Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Another Bus Reunion

It was time to get outta town. Next up was our upstate dinner at Greig farm. We found our scenic farm and climbed a tall hill to meet affable Norman Greig. The weather always determines where the table might go. With a forecast of windy conditions Norman advised against a hilltop table and we went for a more protected site. We chose to place our table spanning a wooden bridge on a beautiful small stream. On a windless day the stream site would be swarming with mosquitos but with the steady breeze mosquitos were not a problem. Everyone was excited about doing a dinner over a bridge, a first for OITF.

Chef Melissa Kelly brought out a student kitchen crew from the nearby Culinary Institute of America. Chef/Instructor Anita Eisenhauer was a big help in putting it all together. Anita worked with students, producers and Chef Melissa Kelly, an alumnus of The CIA who made the trip from Portland, MN. A valuable experience for budding chefs. Farm to Table dining is getting more and more play around the country, including America’s premier culinary school. The next day at The C.I.A. Jim and Melissa gave a talk and a Q&A to gathered students.

Words and nourishment

When we arrived at Eckerton Hill Farm in Pennsylvania we were still without bus. A clutch job on the bus turned complicated when our Jersey mechanics put in the new clutch but couldn’t figure out how to get it to work. With yet another bus disappointment, Jim morbidly joked about driving the old gal out into a field and shooting her. We made our way out to farm with pick up truck and trailer - and camping equipment.

Eckerton Hill Farm is the home of farmer/writer and our friend Tim Stark. Tim's new book Heirloom: Notes of an Accidental Tomato Farmer just came out and guests were treated to a reading. The chosen passage was about a favorite cantankerous tractor and was performed on that favorite tractor. Tim brought along his chef friend Bill Telepan from NYC to put together a meal. Our guests in the country feasted on Bill's tasty Eastern PA menu. Jim visited the table with Dorian from Briarwood Croft who contributed her feta cheese and Herman from Danenhauer Apiaries whose honey was gathered from bees a short 75 yards from the table. Chef Bill Telepan is soooo cool and fun and brought along a great bottle of tequila for after dinner. Jeremy, Elaine, Annette, Jim, Adam, Leah, Tim Stark and Bill and his crew chuckled and sipped tequila late into the night.


We received word that the bus was ready. Stalwart driver Ben had left the tour for some well deserved R & R and Ben's good friend Caleb Coe was there to take his place at the wheel, returning for his fourth whack at the tour. Only problem was the bus was not yet approved for travel.

Our Jersey boys awaited an out of town specialist to crack the bus clutch mystery. Caleb holed up for a few days at the Best Western awaiting traveling orders.

Finally the bus was "fixed" and Caleb embarked from Jersey as the rest of us left Eckerton Hill Farm, hoping to meet up later that day.

Missing Persons/Road Weary

Late that night after meeting up with the bus outside Baltimore, MD our Swiss intern Annette gathered up her things and slipped away in the night without a word. She had had enough of these crazy Americans (and one Canadian) and their stupid (charming) bus. Maybe we will see her down the road… Annette where are you? With Annette gone missing, Ben taking a break and Aubrey away for a few weeks for her sister's wedding we were temporarily reduced to Adam, Jim, Leah and Caleb. At least we had the bus.

1 comment:

Brenda said...

I was just reading about Melissa in The Reach of a Chef by Michael Ruhlman! I bet it was fun meeting her.