By Jeremy Riccardi
Bob and Melanie Mason started Longlesson Farm in 1987. In 2008, their daughter Shannon Mason and son-in-law Christophe Robert and their children joined the business.
Longlesson Farm represents an important sector of the Saratoga regional economy as well as the nation, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The federal agency cites statistics from the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization that show about 86 percent of all farms in the United States to be run by families, with one or more family member providing the main source of labor
At Longlesson, each family member contributes. “Working as a family is not always easy,” said Mason. “You can’t close the door and go home at the end of a hard day. The farm is both a business and a lifestyle. It is the unconditional love of family that binds the farm and pushes us through the hard times.”
For Mason, it’s a mutual enjoyment of animals and of sharing family time that makes the hard work worthwhile. “At the end of the day, we stop and gather around the dinner table to share a fine meal,” she said. “Long walks through the fields with the dogs, a leisurely ride on horseback, the children catching crayfish in the creek are reason enough to keep the farm going.”
Working the farm as a family helps each member feel they are a valued part of the business as well as stewards of the land. “It is important to take a step back and remember why you do what you do.”
For the family members, the love of land, family, and experiences at the farmers market contribute to their success. “Farmers markets allow our family to share our experiences as well as our fine beef, pork, and chicken with our friends and neighbors and the local community.”
You can visit Longlesson Farm every Saturday at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market from 9am-1pm at the Lincoln Baths building in Saratoga Spa State Park.
Wine Braised Beef Short Ribs
Adapted from Chef John’s recipe on www.allrecipes.com
Prep time – 20 minutes
Cook time – 2 hours 35 minutes
Ready in – 2 hours 55 minutes
* Ingredients can be purchased at Saratoga Farmers’ Market
– 4 slices bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces *
– 3 – 3 1/2 lbs. beef short ribs *
– salt and ground black pepper to taste
– 10 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves stripped *
– 1 bay leaf
– 1 onion, diced *
– 4 cloves garlic, minced *
– 2 tablespoons flour
– 1 cup dry red wine *
– 1 quart beef broth (broth may be made from beef bone) *
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2.Place bacon in a large skillet and cook over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until evenly browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer crisped bacon with a slotted spoon to a Dutch oven. Retain bacon drippings in the skillet.
3.Generously season short ribs with salt and pepper.
4.Heat bacon drippings in the same skillet over high heat. Cook short ribs in hot bacon fat until browned and caramelized on all sides, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer ribs to the Dutch oven, reserving drippings in the skillet. Add thyme and bay leaf to the ribs mixture.
5.Reduce heat under the same skillet to medium. Cook and stir onion in the skillet until soft and golden, 5 to 10 minutes. Add garlic; cook and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
6.Whisk flour into onion mixture and stir until the mixture becomes paste-like and light golden brown, 1 to 3 minutes.
7.Pour red wine into onion mixture; cook until thick and hot, about 2 minutes. Pour onion-wine mixture into Dutch oven; add beef broth and salt to taste. Bring ribs mixture to a simmer and cover the Dutch oven with a lid.
8.Transfer Dutch oven to the preheated oven and cook until short ribs are fork tender, about 2 hours. Remove ribs to a serving dish, reserving sauce in the pot.
9.Set Dutch oven high heat and boil sauce until reduced and slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Spoon reduced sauce over ribs.