Thursday, 09 November 2017 20:21

New Farmer Brings the ‘Moxie’ to Her Work

Written by Himanee Gupta-Carlson
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Leah Hennessy decided to become a farmer on the day she had her first affectionate encounter with a goat. 

Now the owner of Moxie Ridge Farm & Creamery, one of the Saratoga Farmers’ Market’s newer vendors, Hennessy recalls that she was on a business trip as a wine consultant in Provence, France. She had asked if she could visit a fromagerie, or cheese shop. A day with a regional cheesemaker was arranged. 

At the end of the day, the cheesemaker took her to the barn to meet the goats. As the animals excitedly approached the equally excited American visitor, the cheesemaker murmured in French to a translator accompanying Hennessy. Hennessy caught the word “bisou.”

“I know what that means,” she exclaimed. “It means kisses.”

“That’s right,” replied the cheesemaker via the translator. “They like kisses.”

A yearling goat poked her nose through a fence, and Hennessy bent down - She was hooked.

Hennessy had worked and lived in Hollywood for eight years. She packed up that life and returned to Albany where she grew up. She poured her savings into farmer-training seminars and courses, and schooled herself in goat rearing, herd management, cheese-making, and sustainable agriculture while working at area farms.

In late 2016, through a partnership with Dirt Capital, and assistance from such organizations as American Farmland Trust, the Hudson Valley Agribusiness Development Corp., FARMroots, and the Agricultural Stewardship Association, she acquired the farm formerly operated by Longview Farm owners Dave and Liza Porter. 

In her first year, Hennessy has brought French and other European inspired cheeses to market. She also offers chicken and goose eggs, poultry, goat milk and yogurt, and pork. 

The ridge in the farm name reflects the area topography. Moxie reflects Hennessy herself – a tough woman determined to persist. She uses minimal machinery, relies on animals for land maintenance, and loves each and every animal under her stewardship passionately.

“All my life I’ve looked for something that would be meaningful to me and give me complete fulfillment,” says Hennessy, at her farm. “I’ve found it here.”

As if in agreement, chickens squawk, goats bleat, and a gaggle of geese parade between the farm entrance and her front steps.

The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays at the Lincoln Baths Building in the Saratoga Spa State Park. Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

 

Moussaka

Moussaka is an interesting dish. It can be made many different ways. Some people substitute eggplant for potatoes or zucchini. The specific blend of herbs are even debated and or changed. If anything, use this as a base and experiment. You'll get it different ways depending on where you have it in Greece. So make it your own!

Prep time: 40 mins

Cook time: 30 mins

Total time: 1 hour 10 mins

Serves: 4-6

Ingredients:

1 medium eggplant*, peeled and cut lengthwise into ½ “ thick slices

1 lb ground beef*

½ onion*, chopped

1½ tsp tomato paste

½ cup red wine*

1 cup feta*

¼ cup bread* crumbs

2 gloves crushed garlic* (to taste)

Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper

Cinnamon

2 cups milk*

2 tbsp butter*

½ cup flour

Instructions:

1.   Take sliced eggplant and place them in a bowl 
      with water and salt to soak for 15 min.

2.   Pre-heat oven to 350ºF and take eggplant slices and
       place them on baking tray. Drizzle olive oil and
       sprinkle with salt and pepper. Place in oven for
       10-12 min, or until tender. Remove and set aside.

3.   In large skillet, add olive oil and chopped onions
       and cook for 5 min, or until tender.

4.    Add beef and brown. Once brown, add: wine,
        tomato paste, salt, pepper, cinnamon, and garlic.

5.   Simmer and reduce all liquid. Once reduced, add
       bread crumbs and feta cheese. Remove from heat.

6.   Sprinkle bottom of oiled baking dish with
      bread crumbs.

7.   Line bottom of dish with ½ of eggplant, cut to make
       even and make sure entire bottom is covered.

8.   Add meat mixture on top and spread evenly. Then
       add remaining eggplant slices to cover top.

Bechamel Sauce:
       Heat milk in pan. Then add butter and melt. Slowly 
       stir in flour. Stir continually over low- med heat 
       until thick. Once thick, remove from heat and 
       pour over eggplant/ meat mixture. Spread 
       bechamel evenly over top.

9.   Sprinkle with cinnamon and feta
10. Bake for 30min at 350ºF, until golden brown

 

*(Adapted from recipe by Kenton and Jane Kotsiris of  lemonandolives.com)

Read 159 times Last modified on Thursday, 09 November 2017 20:26

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