CLAVERACK — Nancy Fuller, a resident of Claverack, was recently approached by the Food Network to star in a new program that showcases rustic, flavorful dishes based on fresh ingredients from Hudson Valley farms.
The show is called “Farmhouse Rules” and it takes a look into Fuller’s kitchen and the Hudson Valley farming community that supplies her ingredients. The mother of six and grandmother of 13, she is the owner of the multi-million dollar local business, Ginsberg’s Foods, which employs more than 250 people locally and from surrounding areas.
Fuller lives in an authentic 17th century farmhouse, lovingly — and with a chuckle — refers to her husband as her assistant and is immersed in farming food, culture and recipes. She hopes to get viewers hooked on delicious, yet simplistic, meals and a philosophy that includes respect and proper etiquette.
“‘Farmhouse Rules’ has three connotations to the word rule,” Fuller said in a phone interview. “Originally, recipes were called rules; recipe is a somewhat newer word. I have an old cookbook of my grandmother’s that she penned herself and all of the recipes in the book are referred to as rules.”
The second usage of the word “rules” refers to her rules at the dinner table.
On etiquette, she stated, “I think respect should go hand in hand with meal preparation. You should respect where your food came from and how it got from where it was grown to your dinner plate. You should also respect who prepared the meal for you, and how much they put into that dish. During mealtime you should turn off the TV, put down all your social media devices and phones, and just give it 20 minutes, where all you focus on is how good the food is and the company of family and friends.”
The final reason it’s called “Farmhouse Rules” is because “the farmhouse rules!” she exclaimed. “I am very excited to share my love of fresh ingredients and farmhouse cooking.”
The show will focus on what Fuller refers to as rustic, simplistic and almost primitive dishes. “Chop, chop, in the pot is the show’s motto,” she said. “I wanted to do a show where viewers were not intimidated when watching me cook. So many cooking shows focus on numerous ingredients; it can be overwhelming. My recipes focus on using only a couple of ingredients, like fresh chicken and herbs, and then creating a delicious dish without too much work.”
The show visits local farms throughout the Hudson Valley and showcases where fresh ingredients come from and how they are processed.
“We go to a sheep farm and then I cook lamb. We go to a peach orchard and then I make peach cobbler. We went to a potato farm and I had my grandkids digging in the soil, pulling our potatoes from the dirt,” she said. “I want viewers to get that connection — that potatoes don’t just come from a bag you buy in a grocery store.”
Fuller’s favorite ingredients are lamb, bison and fish, especially salmon. “Bison has very little fat, so it’s great if you are trying to get a meal with flavor that is also healthier than your normal meat dishes,” she said.
She believes that she has many stories to tell and she has fun telling them. She has no trouble balancing her duties at Ginsberg’s, her duties as a parent and grandparent and taping the show. She enjoyed working with her production staff and touring the local farms.
On the art of cooking, she said to involve all of your senses, feel good and smile. “If this show does nothing else, even if no one tries cooking my recipes, all I want to do is make people smile,” said Fuller.
“Farmhouse Rules” debuts on the Food Network 11:30 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 17. If you miss it, it will be repeated at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 18. And don’t miss her on “The Chew” at 1 p.m. this Friday.