On a sunny day last week, a friend took me to visit a place I’ve passed by thousands of times in the past twenty years and always wanted to see: Quail Hill, a farm cooperative in Amagansett on eastern Long Island, a stone’s throw from the ocean between East Hampton and Montauk.
|The Orchard at Quail Hill|
I know a little about farm coops, because I knew a guy who ran one for many years. Coop members could donate work or money or both, and in return, they got a share of the veggies. That guy’s farm was just a few acres with a limited number of shareholders. In effect, he sold his whole crop in advance. It took some of the perennial anxiety out of farming for a living, and unlike a lot of backyard gardeners I know, he didn’t have to go around begging people to accept his excess zucchini.
We happened to visit on a special day, that of the annual “At the Common Table” dinner. This is the Hamptons, after all, heartland of the celebrity fundraiser. As the brochure states, “Guests come together in the apple orchard for cocktails and a sumptuous, four-course feast prepared by East Hampton and Amagansett chefs, using the farm's own produce, as well as regional meat, fish, and shellfish.”
|An elegant dinner for 170|
|Cock of the walk|
|Getting lettuces started|
|A whole lotta garlic|