A few weeks ago, I had one of my most swoon-worthy experiences yet at Westwind Orchard in upstate New York. I met Fabio Chizzola and Laura Ferrara one fortuitous day in Montauk (where everything magical happens!) and the next thing I knew we were hatching a plan for a farm visit.
With the most generous spirit, Laura invited me to come stay in their barn, even though I had quite the crew in tow — Chloe Crespi to photograph, April Flores to cook and style with, and my son Jivan to explore with. We arrived around midnight to a dark barn led only by a singular globe light illuminating through the barn window. But, as soon as we made our way in, we were floored by the grand open space. A mix of modernity and warmth greeted us under peaked ceilings clad in mushroom wood — which Laura explained looks reclaimed but is actually new and 100 percent natural.
In fact, everything about this farm is 100 percent organic. Since buying the farm in 2001 (and Fabio learning to tame and prune the overgrown trees himself) Westwind has become the only organic apple orchard in upstate New York. Laura and Fabio are so passionate about what they do, they went beyond apples — diversifying into berries, winter squash, even bee-keeping! Even though Laura was born on a farm in Italy (and her Italian mother raised chickens and vegetables in their Brooklyn backyard), and Fabio grew up in a little village in the mountains outside of Rome (and his parents always grew veggies) neither were ever interested in farming. Obviously it’s in their blood! The love of food has been passed down for generations. It comes so naturally to them both that you almost forget that Laura’s a fashion editor, and Fabio is a fashion photographer.
We fell asleep to a fire dancing in the cast iron fireplace and in the morning our little barn-slumber party awoke to a vast farmland. A quick knock on Laura’s stone cottage door and were welcomed in to a flurry of activity — Laura making a farm fresh egg and veggie scramble, Fabio rushing to the farmer’s market with homemade gelato and teenage Matteo stumbling in to find a table filled with girls talking fashion, family, and of course food! As I swooned over the Westwind chocolate raspberry jam slathered over my toast, I couldn’t help but think this day was already better than I could have imagined.
After breakfast Laura gave us free reign and we set out to explore every inch of the 32 acres. Our first stop was the farm store. Heaven on earth. From the minute I walked in, I was overjoyed with the assortment of goods, all made with love, and all organic. Honey, maple syrup, jam, apple sauce, chocolate — not to mention organic wooden cutting boards, rustic table linens, and handwoven baskets. Did I mention gelato?! Maybe heaven on earth is an understatement. What these two Italian lovers have created is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. It’s no wonder a whole community has grown around Westwind — one rooted in authenticity, love, and a passion to create the best, nutrient-rich, organic foods in the world!