So what are we talking about in the aftermath of Irene? If you’re like my friend, Aiko, you lost power for a week (but now you’re back on the grid). If you’re like me, you have boggy spots in the basement and no lasting damage.
But if you’re like the farms that supply Westchester and New York City, you might have lost crops that represent a year’s investment. What was a rainstorm down here, was, up there, a financial disaster from which some New York farming families won’t recover.
Food writer Gabriella Gershenson,an editor at Saveur, joined Kat Kinsman (CNN), Rachel Wharton (Edible Manhattan and Edible Brooklyn), and a few others to organize Dine Out Irene, an event to benefit New York farms affected by the storm. On September 25, Manhattan’s Blue Hill, Red Rooster Harlem, Annisa, Buttermilk Channel, (and scores of others) will donate 10 percent of their receipts to GrowNYC and Just Food. The two organizations will distribute funds to farmers in need.
In Westchester, you can join me in reaching out to affected farms by dining at the following participating restaurants: Birdsall House, Sweet Grass Grill, Tomatillo, Meritage Restaurant, Tavern Restaurant at the Highlands Country Club, and River City Grille. Keep checking Dine Out Irene for more local participants.
Recently, I spoke with Tim Reinke, who is happy to donate 10 percent of the entire day of Birdsall House’s proceeds to Dine Out Irene. They’ll be celebrating the day by tapping an all-Westchester rarity: a cask of Captain Lawrence Freshchester Pale Ale, dry-hopped with hops grown at Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture.
David Starkey—whose two restaurants, Sweet Grass Grill and Tomatillo, will be also participating in Dine Out Irene—said of the event, “I wouldn’t be open if it weren’t for local farms. Every farmer I know was hit—and some were devastated. Some are still under water, with their whole crop wiped out.”
How can we help? It’s simple. This Sunday, September 25, dine at participating restaurants. Call a few friends, have a few drinks—what the hell: get loaded, spend some money, and call in sick on Monday. You’ll never have a better excuse.