MALONE — Fresh garden vegetables, meats from grass-fed animals and more were showcased at a networking session between local farmers and chefs.
Turnout was low Tuesday at “Speed Dating for Farmers and Chefs,” a first-time event, but enthusiasm for the program, sponsored by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Franklin County, was high as a variety of vendors talked about their products and small businesses.
Many participants already supply restaurants in the region with some of their meats, cheeses, fruits and vegetables, but the event — held at Donovan’s Steak and Ale in Malone — was a chance to expand their reach to others.
LOOKING TO EXPAND
Michelle Asselin of Harmony Hills Farmstead in Malone sells 100 percent registered Black Angus beef and Berkshire pigs raised with no hormones or other growth stimulants.
Her farm has 70 free-range pastured pigs of varying ages, 26 cattle that are fed no grain and hundreds of pastured chickens and turkeys.
She typically sells her meats at farmers markets in the region and has regular sales to restaurants in Saranac Lake and Lake Placid.
But she wants to connect with more chefs to boost business.
“At this time of year, I’d really like to rely on more wholesale markets,” Asselin said.
Beth Downing of Burke had a display booth full of information about the Northern Adirondack Lamb Cooperative, which brings together five lamb producers who supply grass-fed lamb to local restaurants and individuals.
“We pool our resources to sell to restaurants in Lake Placid and Saranac Lake,” she said, and they supply Irises restaurant and the North Country Food Cooperative in Plattsburgh, as well as Donovan’s.
Downing said the challenge for co-op members is getting the lamb processed, since there is only one U.S. Department of Agriculture-approved slaughterhouse in the region within a practical distance.