A Ghent Farm Provides Farm-to-table Authenticity At Its Bushwick-based Restaurant
Northeast Kingdom | 18 Wyckoff Ave | &

Farm-to-table. Free range. Foraged. These terms have become so ubiquitous in the New York dining scene that they’re often discounted as lip service. But, husband-and-wife duo Paris Smeraldo and Meg Lipke, are intent on putting meaning behind this ethos when it comes to their Bushwick-based restaurant — Northeast Kingdom.

Northeast Kingdom opened in 2005, well before the neighborhood had undergone such rapid gentrification. “There was nothing there, no stores, no coffee shops,” Paris recalls. Yet, the couple had a vision: “to create a neighborhood place, an oasis, an outpost; to have an impact on the community.” In 2013 they began directly participating in the farm-to-table movement, purchasing their first plot of land in Ghent, truly becoming their own suppliers. “It wasn’t a farm when we bought it,” Paris says, referring to the property. “We’re converting the land that was formerly lawn or pasture, adding fertility to it, making the land ‘ready.’ It’s easy to say the words ‘foraged’ or ‘free range,’ but we wanted to be doing it ourselves.”

Northeast Kingdom Meg and Paris

  “When Meg and I were living in Williamsburg with our children in the four story walk up, it was hard to imagine anything else – any other place in which to raise them. Brooklyn was our universe. Now, living upstate, the same can be said. We adapt and become what we build. Now we farm, Meg paints, and we raise our kids, straddling the restaurant and painting studio in Bushwick with the farm and family upstate.”

Northeast Kingdom Restaurant and Farm

  “The intersection of our restaurant in Brooklyn and our farm in Ghent is a place we’ve been trying to get to for years. Now we are seeing the results.”

Northeast Kingdom Restaurant

  “We opened NEK eight years ago. Bushwick was a very different place then. We built the bar with salvaged and reclaimed items from family and friends. What has become a chic design aesthetic was born out of necessity.”

Northeast Kingdom eggs and appetizer

  “Our excitement in growing our own food is equally shared by Chef Kevin Adey – formerly of Le Bernardin. He is a visionary in expressing and combining this connection.”

Northeast Kingdom Preparing Food and Foraging

  “Love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life.”

Northeast Kingdom Father and Son

  “Any success we have had is in part attributed to the friends and family around us who share our enthusiasm.”

Northeast Kingdom Menu

  “More than a trending aesthetic or a catchy food word like “authentic,” is the idea of making things by hand. Building things and growing food and working every day is exciting mostly because it is a way to live, a place to raise a family, a way to learn and teach and grow – by our own hands and close to the land.”

Northeast Kingdom Farming

  “Spring in the Northeast is often cold and hard. It is easy to forget that only a few weeks later the small seeds we plant will soon be large plants and everything will be green.”

Northeast Kingdom Meg and Restaurant

  “The design – or simply the sense and certainty of how something should look and feel – is so very important to how we approach projects, whether it’s the restaurant or how the paths of the garden flow.”

Northeast Kingdom Francesca and Chicken

  “Our daughter Francesca with one of the many chickens she loves and chases and herds. They don’t really have a choice in the matter.”

Northeast Kingdom Laying Hens

  “We have 30 laying hens at the moment, five sheep, bees. We make cider and beer, and have about an acre under cultivation.”

Northeast Kingdom Paris and Ghent Farm

  “For me, there has always been a romanticism about farming – it’s not about working the fields, or harvesting, or about the hard life that farming can be – rather, the idea of feeding people, of growing or raising something that is near-perfect.”