Scenes from Our Farms: I & Me Farm, Bedford Hills

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Name of Farm

I & Me Farm

Address

Bedford Hills

Web site

meme752@hotmail.com

Meeting a person who is passionate about what they do is inspiring and MiMi Edelman is one passionate woman! I thoroughly enjoyed my time with her, hearing her stories, listening to her talk about her crops as though they were her friends. Mimi’s has a true love of the land, she grows with intention and takes her responsibility to the earth very seriously.  She grows organic but she also employs biodynamic farming methods.  I believe that this one description of biodynamic farming really sums up Mimi’s approach to farming, “In organic farming, you try to give back the same amount as you take out. In Biodynamics, you give more back to the earth than you take out.”  I & Me Farm is not open to the  public, but chefs and educational groups may visit by appointment.

How long has the farm been in the family  (history of the farm) 

The farm was started in 2009, at the time it was my partner Eileen Zidi & myself.  Then Eileen left to open DISH in Mahopac so I’ve been tending the land since then.  The property is part of a Westchester Land Trust program that matches farmers with property owners who have available land. I’m from a Scottish family, my father, grandfather and great-grand father all worked the land or bred horses and dogs.  My father was a horticulturist so soil really runs through my blood.

How many acres are on the farm?

Our part of the farm is 3 acres of about a 180 acre property.

What do you grow?

I grow a pretty diverse amount of produce. It’s always a sort of changing edible landscape around here. Some things I grow are specific requests from chefs, others are things I’m passionate about like this wonderful Misato rose radish – it has a green rind and white flesh and in the very center is a firework splash of red – its so gorgeous on the plate.  That’s the kind of things I love to grow.  The other way I choose my crops is through stories. I love a crop that has a story.  I like to grow ‘Ark of Taste’ vegetables.  Ark of Taste is like the endangered animals list but instead it relates to produce, grains, fish, fruits and meats.  I have a Fish Pepper in my garden, it’s a little fickle and doesn’t have a great yield so along the way it gets passed over because it doesn’t have the predictability some farmers look for.  But it has this great story about the seed that came over from Africa with the slaves to make the gruel that they were fed on the plantations more flavorful.  It’s a wonderful story.  I love the idea of growing things that many people don’t necessarily choose. I like to think that I bring the finishing touch to the dish – the color, the flavor – the ‘wow’!

How has the farm changed over the years?

Well, it’s gotten bigger and we added the hoop house this past winter.  We were kind of spread out previously so now I have everything together.  The hoop house had been great, while its not a greenhouse, I do use it to start seeds.

Where do you sell your produce?

I sell to Bedford Post, Restaurant North and some to Mt Kisco Childcare, My Second Home and to Farmer & The Fish.

Do you participate in CSA and/or farmer’s market?

We participate in an RSA (Restaurant Supported Agriculture) – its a relatively new movement happening across the country.  Each RSA is a very individual partnership between farmer and restaurant or chef.  We have a work program, we do events and dinners together, and of course growing crops.  I teach the chefs about new produce and they reach me.  Seeing the chefs create such wonderful dishes from my crops is amazing.  This year Chef Jeremy from The Bedford Post wanted to get into wild edibles so we grew wild edibles: goose-foot, nettles.  We foraged in the Spring and we’ll forage in September for jewel berries.  We started adding a wildness to the menu that’s been fantastic.

Tell us about your most successful season?

Well, I think I’m still waiting for that!  I’m just really glad to be above ground and to do a hard days work.  This is one of those jobs where it really revitalizes you, it’s so good for me as a person. The success isn’t measured in dollars and cents its measured by a livelihood that allows me to be constantly replenished and rewarded.

What was your hardest season and why?

We were late with our tomatoes the year of the blight, and we were thinking that maybe by being late and keeping the plants indoors we might slide by but no – we were hit.  The hard part really is mental, in my own head.  Keeping the energy and stamina to just keep going every day.

What is your favorite thing to grow or raise, and why?

Salad greens because they have such great texture, colors and flavors.  They each have their own little personalities – some are wonderful rosettes and so fragrant.  I love to make salad blends with chervil, dill or tiny leaf basil so that when someone puts it in their mouth they get this wonderful surprise flavor.

Is there a lesson that you’ve learned farming that you might apply to life?

I think being part of the natural world – the things you can see and cannot see in the landscape is a very empowering and wonderful connection.  I feel I play a very small part in the dynamics,  the balance and the harmony of this land.  Being part of the cycle of life and not passing it by, just being present with where you are at that very moment is a major lesson.

Do you have a favorite recipe from the farm that you’d like to share?

For me, it’s a good salad.  Chef Jeremy made a wonderful Spring Italian Bread Salad – he used fresh greens, charred the bread, some good olive oil and maybe some cheese or nuts – we used a lot of wild flavors like the wild chives.  It was fantastic!

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About Author

Contributing blogger Margaret Rizzuto is a portrait and food photographer with an interest in vegetarian and raw foods (though she does admit to occasional indulgences in seafood). Margaret lives and works in Lower Hudson Valley where she loves being surrounded by the beauty of nature, the farms, and of course, great food. She admits to being obsessed with the Food Channel to the point where she’ll even watch shows where meat is being cooked—meat that being a vegetarian she knows she’ll never cook. She loves all the techniques, ingredients and creativity that go into cooking. When not shooting, Margaret can often be found in her garden battling slugs or in her kitchen trying out a new recipe. To see some of Margaret’s food work visit http://www.mrpculinaryart.com or see her portrait work at http://www.margaretrizzutophotography.com

1 Comment

  1. Although I have heard about farmers growing specifically for chefs, I never knew it had a name — RSA. Margaret, I love how you captured the essence of I & Me farms not only in your beautiful pictures but in Mimi’s own story. I will be very mindful the next time I see I & Me produce on a menu and will know where it comes from.

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