Seeking Food and Wine Pairings From the Bounty of the Hudson Valley

Opinion Advocates for ideas and draws conclusions based on the author/producer’s interpretation of facts and data.

We are part of The Trust Project

GrapevineIf it grows together, it goes together.

As I roam the Pleasantville Farmers Market each week, I’ve been observing the changing season’s bounty, especially in the fare offered by Hudson Valley farmers. More and more local produce, meats, cheeses, baked goods, spices and herbs are coming to market as the growing season advances. And, of course, there is always a Hudson Valley wine producer on the scene, completing the cycle of farm-to-dining repast.

Local products paired with local wines. If it grows together, it goes together.

Of course, my wine-centric mind immediately segues to the wines being offered at the market. This weekend Fjord Vineyards was featured in a stall next to its Hudson Valley neighbors – Little Seed Gardens, Hilly Acres Farm and Tivoli Mushrooms. I began to focus on a theme for a meal.

If it grows together, it goes together.

My palate’s sensations became heightened as I meandered from stall to stall, picking up just-harvested greens along the way and the end-of-season offerings of heirloom tomatoes and fresh herbs, all staples for a garden-inspired salad to pair with either a Cabernet Franc Rosé or Albarino from Fjord Vineyards in Marlboro.

If it grows together, it goes together.

These farm- and vineyard-to-table practices have been evolving for millennia. Early man’s trial and error approach to farming and winemaking became intertwined with the culture and traditions of societies across the globe.

Ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans cultivated grapes and produced wine as an accompaniment to meals prepared from indigenous crops and local cattle, hogs and lambs. The Romans developed and refined food culture in each land they conquered. They sought to plant grapes that were compatible with local crops. These are the symbiotic practices that are sustained today.

When I travel abroad, I’m impressed with the seemingly coincidental compatibility of certain food dishes with regional wines. How many of us have marveled at how well Chianti pairs with local tomato dishes or bistecca alla Fiorentina in Tuscany? Or Barolo and Barbaresco wines with the hearty game and fowl dishes of Piedmont? Or remember enjoying a light seafood meal in Provence with a locally produced Rosé?

None of these ethereal pairings are coincidental. They evolved over centuries of experimentation and refinement.

If it grows together, it goes together.

Here in the United States, we’ve come full circle in the last hundred years. Until the mid to late 20th century, the farm-to-table diet was common. As global trade evolved and modern transportation methods emerged, our palates expanded well beyond the local farm.

The abundance of food ingredients grew exponentially and year-round availability of produce from across the globe became the standard. Fresh berries in the dead of winter? No problem. Cargo ships and planes delivered fresh Latin and South American strawberries to our doorsteps every day.

However, over the past quarter-century our focus and sensibility have changed. Now, we seek out local foodstuffs whenever possible. Increasingly we are supporting local farmers and winemakers who are gaining a foothold in the marketplace. (The carbon footprint of their products is much smaller than that of imported food sources.)

The United States is a mosaic of ethnic diversity – in our culture and our cuisine. Recently, winemakers have taken this diversity into the vineyards. Indigenous grape varietals of distant wine regions have been acclimated to the American terroir, retaining their Old World charm but expressing themselves with a new aroma and taste profile not found in their native lands.

This mosaic is now present in New York State. In particular, the Hudson Valley grows many food types and grape varieties that had been primarily available from other regions or countries. Locally produced products and wine have become the new standard for the farmlands along the Hudson River communities and agricultural fields.

I’ll be heading to the Pleasantville Farmers Market this weekend for another experiment in pairing local food products and wine. Stay tuned for my results.

Nick Antonaccio is a 45-year Pleasantville resident. For over 25 years, he has conducted wine tastings and lectures. Nick is a member and program director of the Wine Media Guild of wine journalists. He also offers personalized wine tastings. Nick’s credo: continuous experimenting results in instinctive behavior. You can reach him at

We'd love for you to support our work by joining as a free, partial access subscriber, or by registering as a full access member. Members get full access to all of our content, and receive a variety of bonus perks like free show tickets. Learn more here.