...and orange and yellow! With a new heirloom section at Bhumi Farms, farmer Fran and Chef Meg Huylo get deep into their shared love for a summer staple: tomatoes.
What brought you to the East End? Frank: The short answer is that I moved out to East Hampton in April 2013 to start my farm. Prior to that, I was living in Tribeca, living the typical city life. The last variable is that I became a firm believer of food as a healer or harmer to our overall health, and I mixed all that into a pot, and I morphed into Farmer Frank. What sets Bhumi apart from all the other farms out East? Meg: The quality of the produce—the flavor, the color, the texture, the nutrients! I’ve never tasted tomatoes quite like the ones that come out of these fields.
What is your favorite thing you grow on the farm? Frank: When I first started it was radishes. I think watermelons bring the biggest smile to my face now, and heirloom tomatoes cause the most wonderment. What is the best seller at the stand? Frank: People seem to really enjoy our greens, because they have such a full deep taste to them that is a direct result of our focus on soil health. Also, tomato purists enjoy the fact we don’t spray our tomatoes with anything, including copper, which eliminates that sometimes bitter metallic acidic feeling you may get from other tomatoes. And our sugar snaps get sold before they are picked.
What’s your favorite summer ingredient to cook with and why? Meg: Fresh herbs are a great way to build flavor and enhance the main ingredient without altering it.
What are you drinking this summer? Meg: Lambrusco rosato frizzante. It’s refreshing and crisp.
What is your favorite activity outside the farm? Frank: Geez, this is such a hard question, because I don’t know that I have other activities outside the farm during the farm season—outside of farming, thinking about farming, and sleeping.
Now that you are a “local,” do you have a favorite spot to eat? Meg: Dopo la Spiaggia, for sure.
What’s next for Bhumi? Frank: We took a big step this year and redesigned our farm into two components, both still certified organic. We have a specialty product farm, called Heirloom by Farmer Frank, that will grow open-pollinated and heirloom tomatoes, and market them as someone would wine grapes. Heirloom is on the south side, and the Bhumi Farm Stand is on the north side.
Who is your biggest celebrity sighting at the stand thus far? Is there anyone you would love to cook for? Meg: I’m holding out for the day when Jon Hamm appears at the window asking what to do with tatsoi.