By NICOLE REED
At Rye’s Down to Earth Farmers Market, there was a funny moment from Yellow Bell Farm that I want to share.
Last February, in the depths of one of the coldest winters we all remember, I called up poultry farmer Katie Bogdanffy and asked, “So, what’s it like to be a chicken in the winter?”
“Seriously, they’re more comfortable than we are these days,” she said with a laugh.
Her response was due to the care she gives to her flock of Cornish Cross Chickens, who were nestled warm and toasty inside their coop. In the name of comfort, every morning at 5 a.m., all year round, Katie begins the day by checking in on her birds. During winter’s dark mornings, all through to the bright glory of summer, she’s there.
Katie completes every step of her chickens’ care by hand. There are no mechanics in the process, even in the inevitable, final step. In the morning, she draws them fresh water and replenishes their feed, a custom seed blend, milled on the farm, without any chemical additives. Her daily ritual ensures a happy and healthy flock, free of antibiotics. She repeats the process every night.
“I love producing a healthy, quality product,” Bogdanffy said. “The best part is getting the great feedback at the farmers market.”
Katie grew up on a New York poultry farm, and now she’s the third generation to earn her livelihood by raising chickens. As her mother, Nancy Austin, said, “it’s in [Katie’s] genes.”
After years of honing her skills with her family at Feather Ridge Farm, in 2014, she’s built her own nest under the name Yellow Bell Farm. Katie wanted a bright, cheery name for her new venture, and she chose Yellow Bell as the name for her favorite flower, the buttercup.
Looking to the future, Katie said she’ll continue with fresh chicken meat and eggs, and plans for a line of more diversified chicken products, too.
To showcase what we can create with Yellow Bell’s poultry, Nancy gave me the family’s recipe for Chicken Piccata. Imagine this dish with a farm-fresh salad, a slice of French-style bread and a sweet treat for dessert.
Then add in a cocktail made from something delicious by Tuthilltown Spirits Farm Distillery. They’ll be at the Rye Farmers Market on Sunday, Aug. 10 as a rotating vendor.
The market takes place in the parking lot behind the Purchase Street stores. It runs every Sunday, from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., through Dec. 7, 2014. It features local farmers and food makers, who source as locally as possible. Together, they offer seasonal fruits, produce and flowers; pasture-raised meat, poultry and eggs; fresh breads and baked goods; cheese, pickles; locally roasted, fair trade coffee and nuts; prepared foods to go and more. Enjoy all the market has to offer, including this craving-inducing recipe from Yellow Bell Farm.
Yellow Bell Farm Chicken Piccata
Two skinless and boneless Yellow
Bell Farm chicken breasts, butterflied
and then cut in half
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
All-purpose flour, for dredging
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup brined capers, rinsed
1/3 cup fresh chopped parsley
Season chicken with salt and pepper. Dredge chicken in flour and shake off excess.
In a large skillet over medium high heat, melt two tablespoons of butter with three tablespoons olive oil. When butter and oil start to sizzle, add chicken and cook till done. Pierce with a fork to test when done.
Remove and transfer to plate.
Into the pan, add the lemon juice, stock and capers. Return to stove and bring to a boil, scraping up brown bits from the pan for extra flavor. Check for seasoning. Return all the chicken to the pan and simmer for five minutes. Remove chicken to platter. Add remaining two tablespoons butter to sauce and whisk. Pour sauce over chicken and garnish with parsley. Enjoy.