A century ago the Catskills were dotted with farms, many farmers rented rooms out to summer guests, who ate just-picked food cooked by the farmwife. Modern agribusiness has pretty much done away with that lodging option, but a growing number of Hudson Valley farms remain to supply today’s restaurants with fresh ingredients. Spring through fall, vegetables and fruits, free-range eggs, grass-fed beef, wild trout, goat cheese, maple syrup, honey and other locally sourced foods provide the foundation for dishes high in vitality and flavor.
Farm-to-table restaurants specialize in these products, but many other eateries serve them as well. Eating-out options run the gamut from pizzerias and diners to steakhouses, ethnic cuisine, and vegan food. Many restaurants and bars also carry locally produced alcohol — microbrewed beer, artisanal liquor and organic wine.
You can expect to find high-end restaurants where the chef has been lured away from a tony Manhattan joint by the pleasures of mountain air and a less cutthroat environment. East of the Hudson River, the Culinary Institute of America turns out talented chefs who choose to stay in the area and staff local restaurants.
Before heading out to eat, always check the hours of your target establishment, since many restaurants serve breakfast and lunch but no dinner, or vice versa, and some are closed midweek for part of the year.