsand Steve Hallstrom from Let Us Farm. Cult figures? I hadn’t thought of them in quite that light, but perhaps that’s just what they are. If you’re after unpasteurized milk, fresh-from-the-ground fingerling potatoes or exquisite uncommon lettuce, those are your guys (respectively). To the list I suppose I’d add Heath Putnam from Wooly Pigs (his mangalista pigs definitely have a following), Shelley and Mike Verdi at Whistling Train Farm (eggs sell out weekly but they sell loads of produce as well), Nash Huber from Nash’s Organic Farm (carrots made this farm famous). And others not immediately coming to mind.
Are you the devoted customer (perhaps event cult-like follower?) of any particular farmers in your neck of the woods? If so, I’d love to hear about them and what products of theirs that you crave.