FOOD + DRINK
S T O RY B Y B R A D L E Y H AW K S
photo by Roy Gumpel
Cut Brooklyn sources wood for its artisanal knife handles from Warwick- and Kingston-based New York Heartwoods.
IT TAKES A
New York City has long depended upon the Hudson Valley for sustenance in ways that aren’t always obvious to New Yorkers. Foremost is the water that’s piped down from Ashokan Reservoir, at the foot of the Catskill Mountains. And it’s no coincidence that New York is nicknamed the Big Apple—that moniker came from the vast orchards of imported apple trees that were planted some 300 years ago by the Huguenot settler Louis DeBois, who helped found New Paltz and established a family farm in then-fledgling Flushing. Throughout the 19th century, New York’s hotels, restaurants, and wealthier residents kept their food and dairy products chilled in ice boxes courtesy of ice blocks that were cut from the frozen Hudson River each winter, stored in icehouses throughout the valley, and delivered to the city via train. Today, so much fresh produce and other foods are transported from upstate 20 upstater
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to the city that the state has established the Hudson River Foodway Corridor, an energy-efficient, intermodal transportation route utilizing barges and trains. It’s been nearly 40 years since Alice Waters began listing on Chez Panisse’s menu the names of the farms from which she procured her ingredients—a gesture that set the food industry abuzz with the farm-to-table philosophies and locavore sensibilities and helped fuel the current national conversation about the sourcing of our food. So it seems like it’s about time we heighten our awareness of the vast but often unseen connections between apple country and the Big Apple. After all, the Hudson Valley does more than feed our hungry bellies. It also subtly shapes our culture.