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New-School Buffalo: The producers

The seasonal produce of Western New York is our reward for surviving winter. I eat my first lush tomato still warm from the sun, and somewhere the last pile of dirty parking lot snow melts away. Mowing down a cob of festival corn, the flavor makes it easy to remember it was grown in Eden. When I stand over the sink with my second Niagara County peach of the day, Western New York tastes blessed.

Local restaurateurs are determined to work with local farmers to capture that delicious moment. It might already be too late to enjoy some of these dishes, but that’s not an error. That’s the point.

When I looked for the most compelling dishes in town reliant on seasonal, local produce, I found myself drawn to a group of restaurants that I’ve taken to calling New-School Buffalo places. They work with local farmers to an unusual extent, and treat the vegetables and fruit they receive with the care Michelangelo had for his paints.

Vegetables aren’t a “side” here – they get a starring role.

[LEARN MORE about these New-School Buffalo restaurants at  buffalonews.com/newschoolbuffalo ]

Here are highlights of this season’s crop:

Beet and fennel salad with cedar yogurt

Beet and fennel salad with cedar yogurt at Buffalo Proper at 333 Franklin St. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

Beet and fennel salad with cedar yogurt at Buffalo Proper at 333 Franklin St. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

Roasted, pickled and raw Oles Farm beets tossed with Golden Hour Farm arugula and radishes, and roasted fennel, yogurt flavored with oil made from tender cedar boughs and berries, and hibiscus gel. $9, via Buffalo Proper, 333 Franklin St., 783-8699

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Squash blossom with pullet egg

The Black Sheep, at 367 Connecticut St., offers a stuffed squash blossom that's prepared with an egg from Oles Farm, fresh tomato crema and borage (which is a starflower). (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

The Black Sheep, at 367 Connecticut St., offers a stuffed squash blossom that's prepared with an egg from Oles Farm, fresh tomato crema and borage (which is a starflower). (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

Oles Farm in Alden provided squash blossoms, eggs and tomatoes for this egg-stuffed blossom flash-fried in a tempura coating and served over tomato crema. $11, via The Black Sheep, 367 Connecticut St., 884-1100.

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Cold corn soup

Carmelo's at 425 Center St. in Lewiston offers a chilled sweet corn soup with lump crab. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

Carmelo's at 425 Center St. in Lewiston offers a chilled sweet corn soup with lump crab. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

Tower Farm or other Niagara County sweet corn, stripped from cobs, simmered with cob broth and refined for intense corn flavor, and accented with crab. $9, via Carmelo’s, 425 Center St., Lewiston, 754-2311.

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Roasted peppers, burrata cheese, anchovy crumbs

Elm Street Bakery, at 72 Elm St. in East Aurora, makes roasted heirloom peppers with tomato jam burrata and anchovy bread crumbs. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

Elm Street Bakery, at 72 Elm St. in East Aurora, makes roasted heirloom peppers with tomato jam, burrata, anchovy bread crumbs. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

Plato Dale Farm peppers are roasted in a wood-fired oven, with milky fresh burrata cheese and crispy anchovy-infused breadcrumbs over Arden Farm tomato jam. $11, via Elm Street Bakery, 72 Elm St., East Aurora, 652-4720

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Eggplant caprese strata with artichoke

Trattoria Aroma at 370 Bryant St. in Buffalo makes an eggplant caprese strata with grilled eggplant, tomato, fresh mozzarella and egg-dipped fried artichoke. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

Trattoria Aroma at 370 Bryant St. in Buffalo makes an eggplant caprese strata with grilled eggplant, tomato, fresh mozzarella and egg-dipped fried artichoke. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

Arden Farm heirloom tomatoes, layered with fresh mozzarella, grilled Oles Farm eggplant and fried artichoke. $10, at Trattoria Aroma, 307 Bryant St, 881-7592, and two other locations.

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Vegetables in Patom Farm hay

Summer vegetable salad with Patom Farm hay at Rue Franklin. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

Summer vegetable salad with Patom Farm hay at Rue Franklin. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

15 kinds of Wierzbic Farm and Wilson Street Farm vegetables dressed in a hay-flavored glaze, with sauce of hay-smoked egg yolks and yogurt flavored with hay ash. $14, via Rue Franklin, 341 Franklin St. 852-4416

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Prunes with labne

Black Iron Bystro, at 3648 South Park Ave. in Blasdell, offers a prune, labne and honey appetizer with Heirloom Valley prunes, homemade labne, Arden Farms honey and flowers, sea salt and crispy fired naan bread. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

Black Iron Bystro, at 3648 South Park Ave. in Blasdell, offers a prune, labne and honey appetizer with Heirloom Valley prunes, homemade labne, Arden Farms honey and flowers, sea salt and crispy fired naan bread. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

Ripe Heirloom Valley prune plums simply accented with labne, house-made yogurt cheese, sea salt and Arden Farm honey. $8, via Black Iron Bystro, 3648 South Park Ave., Blasdell, 240-9830.

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Pinzimoni, Green Goddess tonnato

Marble + Rye at 112 Genesee St. in Buffalo opened in July. Their pinzimoni is a variety of raw vegetables including candy cane and golden beets, purple and yellow carrots, green and yellow beans, Romano beans and fennel. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

Marble + Rye at 112 Genesee St. in Buffalo opened in July. Their pinzimoni is a variety of raw vegetables including candy cane and golden beets, purple and yellow carrots, green and yellow beans, Romano beans and fennel. (Sharon Cantillon/Buffalo News)

Oles Farm Romano beans, green and wax beans from Yager Farms, chiogga and golden beets, purple and yellow carrots from Golden Hour Farm, Native Offerings Farm fennel, with Green Goddess tonnato dressing. $8 via Marble + Rye, 112 Genesee St., 853-1390.

See the print layout of The Buffalo News' Wednesday Taste section cover or download the PDF below.

Email Andrew Galarneau at agalarneau@buffnews.com

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