Egg and Parish Hall source as much produce as possible from their very own Goatfell Farm in upstate New York. Located in the Northeastern Catskills, Goatfell Farm is owned and maintained by owners and staff of the Williamsburg restaurants. I sat down with Chef Evan Hanczor to chat about his hands-on approach to managing the supply chain from production to plating.
Tell me about Goatfell Farm.
It’s a six acre farm, about an acre of which we currently grow on, located in Oak Hill, NY, near the Catskills. There’s a barn, a greenhouse, a smokehouse, and couple of ponds we dug for drainage. Our winter project is to clean up the smokehouse to start smoking meats that we serve at Egg and Parish Hall.
How often do you get out to Goatfell Farm?
I used to make it up every month, but not as often now with Parish Hall open. George [the owner] goes up almost every weekend with his family, and during the summer and fall we have groups of servers and cooks head up every couple of weeks. We have a symbiotic relationship with the land – we learn something new about it every year and try to work towards the best possible systems for growing delicious food and building the health of the soil, and the farm brings us amazing produce in return.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of owning your own farm?
We face the same problems that all small farms face – regional transportation, finding and keeping good labor, and, because of the small scale, the cost of our products ends up being higher than if we purchase from larger, more well-established farms. But in return, the quality of our products can be higher than others – it’s as fresh as it can get. The farm is also an amazing educational tool for us as cooks, servers, and eaters – to learn how the food system works, and see how neighboring farms operate, and understand what it takes to produce this kind of food. It’s also a beautiful getaway from the city, and creates a great company culture by helping to bring everyone together in a unique way.
What are you planting for this winter?
This time of year we are planting crops like garlic, onions, carrots, and radishes to overwinter and come up in the spring. We also have some heartier greens growing in the greenhouse.
What can we find on the Parish Hall and Egg menus from the farm right now?
Delicious mustard greens – so intense and at the same time very sweet. Kale, beets, and whatever greens are growing in the greenhouse, as well as some storage produce like garlic.
What is your favorite thing about Goatfell Farm?
The peacefulness, mainly. Every season has its highlights – from the snow on the ground and frozen ponds in the winter, to walking through the bean stalks in the summer and picking them off, tasting how sweet and alive they are. I always remind myself that we have to aim to make the beans taste this good at the restaurant.
Egg is open for breakfast and lunch daily, and offers brunch all day on weekends. Parish Hall is open for lunch and dinner service daily, and brunch on weekends. Egg, 135 North 5th Street, Brooklyn, (718) 302-5151 (no reservations). Parish Hall, 109A North 3rd Street, Brooklyn, (718) 782-2602.