Farm-to-Fork at Baron's Cove
How Chef Jay Lippin Forms Community Partnerships
to Infuse Local Flavor
It's 7AM in Sag Harbor, and as the town begins to wake, Chef Jay Lippin is already in the lobby of Baron's Cove pouring himself a second cup of coffee. The temperatures dropped overnight, making this October morning the coldest yet this season — but Jay's prepared. He zips his coat, grabs a lid for the coffee, and heads out to his truck.
The change from summer to fall may seem like an ending to some, but for Jay, it's a beginning. After months of planning with local farmers and a fruitful summer season of growing, it's time to venture into the Hamptons to pick up the harvest.
Chef Jay has made engaging local makers a priority from the get-go. Ever since his tenure at the at Baron's began, Jay's looked to the community for fresh ingredients to incorporate in his menu. "I've always had a close relationship with farmers, fishermen and local artisans," he says. "So, when I came to Baron's Cove, I brought that same philosophy and outlook." His philosophy found a natural home here — after all, the Restaurant's cuisine is directly inspired by classic Long Island fare, so what better way to honor this inspiration than by using ingredients sourced right here in the Hamptons?
"What's great with working with local farmers is discovering new things, new flavors, and building a sense of community here at Baron's Cove. It's really a symbiotic relationship."
— Chef Jay Lippin
The first farm Jay partnered with as Executive Chef of Baron’s Cove was I & Me Farm. Located on the North Fork in Orient Point, the one-and-a-third acre I & Me is helmed by Mimi Edelman and is — as the name alludes — a one-woman operation.
Mimi grows exclusively for chefs and restaurants, which allows her and Jay to collaborate closely on seasonal crops. "We meet every November or December to figure out what we're going to grow," Jay explains. This level of coordination pays off in flavor — the Restaurant is ensured unique, specialty produce before the roots even take hold. Ingredients from Mimi you can currently find on the Restaurant's menu include fish peppers, Aunt Molly's ground cherry tomatoes, lettuces, assorted herbs, and a range of root vegetables like beets and carrots.
Both Jay and Mimi are members of the board of Slow Foods East End, so the pair have a history together of advocating for farm-fresh processes across Eastern Long Island. But Jay and Mimi's working relationship goes way back — even before Chef Jay's tenure at Baron's. "Mimi and I had worked together previously in the Hudson Valley, so it was a funny coincidence that when I came to Sag Harbor, Mimi was already here in the East End. It was the perfect stepping stone to working with local farms at Baron's."
Jay's found that, the more he works with local farms, the more local farms he has to work with — and each of them have something new and unique to offer. "A great thing about working with local farms is that they turn us on to new farmers and artisans. It's word of mouth." One of these newly-formed working relationships is with Good Water Farms, a year-round indoor microgreen farm in Bridgehampton.
Good Water's focus on microgreens has opened up new doors for Jay in terms of flavor. "I just met Brendan, the head farmer, this year, but we're already getting great things from them. We now get all of our microgreens from Good Water."
Although microgreens are a popular crop right now, Jay's partnership with Good Water doesn't mean he's cashing in on a craze. "We don't just put microgreens on for the sake of microgreens," Jay says. "On our Oil and Cheese Arancini, we're using micro basil. On our scallop dish, we're using micro rainbow chard. It's about the flavor."
Flavor indeed — despite their size, microgreens pack in a stronger punch than their larger counterparts and contain up to 40 times the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Jay's partnership with Good Water is also about quality. According to Brendan, "Our regenerative methods mean our greens are grown in live, nutrient-rich soil for eight to 28 days, which allows them to develop into their perfect selves."
Every farm Jay partners with brings something unique to the table.
The Restaurant table, that is.
Since his time at Baron's Cove began, Chef Jay has partnered with twenty different farmers, fishermen and artisans. These include the North Fork Egg Farm, Balsam Farms, Haskell's Seafood, Peconic Gold Oysters, Mecox Bay Dairy, Mountain Smokehouse, Sfoglini Pasta Shop, 5 Spoke Creamery and Stony Brook Whole Hearted Foods.
Click here to view a full list of makers currently bringing an array of techniques, influences and flavors right to your fork.
"At Baron's Cove,
we're a part of the community as well. So we all need to work together in terms of community & flavors, and make Sag Harbor a great place to be."