Fire Extinguishes Water

Storms No Match For Fire Feast at Pitney Meadows Community Farm – Tuesday, July 30

Mandy Weinerman

SARATOGA SPRINGS – Did you know, right off of one of Saratoga’s busiest thoroughfares, there is a farm that produces an abundance of organic vegetables and grains? This farm to school location provides local children with healthy snacks. Through Pitney Meadow Community Farms’ Giving Garden, vegetables are donated to more than 20,000 food insecure households in our community. 

There are numerous community and children’s garden beds all beautifully maintained and sized.  Each plot comes with access to water, soil and compost. Beehives are carefully placed around the perimeter of the Pitney Farm, while the primary gardens surround the main attraction, a High Tunnel, where occasions can be celebrated and meetings can be held. Everywhere you look – Pitney Meadows Community Farm is blossoming!

And even with all this abundance, the Pitney Meadows Board of Directors has ambitious goals for the future, including creating a new commercial kitchen, where classes such as canning, preserving and learning healthy eating habits can be taught. In addition, they hope to set aside more than 30 acres of woodlands and wetlands for hiking, biking, cross-country skiing and picnicking. 

In sum, Pitney Meadows Community Farm is creating a community around healthy, local food. In order for Pitney Meadows to achieve these goals of educating and expanding these farm programs, they need our help.


I have attended and looked forward to all three years of the Fire Feasts. I love this paragraph from the Fire Feast on the Farm 2019 program which states, “Fire Feast brings together the talented regional culinary community that is at the forefront of showcasing, encouraging and supporting the local, sustainable and seasonal food movement. We are also showcasing the varied and amazing products for farmers, foragers, fishermen, wineries, breweries, bakeries and distilleries from within our vibrant community.”

Pitney Meadows Community Farms’ natural beauty is put on full display during their Fire Feast. I challenge you to find a more beautiful backdrop for a sunset. White linen tables intermix with wooden picnic tables all around the High Tunnel. Fresh wild flowers rest in mason jars while tables of fresh, varied, tasty cheeses, breads, pickled produce and spreads overflow their cutting boards. You want Brie, sharp Cheddar, Swiss, aged Blue cheese – then you have come to the right place.

I began my culinary night at the charcuterie tables. I utilized one hand to create flavor bursting concoctions, and the other to kindly and frequently flag down one of the many volunteers who carried hand passed hors d’oerves – such as mac and cheese, chicken sliders, deviled eggs and shrimp tostadas. 

As the winds picked up and the outside partygoers now joined the insiders, the beverage purveyors began to come from table to table to pour, explain their cocktails and toast the night. The winner in my book was the Rose` from Old Tavern Farm Winery. Although I am usually not a fan of sweet wines, this particular wine was just the ticket tonight. And beautifully packaged- I would buy this wine just for decorative purposes alone!

My favorite part of the Fire Feast on the Farm is the laid back, non pretentious, like minded mood of all in attendance. People aren’t in a hurry, they are not looking to out dress the other people, and tables are meant to be shared. 

This year, the fire feast felt more like a party than previous years. There were the sounds of Rich Ortiz during the abundant cocktail hour, and then The Garland Nelson Ensemble took to the stage to turn this event into a party. Despite the uninvited down pours and lightning, everyone was just fine with being herded into the High Tunnel, and then set out to the pasture once the weather was clear. My heart did shed a few tears for all the hard work of the pit masters and their teams who stood outside in the pouring rain, holding onto their tents as the wind attempted to extinguish their pit and in turn taking my next bite with them. 

As the masses descended upon the dessert table one of my favorite tastes from the night came from the recently harvested beeswax honey combs found in the back corner of the Pitney Meadows Farm. This golden deliciousness melted in my mouth as the beekeeper himself explained the bees and his process to provide me with such a tasty treat. 

I want to make sure my vegetarian readers know that despite Mack Brook Farm providing 85 pounds of mouth watering beef brisket that was cooked and devoured by the masses, my favorite meal of the night was from the vegetable pit. This beautiful portrait of grilled vegetables, spices, Naan, and inspired condiments was almost too pretty to eat. They say (somewhere) that you ‘eat with your eyes first’ – and so each pit dish was dressed up to WOW, with the perfect complement of accoutrements and garnishes – A feast for all my senses, indeed!

Kim London, one of the Co-Event Coordinators (along with Kevin London and Kim Klopstock) of the night expressed her feelings to me. She stated that it was amazing to see so many people participate and have amazing attitudes toward the farm and our community. She stated that this event brought out the best in everyone from the chefs and farmers to the other people in the community who contributed by donating the stage for the music or the donors that gave firewood for the pits. 

I couldn’t agree more. From this partygoers point of view, despite the summer temperature, raging torrential downpours and lightning, the Fire Feast went off as well as any indoor black-tie event would have. Men and women banded together to bring tables in and out again, food was served inside the tent rather than near their pits and donators feasted, danced and enjoyed all the freshness and beauty before them. 

It has been my pleasure to watch this event grow, change and evolve into a Saratoga summer must attend event! Enjoy this delicious gallery…

Gallery – Fire Feast at the Farm

(Click on any picture to begin…)

Photos / Editing: Arthur Gonick – August 2, 2019

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