Local, sustainable, flavorful, and fresh.
These are the adjectives most often used by the numerous outstanding artisanal food and drink producers in our area. But there’s one more common factor: passion.
As River Journal embarks on a new series that highlights makers in the River Towns, we invite you to come and meet them … enjoy the tour.
Elina Dart on her coffee farm.
Beans that Pack a Big Bang
It was Elina Dart’s experience as a barista and lover of coffee shops that led her to open Big Bang Coffee Roasters in Peekskill.
Studying developmental economics in college, she learned that coffee is the number one traded commodity after oil, but its farmers are often greatly exploited. An immersive internship at an Hawaiian coffee farm followed, then she bought a roaster, set it up in her garage and started to develop a style.
“I’m anti-trend,” she declares. “I try to find the sweet spot of each bean.” Eight years later, Dart works out of premises in Peekskill’s Hat Factory, and is passionate about her fair trade, organic product, delivered in all-compostable packaging. For the holidays she’s offering a special espresso blend, The Solstice.
Something Belgian Is Brewing in Tarrytown
Engineer Justin DiNino of Duncan’s Abbey brewery in Tarrytown fell in love with Trappist-style beers when traveling in France and Belgium. “Like wine,” he explained, “they’re unique to their own locations.”
He set up his brewery in 2013 and now offers some 17 Belgian-style beers, in both the Trappist (non-sour) and Flanders (sour) style.
His Tarrytown location supplies a unique flavor to his sour brews because of the Hudson Valley terroir. Where the Hudson widens and slows, a special air current, carrying wild yeast and bacteria from orchards further north, imparts fabulous flavor to the beer. “There are seasonal influences too – honey and floral in the spring, apple and citrus in the fall,” DiNino says. In October, he canned the Tarrytown Dubbel for the first time.
Yo Ho Ho! and a Sip of Rum … over Ice
If your preference is for harder liquor, specifically rum, did you know there’s an importer of aged, cask-strength, premium rums based in Irvington? Holmes Cay – Single Cask Rum, a brand founded by husband and wife Maura Gedid and Eric Kaye, import hard-to-find rums from many countries that are comparable to aged bourbon or single malt whiskies.
“Our rums are meant for sipping, perhaps with a little piece of ice,” explains Gedid. Even – or maybe especially – during the pandemic, the response to their rums has been incredible, country-wide, and the bottles make perfect gifts for the hard-to-please. My Sherry & More in Irvington carries the line, and offers samples.
Elsbeth Lindner is Editor of River Journal.