Everyone has his or her own definition of a hero. Pull someone out of harm’s way; you are a hero. Win one for the team; you are a hero. But being a hero is not just about courage and ability, it is about a certain rarified nobility that is put into action and honed over time to produce something unique and exceptional.
Edible Hudson Valley is proud to present our fourth annual Local Hero Awards to the following organizations and individuals whose commitment to their craft and the local food shed make the Hudson Valley that much better of a place to be, and eat. Winners were chosen by the magazine’s readers who voted online last fall for their favorite food heroes. —E. Steinman
The Tavern at Diamond Mills
25 South Partition Street, Saugerties
Perched upon Esopus Creek in the town of Saugerties, the Tavern at Diamond Mills, as part of the larger Diamond Mills Hotel, is a majestic and dramatic sight. The stately Tavern is elegant but welcoming, with a wealth of natural light and dramatic views of the falls over the adjacent creek. Beyond the setting, the chef, and as a result the food, is the main draw here. CIA-trained chef Giuseppe Napoli matches the refinement of the room with menu items like a petite veal osso bucco but also contributes a bit of casual flair with a crowd-pleasing skillet burger and an assortment of housemade flatbreads, made with a rustic Mediterranean flair. The menu is rounded out with a generous selection of local cheeses and seasonal items, and the bar is stocked with local beers and spirits.
Athens, 888.887.3848, field-goods.com
If you don’t have the time, means or energy to seek out locally grown produce…that’s too bad. However, this should not relegate you to a life of inferior supermarket goods. Field Goods links farmer to consumer with a CSA-type service that provides customizable weekly deliveries to hungry customers. Mushrooms, plums, tomatoes, green garlic and purple Cherokee potatoes are just a few of the seasonal items that make up a weekly delivery, direct from local farms like Little Seed, Greig, and Fog and Thistle. While they don’t deliver directly to your doorstep (this is not Manhattan!), they do drop off at a number of businesses, office buildings, college campuses and community centers from Albany down into the Hudson Valley.
Rusty Plough Farm
Oleh & Nadia Maczaj
331 Dowe Road, Ellenville,
As the name might reveal, Rusty Plough Farm is not some vanity operation churning out a handful of heirloom tomatoes. Run by Oleh and Nadia Maczaj, this certified organic farm in Ulster County packs a lot into its modest 40 acres. Watermelon, strawberries, lettuce, squash, eggplant, beans, fresh eggs, honey and, yes, even heirloom tomatoes. As they like to say, they grow “everything from A to Z, but we haven’t really come up with an “X” vegetable.” They offer CSA shares, sell wholesale and welcome visitors (call ahead) to their bucolic bit of rustic agrarian life.
Café Le Perche
230 Warren Street, Hudson
Taking its inspiration from the rich agricultural region of Le Perche, France, this Hudson eatery is typified by the three Bs (bistro, bar and boulangerie). To be certain, the boulangerie is what makes this place so singular and so sought out. From the authentically French brioche to the elegant “Baguette du Perche,” this place does the impossible—provides a taste of French countryside to the hungry masses some 3,500 miles away. This comes courtesy of a 17-ton wood-fired Munoz oven, purchased from a farmer in Le Perche, which was shipped in pieces and painstakingly re-assembled by French masons. Sure it seems like a lot of effort for an incredible loaf of bread, but assuredly, it is worth it.
30 Main Street, Chatham
Long considered a “nano-brewery” operating off a back alley in Chatham, the Chatham Brewery recently had its coming out with the opening of its decidedly more public Main Street digs. Five years in the making, this small brewing outfit, run by Tom Crowell and Jake Cunningham, has been producing everything from their hugely popular India Pale Ale to a more robust Bourbon Barrel Aged Brown Ale (with a fair amount of additional seasonal and perennial varieties). They sell their brew, naturally at their storefront, but also at a variety of farmers’ markets, local restaurants and bars, and it comes in keg form or the slightly more diminutive growler. No matter how much you buy, or consume, even a sip is a taste of the best that is brewed in the Hudson Valley.
Hudson Valley AgriBusiness
Development Corporation /
Hudson Valley Bounty
507 Warren Street, Hudson, 518.432.5360, hvadc.org
Running a successful farm is a considerably difficult prospect. Managing a successful restaurant that provides diners with the best of the local harvest may be an even more formidable task. Hudson Valley Bounty endeavors to bridge the gap between local farmers and local tables by promoting and supporting connections between producers and culinary businesses. In addition, they provide planning and development services to prospective and established farmers, while educating the larger community about the virtues of local food production. This organization, beyond being a networking tool for farms and local businesses, serves to promote an increasingly healthy local and sustainable food shed in our region.