FEATURES : FOOD / DRINK

Eagle Street Rooftop Farm Benefit

By Leigh Patterson

Published August 23, 2011

Annie Novak harvesting for the benefit at Eagle Street Rooftop Farm

Photo: Michael A. Muller

Annie Novak harvesting for the benefit at Eagle Street Rooftop Farm

Annie Novak harvesting for the benefit at Eagle Street Rooftop Farm

Photo: Michael A. Muller

Annie Novak harvesting for the benefit at Eagle Street Rooftop Farm

A new batch on its way

Photo: Michael A. Muller

A new batch on its way

The Manhattan skyline in the distance

Photo: Rose Callahan

The Manhattan skyline in the distance

A chicken run built by the Haslegraves for the farm.

Photo: Rose Callahan

A chicken run built by the Haslegraves for the farm.

The farm's office

Photo: Michael A. Muller

The farm's office

Chalkboard signage used for the farm when it opens to the publc on Sundays

Photo: Michael A. Muller

Chalkboard signage used for the farm when it opens to the publc on Sundays

Goat Town

Photo: Michael A. Muller

Goat Town

Interior designed by hOmE

Photo: Michael A. Muller

Interior designed by hOmE

Interior of Goat Town

Photo: Michael A. Muller

Interior of Goat Town

As local as can be. The backyard garden provides a bounty of ingredients for the menu

Photo: Michael A. Muller

As local as can be. The backyard garden provides a bounty of ingredients for the menu

Radish from the garden

Photo: Michael A. Muller

Radish from the garden

Executive chef Jessica Wilson in her kitchen

Photo: Michael A. Muller

Executive chef Jessica Wilson in her kitchen

Goat Town owner Nicholas Morgenstern with chef Jessica Wilson

Photo: Michael A. Muller

Goat Town owner Nicholas Morgenstern with chef Jessica Wilson

Inside the event at Paulie Gee's

Photo: Rose Callahan

Inside the event at Paulie Gee's

Inside the event at Paulie Gee's

Photo: Rose Callahan

Inside the event at Paulie Gee's

Jeremy Wilson of Elsa bartending

Photo: Rose Callahan

Jeremy Wilson of Elsa bartending

The Haslegraves, Evan, Oliver and Hadley

Photo: Rose Callahan

The Haslegraves, Evan, Oliver and Hadley

Annie Novak speaking with friends

Photo: Rose Callahan

Annie Novak speaking with friends

Michael Mast from Mast Brothers Chocolate with Evan Haslegrave and friends

Photo: Rose Callahan

Michael Mast from Mast Brothers Chocolate with Evan Haslegrave and friends

Paul Giannone owner of Paulie Gee's

Photo: Rose Callahan

Paul Giannone owner of Paulie Gee's

Brewer Pete Lengyel

Photo: Rose Callahan

Brewer Pete Lengyel

Jessica Wilson and Annie Novak

Photo: Rose Callahan

Jessica Wilson and Annie Novak

This was only a partial list of the menu

Photo: Rose Callahan

This was only a partial list of the menu

Cucumber tartar with goat cheese mousse

Photo: Rose Callahan

Cucumber tartar with goat cheese mousse

Egg and roe

Photo: Rose Callahan

Egg and roe

Cucumber tartar with goat cheese mousse

Photo: Rose Callahan

Cucumber tartar with goat cheese mousse

Paulie Gee's specially constructed wood-fired oven

Photo: Rose Callahan

Paulie Gee's specially constructed wood-fired oven

A surprise addition to the menu

Photo: Rose Callahan

A surprise addition to the menu

Everyone that was involved

Photo: Rose Callahan

Everyone that was involved

The evening winds down

Photo: Rose Callahan

The evening winds down

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There is a New York City circle that begins and ends with Brooklyn brothers Evan and Oliver Haslegrave (of “hOmE” design firm fame) No one is exactly sure how they met the brothers, but the circle of their influence is ever-widening:

Annie Novak, farming savant who maintains Greenpoint’s Eagle Street Rooftop Farm, thinks she met them through Van Leeuwen ice cream proprietors.

Nick Morgenstern, owner of the East Village restaurant Goat Town, thinks he heard of them through a “friend who owns a swimming school.” 

Paul Giannone of Paulie Gee’s restaurant, also in Greenpoint, met the brothers when they offered to turn his pizzeria dream into an impeccably-designed reality.

No matter how people meet the Haslegraves or how they are affiliated with hOmE (an acronym of the brothers’ names along with sisters Hadley and Morgan), these associations have, in more than a few instances, served to connect multiple businesses and individuals around the city.

The brothers hOmE designed the interior of Goat Town, which opened last year on East 5th and Avenue A. Brilliantly realized, the restaurant is stunning, with subway-tiled booths, sturdy wooden fixtures, and a giant industrial bar — all designed and installed by the brothers. Along with creating an urban barn environment in Paulie Gee’s restaurant, full of contrasting re-salvaged wood and antique fixtures, they also designed the interior of the innovative Alphabet City speakeasy Elsa and constructed a practical chicken run for Eagle Street Rooftop Farm.

Eagle Street, the 6000-square-foot farm, educational center, and pop-up farmer’s market, sells a portion of its weekly bounty to area restaurants, including Paulie Gee’s. Novak also helped install and continues to maintain a backyard garden in Goat Town, from which the restaurant sources many of its dishes.

** 

Last Monday night, each party joined forces in a hOmE-organized dinner benefit for Eagle Street. The evening, hosted by Paulie Gee’s, featured a produce-centric meal with vegetables straight from the gardens of Eagle Street, Goat Town, and a couple other farm affiliates.

The meal was another exercise in (delicious) collaboration: Paulie Gee’s wood-fired pizzas were topped with garden kale and herbs. Small plates were prepared by Goat Town chef Jessica Wilson: crostini topped with fresh pesto, roasted fennel, arugula, and slivered almonds; skewered eggplant and pickled tomatoes; grilled summer squash topped with lemon jam; and a tomato-watermelon salad made with some of the freshest, most flavorful heirloom tomatoes found in King’s County. Goat Town also supplied homemade ice cream from one of their roving ice cream carts.

Elsa served delicious sangria and lemony cocktails; other friends of the Haslegraves – Pete Lengyel, Lorcan Precious, and Oliver Burkat – provided the beer.

**

The event – not only the food, which was just perfect – but the entire evening’s execution, only furthered the notion of wanting a place like Eagle Street Farm to succeed. It’s not about “urban farming” being trendy. It’s about “urban farming” actually working, and succeeding in an incredibly collaborative and unique manner.

While plucking basil the day before the event, Novak made the comment: “When people buy food for reasons other than taste is when things get interesting.” From the looks of Monday’s sold-out benefit, neither has to be sacrificed.

COMMENTS

Lucent Imagery
said at 8pm
August 23, 2011

Oh. This is where I was last night. If I lived in New York/Brooklyn and not Australia. I love everything about this event, the photos, the post. So glad to have discovered your magazine through Michael Muller's blog.

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