Of course we stand by all the stories we produce in a given year, but for whatever reason, it’s normal to have personal preferences. Here are our editors’ favorites from 2014:
Eileen M. Duffy: “Coq au Vignette” by Marilee Foster
I’d recommend reading anything by Marilee Foster, who runs her family farm in Sagaponack. She has been writing the Farmgirl Angst column for Edible East End since the magazine started in 2005. (Our 10th anniversary is coming up!) And for quick read that exposes us to the quotidian and uncommon realities of farm life, which the majority of us will never experience, and a consideration of topics beyond her hedgerows that touch on history and philosophy while employing meticulous and economical word choice, you couldn’t do better. Then read it again, because you probably missed something the first time. The column referenced above discusses what do to when a rooster mysteriously shows up outside your coop. Go ahead and find out.
Brian Halweil: “Should We Hunt Our Deer?” by Marilee Foster
The deer problem is an endless topic of conversation among farmers on Long Island. But unfortunately it’s rarely discussed by eaters. In typical Farmgirl Angst style, Marilee Foster concisely and persuasively explains why farmers problems are all our problems, and why wider hunting of deer makes sense on many levels. “A debate about whether we should or shouldn’t shoot an abundant source of free-range protein can only happen in a society where the gross majority of people are either vegetarian or perfectly content with the meat they can buy at the supermarket.” Plus, this piece gets me excited for one of the few deer-eating celebrations on the East End, the annual Venison dinner put on by the Southampton Elks on the weekend before the Super Bowl.
Caroline Lange: “Under the Tracks and Off the Grid, Urban Garden Center Rises Up” by Carrington Morris
The Urban Garden Center is up in my neighborhood, in Harlem — so Carrington’s story hit quite literally close to home. It’s amazing to see a center like the UGC pop up, so full of leafy life in the middle of the city, and beneath the MetroNorth line no less. Carrington tells a wonderful story about a major asset to the community.
Gabrielle Langholtz: “How New York Legislation Helped Put Local Liquor in Your Cabinet” by Amy Zavatto
It’s axiomatic that a mother can’t have a favorite child, but I’m particularly proud of our feature on the surprising foremost force behind the recent blossoming of locavore liquor. And I quote: “While the upstart craft distilling boom may seem like a natural outgrowth of New York’s agricultural bounty and the locavore DIY movement, in fact the recent spirited gold rush is the direct result of forces that few drinkers are even aware of: innovative changes to state liquor laws.” The 2007 Farm Distillery Act opened the spigot of opportunity; less than a decade later, New York is home to 40 farm distilleries — and counting. Read the story, and raise a New Year’s glass of New York booze to Albany’s liquor-loving legislators.
Lauren Wilson: Edible Films
Our websites saw lots of changes over the past year. In addition to receiving a new skin and new stories, we produced over a dozen new Edible Films across Manhattan, Brooklyn and the East End. Thanks to our talented videographers Aaron Pattap and Scott Gordon Bleicher (who’s also the photo editor of Edible Manhattan and Edible Brooklyn), we showed you how to choose the right glass for your beer, how to make sumac tea, what it’s like to be the director of coffee for Irving Farm Coffee and much, much more. I’m especially a fan of the above Happy Valley Meat Company video that takes us inside their Pennsylvania slaughterhouses. Humanely raised and slaughtered beef never looked so good.
Carrington Morris: “Tree of Knowledge” by David Flaherty
“Tree of Knowledge” tells of one dreamer’s discovery of a hidden apple orchard, kindred to a long-ago remembered one, and his nurturing of it against all common wisdom to create a prized cider now deemed among the best in its field. So glad to see this story make it to our 2014 best-of list, just because I wish everyone the pleasure of this read.