Betting the Farm on It in Brooklyn

Betting the Farm on It in Brooklyn

October 03, 2011 at 3:05 pm

The egg definitely came before the chicken in this story.

In this case, the egg is a quaint, 6-year-old Williamsburg, Brooklyn restaurant called, you guess it — Egg. It’s owned by George Weld, who serves up locally sourced fresh greens, organic tomatoes and juicy beets. But the twist on this seemingly run-of-the-mill tale of a restaurateur with noble “think global, act local” intentions is that Weld actually went out and bought a farm three years ago to produce the food for his eatery.

“So much of what makes food good is what happens before it even gets to the table,” the restaurant-owner-turned-farmer told Food Curated in a recent interview.

Now, Weld grows and harvests nearly all of Egg’s produce on Goatfell Farm in upstate New York, about 2.5 hours from his restaurant.

For chef/farmers like Weld, social consciousness extends not just to the land, but also to the people who work it.

The devastation visited upon upstate New York by Tropical Storm Irene in late August seriously impacted farmers. Last week, Egg joined a long list of New York City restaurants for “Dine Out Irene,” during which participating restaurants donated up to 10 percent of sales to help those farmers rehab their land.


George Weld gives a tour of his farm in Oak Hill, N.Y., about 2.5 hours from his Brooklyn eatery, Egg. Video courtesy of Food Curated.

Weld said that the first garden he planted on the farm was about the same dimensions as his modestly sized restaurant. Today, his expanded operation grows more vegetables than the restaurant can use on about two acres of land.

Egg originally specialized in southern-style breakfast foods — grits, biscuits and gravy, ham — but eventually developed a more robust menu as the yield from the farm increased.

“We try to sneak vegetables in there and get people to eat things they might not have thought to eat for breakfast,” said Weld.

For the first two years Weld had his restaurant, he purchased locally grown produce from established farms. He said his motivation for starting Goatfell farm was not an attempt to replace those vendors, but a means of strengthening his connection to the food he serves and cooks.

Weld’s not alone. In 2004, brothers David and Dan Barber rehabilitated their family farm in Great Barrington, Mass. to supply their Blue Hill restaurants in New York City and Westchester County with fresh ingredients.

Read the full story at Food Curated.

Liza de Guia is the founder & chief storyteller of Food Curated. She’s a self-described food addict, locavore and a one-woman shooting/editing machine, who loves telling food stories and meeting people.  She lives in Brooklyn.