"We're hardwired to want to know where our food comes from," says chef Dan Barber, of Blue Hill at Stone Barns in New York (holding locally cured ham).
Blue Hill's kitchen is stocked with ingredients (like carrots) from the surrounding pastures and gardens.
Men at Work
The pastures and gardens are overseen by head grower Jack Algiere and livestock manager Craig Haney.
Farm apprentices, including 25-year-old Adriane Tillman, work with the Stone Barns staff to harvest crops (here, lovage, arugula, and snap peas).
Putting Together a Menu
They collect the hen eggs and breed the geese that live on the farm. What the farm staff gathers each day "really writes the menu," says Barber.
New American Gothic
Organic farming is "the most important thing I could be doing," says Stone Barns farm manager Jack Algiere. His wife, Shannon, manages the seeds and seedlings for plants, with children Sedge, 3, and Ojiah, 6 months, always close at hand. "Connections between the grower and the community, the farmer and the cook—that's what we're working on," adds Algiere.
The soil at Stone Barns is rich and fertile, thanks to a well-managed compost program. "Soil protects, nourishes, and flavors the plants that are living in it," says Algiere. "It represents millions and millions of years of work. It's our job not to mess it up."
Sampling the Merchandise
"We keep each other honest," says Barber of Algiere (sampling snow peas together). "Jack's free to sell to the public; I can buy from other farmers."
The animals at Stone Barns are overseen by livestock manager Craig Haney, who looks after 20 beehives, 6,100 chickens, 120 geese, 650 turkeys, 167 sheep, and 247 pigs, including this piglet.
American Food Culture
One of the farm apprentices, 28-year-old Johnny Wilson (above), decided to change careers because he "worked in an office and hated it," he says. "Organic farmers are part of the creation of an American food culture."