Chef And Farmer Bring New Veggies To Table
HIMROD -- Several months back Chef Brud Holland met with a Penn Yan area farmer and proposed a partnership:
The chef would supply unique seeds for vegetables developed specifically for Finger Lakes soils.
The Hoovers, a Mennonite Family west of Penn Yan would grow the vegetables.
And Holland would purchase them for his new restaurant on Seneca Lake in Himrod.
Fast forward a few months and the bounty is coming in -- for both the Hoovers and diners at Sapalta, Holland's new restaurant at the new Plum Point Lodge on Seneca.
The veggies are noticeably different. Tiny butternut squash, bed to intensify the sweet flavor. Habanero peppers, usually among the hottest of the hot peppers, bred for taste but without any heat at all. They are called habanadas. Fire red beets and a squash with a long neck to give chefs more veggie and less seed join a new potato variety that produces a Finger Lakes spud so smooth it doesn't need butter.
The seeds were developed by Row 7 Seeds, an innovative seed company with Upstate and Cornell connections, and are more expensive than the regular seeds the Hoovers usually use. But the price these exotic ingredients bring are also higher. Holland has been buying up all the Hoovers can produce.
Holland is already working these unique ingredients into his menu at Sapalta, located at the Plum Point Lodge 19 miles south of Geneva on Seneca Lake's western shore.
Both Holland and the Hoovers expect this collaboration to expand and continue through the next growing season.
Plum Point Lodge on Seneca was originally known as the Rainbow Cove Resort. Geneva developer Dave Bunnell and his partners purchased the hotel, renovated it and renamed it this year. They also hired Holland to build a new farm-to-table restaurant. Sapalta was named after a specific plum variety recommended by Cornell scientists.