EyeSwoon

Exactly one year ago (to the week!) I was introduced to the beauty of Laura Ferarra & Fabio Chizzola’s organic farm Westwind Orchard in upstate New York.  Now these two are my dear friends–and a very inspiring pair, at that! Their shared Italian roots and fashion pedigree careers (Laura is an editor and stylist; Fabio is a photographer) are swoonworthy enough, so when I learned that they also moonlight as organic farmers on the weekends, I was totally awestruck. At the end of our dreamy first day together, spent cooking in their barn, we sat down to enjoy a pasta dinner, proper, as Italians are known to do.  Recounting the day’s events over laughter and delicious wine, we came to discuss how amazing it would be to plan an EyeSwoon dinner on the farm’s orchard.  It was merely an idea, a wish if you will, that we never imagined would come to fruition, but, still, our imaginations ran wild. 

When I began working with Cointreau to create a series of dinners earlier this year,  that conversation was lathe first thing that came to mind. I immediately called Laura, and in mere minutes, the plotting of a real upstate adventure had begun!  It was to be a relaxing autumn afternoon on the farm, complete with harvest activities, hearty nibbles, and the most delicious cocktails.

Upon arrival, our diverse group of friends–faces from both my world and Laura & Fabio’s–came together, unifying fashion and food, the two spheres that all three of us hosts are insanely passionate about.  These friends included DJ Chelsea Leyland, globetrotting CEO Sabine Heller, stylist Vanessa Traina, artist Max Snow, designer Ryan Roche, stylist Deb Watson, brand strategist Jenne Lombardo, pro skater Eli Reed, designer of MarchesaKeren Craig, restaurateur Jean Marc Houmard, Stone Fox Bride’s Molly Guy, lifestyle photographers Gentl & Hyers, chef Julia Turshen, Design Sponge’s Grace Bonney and hotelier Ben Pundole.

We didn’t have to look far for inspiration: every aspect of the day was inspired directly by the gorgeous land on which we stood. From the start, we sipped on honey thyme Cointreau Rickey cocktails –the honey harvested by Fabio from Westwind’s bees –and a Berry Rickey made with blackberries handpicked from the farm. We devoured the famous Westwind Orchard pizza, made by Chicco, with some help from this little lady herself. Together we created an unforgettable pizza covered in ribbons of squash & guanchile.  Additional pizza highlights included one with cauliflower, kale, and farm fresh eggs and an especially unique pie that boasted Cointreau-soaked beets. The pizza that won over the most hearts, however, was covered in a bed of the creamiest organic ricotta and decked out with berries and apples straight from the orchard. Sweet and savory at it’s finest!

Guests were encouraged to explore all that the farm had to offer: there were plenty of pumpkin patch shenanigans, some herb garden perusing, and the gathering of eggs that were still warm, giving us an awesome glimpse of how special life is on the farm.  As friends perused the orchard’s bounty, I hopped on over to the outdoor kitchen to humbly help plate some of the incredible nibbles chef Jody Williams had whipped up for the aperitif hour.  When the sun began to set, we all came together again around the fire pits, cuddling up in West Elm tartan blankets and playing leisurely games of bocce ball while sipped our Rickey cocktails. There’s more to come from this dreamy soiree tomorrow, when I’ll share design details and the actual dinner… Stay SWOONED!

Photography by Winnie Au

HONEY THYME RICKEY

a cointreau cocktail

  • Ingredients

    • 2 oz. Cointreau

      1 oz. fresh lime juice

      .25 oz. Westwind Farm Honey syrup – 50 honey : 50 water

      4 oz. club soda

      2 sprigs of thyme

      3 slices fresh peeled ginger

  • Preparation

    • Pour Cointreau fresh lime juice and Westwind honey into a glass and add ice. Top with club soda and stir. Garnish with a sprig of thyme and fresh peeled ginger.

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