OFF THE GRID WITHAna
Hito
Planting, foraging, welding, sewing… It all comes naturally to the
founder and host of the field-to-table It’s a Dinner series. Join Ana
where it first started, on the family farm in upstate NY.

I grew up on a small island in the Pacific Ocean called
Rapa Nui. It’s pretty much the most remote place in
the world. I’m grateful because it allowed me to
understand how things really work, in the sense of
where they come from.
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“I love neutral colors and utilitarian clothing. My style is
somewhere between a 1920s tennis player and a Montana rancher.”
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Quick Q&A with Ana
How did It’s a Dinner start?“My grandfather left the farm to the family, but it was just a vacant piece of land. Six years ago, I was like, ‘We should start farming and growing some vegetables.’ A year after that, I thought it’d be fun to invite friends up, and then it became a ‘thing’ that was ticketed. This year is unique in that we’re doing dinners in the Hamptons. It’s our first time going off the farm, but we’re still using our own produce.”
How else have the dinners evolved?“I’m experimenting with a shoppable concept. When you sit down at the dinner, your menu is inside a 112-page magazine that features everything from the soap and toilet paper in the bathroom, to the clothes the waitstaff wears, to the plates, napkins and candlesticks with QR codes to shop. There are also 45 original recipes using some of those products, like olive oil and sparkling water. My idea is to do it in Sagaponack, take it elsewhere and then bring it back home to Goshen.”
Where did you find your love for cooking?“Growing up on the island, everyone cooked communally. We ate fish with salt and lemon, but there wasn’t finesse to the food. It was sustenance, not art. When I came to the States and went to kids’ houses for playdates, I was enamored with the mom in the kitchen sautéing garlic and string beans. That nourishing, warm feeling attracted me, and I understood cooking was a variable to making that happen. Putting flavors together is a no-brainer for me.”
What do you like to do in your spare time?“I’m getting my pilot’s license next week. I love to screen print. Riding a dirt bike around is a ton of fun. In the winter, I love to sew and make my own clothes. We also use this huge smoker that I welded. I’m just fascinated by the way things work and how to make things.”
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Ana’s outdoor table-setting tips
1 Stay in touch with the season and your surroundings“If it’s green outside, put green on the table. If everything’s in bloom, gather flowers. I even love cutting branches in the rain so you can still see the droplets on the leaves.”
2 Give weeds a chance“I love thinking about weeds as wildflowers. They have a great shape but get overlooked. Anything with green leaves—pick it and put it in a glass, ceramic crock or bowl.”
3 Think more is more“Beyond flower arrangements, I’m really into multiples of one thing—like 10 of the same candlestick or five glasses filled with herbs like oregano and parsley. Lots of small arrangements has a more dramatic feel than one large centerpiece.”
4 Use no-fuss napkins“I love dish towels and rags. Or buy two yards of a fabric you like and cut it into squares. I’m into that rough-yet-elegant look, plus they’ll probably get stained anyway!
5 Go for brass silverware“It’s pretty inexpensive on eBay, but looks so stunning on a table. People always ask where I get it.”
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“These boots are perfect for all the things I do, on and off the farm.
I can ride a dirt bike, I can go to the grocery store, I can go out to
dinner… I always look for pieces that can be dressed up and down.”

Even though I love the community around the
Hudson Valley, I think it’s important to remember that
local doesn’t always mean around the corner. I have
good friends who have a salmon fishery in Alaska, and
I know that supporting them means supporting their
local community.
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“I’m never without some sort of sturdy canvas bag or basket. It’s
typically holding the most random assortment of things, like
flowers and Aperol, or rocks and wood.”
Follow
@ana__hito and
@itsadinner on
Instagram
And reserve a table at one of Ana’s
dinners right here.
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