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Third generation farmer Will Lee at his family’s organic Peconic farm, which was established by his parents more than 30 years ago. (Credit: Sang Lee Farms/Instagram)

For our new series on healthy meal ideas, we’re going straight to the source: the people behind the North Fork’s pristine produce, seafood and poultry. Learn what a day of eating looks like at their homes.

William Lee & Lucy Senesac | Sang Lee Farms

William Lee grew up on Sang Lee farm, where he remembers eating meals of greens, rice and thinly sliced flank steak. Now he and his partner Lucy Senesac jointly operate the farm with his father, Fred Lee. The couple has a diet driven by what’s available locally and supplemented by William’s hobbies, spearfishing and hunting. The two run on coffee in the morning, and make their other meals from the farm’s bounty.

“We wake up pretty early most days, so Tend Coffee is on automatic timer.  We can wake up to its scent in the morning. Bulletproof coffee for Lucy (coffee mixed with butter) and black coffee for me as we get going to work on the farm — a short walk down the path as we live next to the main farm office and barnyard. Living this close to the farm has greatly affected our eating habits as we can pop home whenever we want and eat all our meals here. We have an outdoor fish cleaning table and sink to help clean up fresh veggies picked straight out of the field.  Our crew takes a 15 minute coffee break in the a.m. and p.m. and an hour lunch break so we try to swing home during those times. Breakfast is Browder’s eggs over-easy in our cast iron skillet cooked in rendered bacon fat from our own pigs we raised. If we have time, we cook bacon as well, extra crispy, and top with half an avocado and the Ferm’s [a local kombucha brand] spicy kimchi for that perfect protein plus fat plus probiotic combo to get us through long farm days. 

We make huge dinners so consequently we are BIG on leftovers, so lunch is usually a heated up combo of what we ate for dinner the night before. Once a week we go out to Goodfood (chicken milanese sandwich) or Erik’s for lunch. In the summer, our lunches are mostly watermelon, with a few heirloom tomatoes mixed in for good measure. For real, we eat seedless watermelon at every meal in August. It is the highlight of our season and my favorite food period.

For dinner, Lucy is usually home before me whipping up a locavorian meal, which is how we eat and what we live by. We always have a full freezer of our own raised pork (or TJ’s pork from Deep Roots Farm), Mecox beef, Browder’s chickens, farm raised venison and fish that I shot spearfishing (black sea bass, blackfish and striped bass). We don’t really go to the grocery store for veggies and meat, only dry goods and condiments, and we try not to eat commercially raised meat products unless eating at a restaurant. We never eat farmed fish and do not support the new hydroponic ‘organic’ fruits and vegetables that are now available. We believe in the soil, the local environment and reducing the use of antibiotics and plastics in our food system.  

The end of the day is a great time to unwind and reflect on the fundamental decisions and pathway you choose. Harvesting for a meal and focusing on nourishing yourself is a great meditation.  

Our meals are simple, featuring white rice, a protein and a veggie. We microplane ginger and garlic as well as some sesame oil in the rice before cooking it in our rice cooker (we cook all grains in here). We don’t make complicated things. Lucy roasts whatever root veggie is in season (carrots, beets, sweet potato, potato, cabbage, broccoli, cauli) cut up on a large tray in our convection oven at 400 for 20 to 30 minutes. She also sautés or stir-fries greens almost every night. Our favorite is u-choy (flowering baby cabbage), but other nights we go for garlic and spinach, napa cabbage or kale. We like to add in some color and flavor with a thinly sliced bell pepper or a jar of preserved heirloom tomatoes from the farm (or fresh when in season). We top it off with local shiitake mushrooms sautéed and browned.

Scallions, cilantro and ginger are in or on top of most things we cook and are a classic part of Asian cuisine. We grow them in a small raised bed near our house so we can cut some quickly if we forget to get them from the field. We enjoy walking the high tunnels and nearby fields in the early evening and at sunset to cut something fresh for dinner. We have a plethora of perennial plants here on the home farm, and there is always something healthy and fresh to harvest nearby. The end of the day is a great time to unwind and reflect on the fundamental decisions and pathway you choose. Harvesting for a meal and focusing on nourishing yourself is a great meditation.  

We have [Sang Lee] board of directors meetings once a week, Fred, Lucy and I, so we alternate picking up breakfast locally for our meetings. Erik’s Ranchero egg wraps or North Fork Roasting Company’s duck hash with chili egg are the two alternating choices for us. On those days we are less hungry for lunch, so we sometimes have a late snack on the go like one of our 10 amazing veggie-filled soups that we make in the farm kitchen — hearty kale, spring veggie or spicy cabbage are our favorites. 

Tonight for dinner, we grabbed a package of thinly sliced venison cutlets from our freezer reserves. This thaws quickly and can be added to sauteed greens and rice in a half hour. Eating what’s local and what’s in season could be the best thing for you, our community and the planet. Any and all food scraps are returned to the earth by composting. Keeping food waste out of the garbage is one of the best ways everyone can reduce their “carbon footprint”  Eating seasonal, eating local and composting are some of the best ways to create healthy soil and a healthy environment here on the North Fork!