Ulster County, 107 miles away from Manhattan, is easily accessible via car or public transportation. In less than two hours, one can be transported from the city’s gray buildings to the Hudson Valley’s greener pastures.
Hundreds of farms harvest impressive varieties of crops, supplying local restaurants with freshly picked produce, making the region a must-visit for diners who support agricultural sustainability. Enjoy elaborate and deliciously simple meals prepared by acclaimed chefs who’ve tapped into the region’s ever-changing bounty. Here, six restaurants in Ulster County that are mastering the farm-to-table movement.
Aroma Thyme Bistro, Ellenville
This cozy eatery located in the scenic Catskills is from award-winning chef Marcus Guiliano. Only free-range, pasture-raised and certified organic meats from ranches and small farms are served. Guiliano also works with fruit and vegetable growers to customize crops specifically for the restaurant. The menu is 80% gluten-free; refined flour, white sugar, butter and cream are never used. The scrambled tofu bake, made with local kale, mushrooms, brown rice and salsa, is a brunch favorite.
Blue Mountain Bistro, Kingston
House-roasted turkey, beef and hand-crafted condiments fill this modest cafe’s sandwiches, wraps and paninis. Soups like golden beet and corn chowder are prepared daily, as well as an affordable “plats du jour” dinner, such as meatloaf (created with antibiotic-free and grass-fed Rondout Valley beef), mashed potatoes and seasonal veggies. Vegan and gluten-free options are also available. The Bistro To-Go retail section is stocked with local cheeses, honey, yogurts, salsas and much more.
Café Mio, Gardiner
Chef Michael Bernard’s M.O. is to transform Ulster County’s simple bounty into complex dishes at his sleek open-kitchen spot. The menu lists vendors (some just down the road!) the cafe supports. Breakfast is king with apple-cinnamon French toast and fruit salads spotlighting New Paltz–grown apples, berries and Kerhonkson maple syrup. Even the wine menu showcases regional specialties like Whitecliff Vineyards’ merlot and its Mountain Laurel vidal blanc. Open only for breakfast and lunch.
Henry’s at the Farm, Milton
Housed inside the bucolic Buttermilk Falls Inn and Spa, Henry’s tables overlook the property’s 40-acre Millstone Farm gardens where your meal’s ingredients were most likely picked. The freshest greens, organic fruits, veggies, herbs and eggs are used to take classics to a whole new level—like the Margherita flatbread with tomato sauce, house-pulled mozzarella and basil. Cocktails are part of a “barn to bar” concept, with a Collins concoction of local vodka and pear-rosemary puree.
Main Course, New Paltz
One of Ulster County’s biggest sustainable food movement cheerleaders makes stars of small regional farms that provide organic produce, free-range poultry, line-caught fish and hormone-free meats. Hudson Valley Cattle Company’s beef is used to make meatballs, sliders, short ribs and sirloin sandwiches. Gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options also abound with build-your-own salads featuring mizuna and micro greens and foraged chanterelle mushrooms. Even plums, cherries, melons and herbs appear in infused juices, smoothies and cocktails, such as stone-fruit and lemon sangria.
Peekamoose Restaurant & Tap Room, Big Indian
Dining in this cutely converted farmhouse enhances the experience tasting Gramercy Tavern alum chef Devin Mills’s seasonal specialties. Homemade charcuterie, burgers, corn chowder and 12-ingredient chopped salad highlight the Hudson Valley’s grass-fed beef, heirloom potatoes and greens.
Start planning your culinary adventure today at UlsterCountyAlive.com.