Edible Finger Lakes
You may know that while this magazine is independently owned and edited, it’s part of a burgeoning national (oops, international, thanks to Toronto and Vancouver!) network of free community publications celebrating something I call place-based taste. Now other Brooklynites are donning editor caps and establishing their own Edibles, making this great nation just a little more delicious.
Husband-and-wife team Michael Welch and Zoe Becker lived in Park Slope for four years, but this summer they return to Zoe’s ancestral home to launch Edible Finger Lakes. I’d love to take credit for their inspiration, but they’ve worked summers in the Hamptons—he’s a personal chef, she’s a Pilates instructor—where they discovered our sister publication, Edible East End. “We used it for all our eating adventures,” remembers Michael, “and were thrilled to find, when we came home, that there was also an Edible Brooklyn. We thought—this would be fantastic in the Finger Lakes, where there’s lots of farming, tourism, a hundred vineyards. We contacted Edible Communities who said, ‘Yeah, this would be huge.’”
Does the mag have much in common with the one you’re holding? “We run a Back of the House section,” nods Zoe, who grew up in Ithaca, “and some of the Finger Lakes foods we’ll showcase—Lively Run goat cheese and Red Jacket Orchards’ fruit, are available in Brooklyn,”—but stories like Farm Girl Diaries and What’s Eating in Geneva are altogether upstate. “It’s so much fun to meet all these farmers!” gushes Michael, who admits he won’t miss standing at stoves for a living.
Will they remember their roots? “We’ll definitely be coming back for culinary diversity trips,” says Michael. “Sahadi’s! Hot damn!”
“And we’ll have to subscribe to Edible Brooklyn,” laughs Zoe, “to stay in touch with what’s going on here.”
Edible Pioneer Valley
Melissa Weinberger lived in Brooklyn since 1996 and, like Michael and Zoe, she’s leaving town to spread the Edible gospel.
She’d been an Edible Brooklyn reader but never thought about starting her own until a friend asked her for a recipe she’d made from last spring’s issue: iCi’s pasta with peas, mint and ricotta. Rather than cut up her copy, she looked on our Web site. “That’s when I discovered the national network and thought it would be amazing to start one in western Mass., an area with tons of restaurants and farms and a super liberal population with the politics and culture to support it.”
Melissa went to UMASS and always thought the Pioneer Valley was “an incredibly special place, full of interesting people and ideas, beautiful scenery, tons of music and art.” She longed to return but loved her NYC-based editing career and doubted she could find work back in the Berks. “I’m beyond my barista years,” she laughs, “and it felt a little regressive to do the post-grad slacker thing with six roommates.”
But now she’s got a delectable business plan: Edible Pioneer Valley launches this fall.
Will life beyond the borough cause hunger pains? “I’ll miss Sahadi’s the most,” she says wistfully. “I just love the energy there and the tradition, and, of course, the almonds, hummus and olives.” And, despite the great dairies in Massachusetts, Melissa’s bracing herself for Stinky withdrawal. “It’s right around the corner and I love that you can go in and have a 20-minute conversation about goat Gouda. I learn something almost every time I go there.”
Will Melissa’s baby look like mine? “The area is a lot more rural,” she explains, “so I’ll have more of a farmer focus—you know, agricultural policy and issues affecting the small grower. There’s also quite a population of known artists, musicians and writers. I’m definitely curious to take a peek at what’s in their fridge.”
And then there’s us. No, Edible Brooklyn’s not going anywhere, but in September we’re serving up Edible Manhattan too. We figured 10 issues and two-and-a-half years was long enough to torture Gotham. More investigative journalism than food porn, more historical profile than restaurant gossip, Edible Manhattan will pull back the culinary curtain to reveal every spellbinding, mouthwatering tale in the town that has set trends for so long. It’s a big story to tell. For centuries, the city has been tastemaker for America and the world—even today, Madison Avenue food jingles influence appetites across the country. From the politics of school lunch to the quality of New York’s tap water, from Harlem’s fried chicken on waffles to bahn mi downtown, from LaGuardia’s love of hot dogs to Bloomberg’s stance on trans fats, from the meatpacking district’s days of just that to its nights of stilletos, and from the diners in “Midnight Cowboy” to the bodegas up and down Broadway—we’ll taste Manhattan.
And we won’t even have to give up Sahadi’s.