Week XI: Dan Madura Farm & Black Dirt

Sunday March 19th (11 – 3)

“I farm to feed people.”, Dan Madura

Vendor Spotlight: Dan Madura Farm

Dan Madura Farm is located in the 22 square miles of Orange County N.Y. known as the “Black Dirt” region, a unique valley of deep and richly organic soil formed from the decay of plants in the remains of a great shallow swamp that resulted from the glaciers melting away 20,000 years ago. In summertime satellite photographs, the “Black Dirt” region is a visible smear of blacks and browns at the bottom edge of the emerald-green Catskills. This is home to some of North America’s most fertile soil, the soil on which Dan Madura got his start in farming from his parents, who were started by their parents, and so on, for over five generations.

Today, there are hundreds of farms in the area, both large and small.  Dan Madura Farm is one of the smaller ones, now just under 30 acres.  It’s a year-round family run farm with as many as ten family members working in the summer and using high tunnels to grow through the winter months on a smaller scale. Madura grows all types of vegetables, some fruit, like berries or currants, a few types of hops, herbs and mushrooms.  When asked what makes his farm stand out amongst competitors, Madura humbly replies, “Nothing….we are all a simple people trying to feed people the best way we can”.  But, what about those mushrooms? It’s an extensive and exotic mushroom selection that indeed makes Dan’s farm stand out among competitors.

In a mix of spent grain, wheat straw, and sawdust, Madura grows cancer-fighting Reishi, Maitake, Enokitake, Lion’s Mane, Shiitake, King Oyster, and Pioppini mushrooms. Reishi mushrooms, which are reminiscent of deep sea creatures, are so revered in Japan, it is believed that simply gazing upon them brings one good fortune. Madura grows these mysterious and culinary exotics year-round and is working on becoming the first American to cultivate the Bluefoot mushroom, which grows wild in California and is only cultivated in France.  Dan was fatefully introduced to mycology in 1977, when surpluses of cheap vegetables from California caused him to question his viability. Armed with a biology degree and a stack of books, Madura steeped himself in all things fungal, including Eastern medicine.  Eventually, he would extend this interest into the care for all of his crops.

Madura Farm fertilizes using myco-remediation and permaculture techniques with liquid teas.  They also use companion farming, row covers, mulch, cultivators, and tilivators to combat insects and weeds. No chemicals here.  They also stay away from GMO seeds unless they are natural mutations from Mother Nature. A lot of seeds they use are heirloom, many of which are their own and natural to this region.  They were developed on the farm, by the family through hard work, perseverance and the bond that keeps them there growing the food that you find at “The SOUK” every Sunday.

When you come to the market, look for, Dan’s son-in-law, Rashaun, a market favorite, with his friendly smile. “Rashaun is like the rest of us except he is a bit taller and his hair is a bit longer but he carries the same pride and conviction that we all have he truly represents who we really are as a people in this region that’s why I chose him!”


This Week’s Specials: (In addition to regular menu items)

Fuyan, China (Floral, Citrus, Sweet)
Diego Casso, Colombia (Sweet Iced Tea, Touch of Pepper, Fresh Butter, Earthy, Tea Flower, Good Body, Clove, Raspberry Soda)
Anna Maria’s Foods: (Charcuterie below to pair with Jams)
Chorizo Seca (Dry Cured Chorizo)
Trufeseca (Dry Cured Black Truffle Sausage) 
Anthi’s Greek Food:
Chicken Souvlaki on Homemade Pita
Deliciously Alicia (Gluten free & Organic):
Banana & Blueberry Muffins
The Guac Spot:
Avocado Brownies

This Week’s Vendors:

Anna Maria’s Foods:  Unexpected savory & sweet jams from vegetables and fruit herb combinations that are great with cheese, cured meats and pâté.  Plus tomato sauces, salad dressings and other condiments.  All from their Torino, Italy originated family recipes.

Anthi’s Greek Food:  Fresh, healthy, delicious Greek cuisine. Their food is authentic and the menu boasts flavorful Greek inspired dishes and flavors such as Tsatsiki, Moussaka and Spinach Pie with plenty of vegetarian options.

Arlotta Food Studios:  Organic Olive Oils, Herbal and Fruit Infused Oils, Balsamic Vinegars, tapenades & organic handmade air dried pasta.

Asian Farmer Dumplings:  Made-from-scratch dumplings using local ingredients.  Chicken, beef, pork and vegetable choices.

@TheCoffeeBar:  Serving quality, ethically-sourced coffee from Irving Farm Coffee Roasters.  Roasted daily in the Hudson Valley. (Also this week: Peru, Los Alisos, 71 Irving House Blend, Gotham Dark & Sleepy Hollow Decaf)

The Cheese Guy:  Kosher, natural, artisanal cheeses from family owned dairy farms, selected and aged by cheese monger Brent Delman. 

Dan Madura Farms:  Home grown produce from the black dirt region of NY including a large variety of exotic mushrooms: Maitake (hen of the woods), Shiitake, Yellow & Grey Oyster, King Oyster, Pioppini, Lion’s Mane, Beech, Crimini & Portobello’s.

Deep Roots Farm:  All natural farm-made pickles (no preservatives), micro-greens & sauces.  Located in Hudson NY on 12 acres using organic & sustainable farming practices.

Deliciously Alicia’s:  Gluten-free and organic savory & sweet prepared foods including empanadas, pot pies, focaccia and Alicia’s famous crumbcake. 

FarmEats:  Local NY State, 100% grass fed and finished beef, pasture raised pork and chicken free of hormones and antibiotics.
The Guac Spot:  Headed up by AVOCADO-OBSESSED husband & wife team John & Syl, they create avocado inspired cuisine including guacamole, dressings, ice cream and brownies. Plus, cooked-to-order tacos (meat & vegan choices)!
Hillrock Estate Distillery:  Solera aged boubon plus estate single malt & rye whiskeys. “Our mission is to produce the finest hand-crafted spirits made with our own grain, floor malted, craft distilled in our copper pot still, aged in fine oak and hand bottled at our estate in the Hudson Valley Highlands.”  

Irvington Delight:  Fresh made Middle Eastern delicacies by Amal and Nabeel Rabadi including four different flavors of homemade hummus and their family favorite, chicken shawerma, a local best-seller in Westchester.  Expect also to see baba ganouj, muhamarra (walnut spread), tabouleh salad and stuffed grape leaves.

The Luscious Little Dessert Company:  All natural southern style pies, pound cakes, cookies & moist breads inspired by owner Diana’s great grandmother “Big Ma”.

NY Chup: Chef inspired handcrafted, small batch ketchup.

Paolo’s Kitchen:  Italian dinners on-the-go, prepared from scratch providing busy families the opportunity to eat healthy, home-cooked meals.  “We buy from local producers, using only the best possible ingredients and let the natural flavors do the work”, says owner Paolo Viera.

Sohha Savory Yogurt:  Signature thick strained yogurt (labne), voted best by New York Magazine 2014. Plus Hummus, Babaganouj & Sohha’s savory toppings made with organic olive oil & spices, perfect for marinades, dressings or adding to yogurt.  

Wave Hill Breads:  “The best bread on the East Coast”  (The Splendid Table, NPR).   Breads and pastries crafted from organic whole grains milled at their artisan micro-bakery in Norwalk, CT.

Wild Sea Salt:  Healthful seasoning on the wild side.  Natural sea salt that is nutritionally dense, with less sodium, but more vitamins and minerals and sourced in the USA by Chef Lisa.