“If you can dream it, you can do it.” —Walt Disney
While culturally Walt Disney might be one of our most quintessential dreamer-doers, this spring “Innovation” issue of Edible Long Island proves that Long Island has always been ripe with entrepreneurial dreamers who get things done.
To that point, I would like to offer a few teasers from this issue:
Imagine a 300-square-foot area of Long Island Sound producing 24 tons of edible and highly nutritious seaweed in just five months. Seems crazy, but Bren Smith of Thimble Island Oysters did just that.
This salty dreamer-doer also farms oysters, clams, mussels and scallops all the while improving the water quality of the sound and restoring its ecosystem. Personifying a little bit of the oceanographic know-how of Jacques Cousteau and the grassroots drive of Pete Seeger, Smith realized his dream of creating a sustainable 3-D ocean farm just about 20 nautical miles from our North Shore.
Nelson Sterner, executive director of the Bayard Cutting Arboretum, and farmer Jen Campbell envisioned that a few acres in a picturesque New York State park could produce food while maintaining its aesthetic reputation. The powers that be up in Albany agreed and, with the support of their endowing benefactor, the Bayard Cutting Trust, a CSA was born. Three years later, the CSA is nearly financially sustainable and local member families are reaping the benefits of growing their own food. The CSA has also partnered with the LakeHouse Restaurant in Bay Shore, and its diners are savoring chef Matthew Connors’s locally inspired meals.
Over 100 years ago, Greenlawn housewife Christine Frederick believed that efficiency in the home would bring forth a solution to domestic drudgery. This icon in the field of home economics transformed her kitchen into the Applecroft Home Experiment Station. From the standardization of kitchen counter heights to the placement of dish drying racks, Mrs. Frederick was a visionary and pioneer for the early-20th-century homemaker.
Philippe Corbet and James Orlandi, chef co-owners of Roots Bistro Gourmand in West Islip, while traditionally schooled in the culinary arts, are quickly earning themselves a cutting-edge reputation in the world of contemporary gastronomy. Inventive cocktails and entrées, sketched out in Corbet’s da Vinci-esque composition book, are created with locally sourced ingredients and fused with the latest culinary technology, yielding a dining experience that “shatters the traditional assumptions of what a restaurant should be.”
Spring forward with Edible Long Island as we salute the dreamers and doers that feed and inspire us.