A new Food Network television series will introduce a national viewing audience to two Catskill-made delicacies: Sullivan County’s Northern Farmhouse Pasta and Delaware County’s Catskill Food Company sausages.
“Great American Food Finds,” which airs Mondays at 9:30 p.m., debuted this week. The six-episode program is hosted by Adam and Andrew Erace, brothers who operate a small chain of boutique grocery stores and a produce a line of artisanal products in Philadelphia.
Here’s the pitch:
With a sixth sense for the unexpected and delicious, brothers Adam and Andrew Erace travel the country in search of America’s hidden food treasures. Whether it’s the Mac and Cheese Pie at the out-of-the-way farm stand, or the bacon-studded fudge brownies at the hole-in-the-wall bakery, the Erace brothers are on a mission to find it, eat it, and share it with America.
The Roscoe pasta company will be featured on an episode titled “Meet the Cheesecake Cookie,” which premieres Aug. 24 at 9:30 p.m. It will also air the following day, Aug. 25, at 12:30 a.m., and again Aug. 29 at 3:30 p.m.
The Delhi sausage company will be featured the following week, on an episode titled “Greet and Meet,” premiering Aug. 31 at 9:30 p.m. and repeating again Sept. 1 at 12:30 a.m.
The Food Network show is the second time this summer that Catskill food businesses have landed in the national media spotlight. Dahlia’s Delights, a panini cafe in White Sulphur Springs owned by Christine Miller, was featured on National Public Radio July 25.
For Northern Farmhouse Pasta, the exposure comes just as the business is taking off in new directions. Proprietor Bob Eckert began making pasta using local produce and cheese in 2011, selling retail at farmers’ markets and wholesaling. The pasta is now in 70 stores in seven states, Eckert said. And after two years of construction, the company finally opened its retail store at 65 Rockland Road in Roscoe his summer, leading Eckert to yet another project.
“Everyone kept saying, ‘I can’t wait until your restaurant opens,'” Eckert said. “I kept saying we’re not a restaurant, and then I thought, why aren’t we a restaurant?”
So four weeks ago, Northern Farmhouse Pasta’s store became a weekends-only restaurant, serving dinner from 5 to 9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. It’s a small menu and a small space, with three or four main dishes on a chalkboard and only 32 seats. Twenty of the seats are on an outdoor deck, so capacity is weather-dependent and reservations are highly recommended.
“It’s just whatever I want to cook that night. Don’t call me a chef or anything–I just like to cook,” Eckert said.
While of course the housemade pastas du jour, such as summer basil ravioli in creamy tomato sauce, anchor the menu, Eckert also mixes it up. He gets produce from local farms like Lucky Dog Organic in Hamden, and he brings in the fruits of his fishing trips. He recently served fresh tuna two ways: tartare and seared with dirty rice. Other weekends have featured shrimp and grits and jerk chicken. One staple that’s almost always on the menu: a “Trout Town” roll, which takes its title from Roscoe’s nickname. It’s a lobster-roll style sandwich with smoked trout, celery, tomato and onion framed by soft grilled bread.
“There’s always something different, and we get to highlight some of the things we’re making here in the shop,” Eckert said.
For the Food Network filming, Eckert created a chicken pot pie ravioli to fit the theme of “Great American Food Finds,” but he also talked the hosts into tasting his roasted sweet corn ravioli, a summer customer favorite. The latter didn’t make it onto the show, but Adam and Andrew Erace ended up ordering it wholesale for their retail shops in Philly.
Separately, Eckert is also working with a team of producers to film a pilot for another show he’d like to do, which would feature both his construction skills (his job before becoming a pasta guru) and his cooking, as well as food-based adventures in Roscoe and around the Catskills.
“It might be me going fishing one day, and then cooking the fish, or milking goats at a local farm and making goat cheese,” he said. “I’m not looking to be a TV star, but it gets our branding out there and helps sell our pasta.”