Posts Tagged ‘Fruit’
Noting what visitors appear at a bird feeder in winter can provide some revealing information on the status of the local populations of the feathered creatures hardy enough to remain in the Adirondacks after cold weather becomes established. Aside from the regular flocks of black-capped chickadees, a pair or two of red-breasted nuthatches and blue jays, there may be juncos, redpolls, evening grosbeaks, pine siskins, purple finches and other closely related seed eaters.
This year, at least around my house in Saranac Lake, there has been a healthy number of American goldfinches, which is not surprising considering this past summer’s weather. From mid May through the first week in July, record setting rains soaked the region, and cool temperatures made conditions difficult for birds attempting to incubate eggs and care for a nest full of recently hatched offspring. However, after the 4th of July, the weather improved substantially. Bright skies, warm temperatures and moist soil created ideal growing conditions for plants, which was noted by people who attempted to keep their lawn properly mowed, individuals who maintained flower and vegetable gardens, and those souls that enjoyed harvesting our crops of wild berries. » Continue Reading.
A large percentage of the farm workers who harvest New York State’s apples, potatoes, onions, and other fruits and vegetables are immigrants working long hours with no overtime pay, few benefits, low salaries, often substandard housing, and no right to collective bargaining, as those rights fought for over fifty years ago in California by Cesar Chavez were excluded from being applied here.
Illegal immigrants comprise approximately five percent of this workforce. » Continue Reading.
The Norse Vikings referred to the east coast of North America as Vinland, with grapes so plentiful they could be smelled from the sea. Such historical abundance is questionable; the description may have been a marketing ploy similar to the misleadingly named Greenland. Yet wild grapes are plentiful throughout the Northeast and they’re ripening now, to the delight of the many animal species that eat them.
Among humans, European grapes seem to get all the attention. Chardonnay, Bordeaux, and the seedless table grapes found in grocery stores are all cultivars of the Mediterranean grape vine Vitis vinifera. The most common wild species in our area are V. labrusca, the fox grape, and V. riparia, the river grape. Both have remained a forest curiosity since European colonization due to their sour taste and low sugar content. Only the Concord grape, a 19th century V. labrusca cultivar used in juice and jelly, has met with commercial success. » Continue Reading.
Mid-August is the time in the Adirondacks when the foliage of some red maples turns a bright reddish-orange, the sound of crickets replaces the music of our many songbirds, and blackberries start to ripen on their thorny canes. It is also when birds are more regularly seen in flocks rather than individually as they perch on a wire, forage in a field or fly across a road.
The territorial nature and belligerent behavior exhibited by adults toward neighbors from early spring through the end of the breeding season now fades like the chlorophyll in leaves during the latter weeks of September. Thus, a more gregarious lifestyle develops among the members of the same species and results in the formation of flocks for resting, foraging, traveling, and roosting at night. » Continue Reading.
For instance, we just finished up our second batch of jam. The first batch was straight blueberry, and we got ten small jelly jars full. This second batch was blueberry-raspberry, with a few random blackberries thrown in just for the heck of it. This batch made twelve full jars, and it looks good. » Continue Reading.
The growing season two years ago was considered to have been excellent. There were numerous periods of mild weather in the spring along with a lack of a late hard frost which allowed for an abundance of flowers to successfully begin their initial stage of developing our crops of seeds and berries. Summer that year provided ample sunshine and an adequate supply of rain to bring to maturity the numerous wild fruits and mast that can grow in this region.
Whenever an abundance of nutritious edibles develops in nature, there is an explosion in the population of mice, voles, chipmunks and other small creatures that utilize such items as their principle source of food. By the end of autumn, it became evident that the number of small herbivores, especially mice, was near or at an all time high for many areas throughout the Adirondacks. » Continue Reading.
I love it when a few moments of laziness lead to something good. I had weed whacked all around the big fire pit and hammock a couple weeks ago, but there was one section of lawn that I just buzzed through quickly, and I did a poor job on about a ten square foot area. Last night as I was moving some junk wood into the new wood rack, I caught a glimpse of some bright red in the slightly overgrown region: two wild strawberries.
Only one of the very small strawberries was ripe, so after taking a couple pictures of the first strawberries of the season, I popped the ripe one in my mouth. That was the first strawberry I’ve had in quite a while, and man was it delicious. There was enough flavor packed in that little pea-sized berry to make all the rain worthwhile. » Continue Reading.
Though we have had more rain than sun over the last few days, strawberries are starting to ripen and pick-your-own fields are planning on opening to the public over the next couple of weeks. Festivals are set to gesture in summer with all things strawberry. Rulf’s Orchard in Peru is holding their 2nd annual Strawberry Festival on June 29 with a petting zoo, vendors, strawberry shortcake eating contest and wagon rides to the U-Pick patch. Raquette Lake is whipping up fresh strawberry shortcake while Crown Point will host its 9th annual celebration of those delicious red berries.
According to Alexandra Roalsvig, Director of Parks and Recreation for the Town of Long Lake, the June 29th Raquette Lake Strawberry Festival is an opportunity for locals and visitors coming to the area to connect with summer friends, while supporting a worthy cause. The summertime dessert will be served starting at 11 a.m. at the Raquette Lake Fire Hall. » Continue Reading.
Well, I survived Winter Carnival, along with another monster snowstorm. So far this winter, I’d say that I’ve gotten between four and five feet of snow, most of it coming in two big storms. Luckily, I had a friend with a plow help me out this time, so I’m not having to hike in to the cabin. There’s no way I’m moving that much snow again. I’d rather hike than shovel.
Last week I house-sat for some friends of mine who live in Saranac Lake. It was glorious to have running hot water, fast internet and unlimited electricity. Out of the three though, I would still take hot water over the other two. » Continue Reading.
The King’s Garden at Fort Ticonderoga is presenting its second Garden and Landscape Symposium: “Enhancing Life through Gardening” on Saturday, April 13. The day-long symposium, geared for both beginning and experienced gardeners, provides insights from garden experts who live and garden in upstate New York and Vermont. This springtime event takes place in the Deborah Clarke Mars Education Center and is open by pre-registration only.
The walled King’s Garden was originally designed in 1921 by leading landscape architect Marian Coffin. The formal elements – a reflecting pool, manicured lawn and hedges, and brick walls and walkways – are softened by a profusion of annuals and perennials, carefully arranged by color and form. Heirloom flowers and modern cultivars are used to recreate the historic planting scheme. » Continue Reading.
With Thanksgiving looming on the horizon, my thoughts the past few days have been centered on my favorite part of the holiday preparations- pie making. I’ll admit, I can spend hours upon hours in the “pie zone”- slowly but carefully making the pastry, rolling it out, crimping the edges and then finally filling the pie and baking it up.
There is just something that is so satisfying about baking a pie from scratch. The taste and flavor of a homemade pie are one bonus, but I think the best part is taking the pie out of the oven and beholding the beautiful creation you have spent hours making. » Continue Reading.
Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) of Lewis County in conjunction with Mother Earth News is responding to the increasing numbers of people inquiring about raising backyard poultry, beef, and other livestock, food preservation, energy alternatives for homes and farms, and back-to-the-land management skills with a new educational event. A Homesteading Fair will be presented at the Maple Ridge Center in Lowville, NY, September 8 and 9, 2012.
The two-day event will offer more than 90 educational workshops, held rain or shine, under large tents, in a large, approved, kitchen and former barns, and on the expansive lawn at the Maple Ridge Center. Livestock shearing and wool spinning are among the many planned demonstrations. » Continue Reading.
For the past few weeks I just simply have not been in the mood for cooking. It has been hot and sunny, and sitting in the kitchen and standing over a stove – much less turning on the oven - holds about zero appeal. A lot of salads have been hitting the table, as we’ve had a bumper crop of lettuce this year. Herbs have also been plentiful, which makes for fun experimentation with different types of dressings.
Mostly I have been spending a lot of time outdoors with friends and family, bringing along a variety of Oscar’s ready-made salads, smoked meats and cheeses for picnicking. Ready-made has held a lot more appeal than actually whipping up my own potato salad or barbeque after a long hard day of relaxing. » Continue Reading.
Ever notice that during the period of May through mid-June there is a blitz of food articles, expounding upon the wonders the rhubarb? These stories make plentiful use of words like “abundant” “grandmother” “delightful” and “cherry red”. Words like this about a food make me feel pretty excited. Particularly when the food in question practically grows wild all around me. So I was pretty excited to really dive right into some rhubarby adventures this year. » Continue Reading.
Every year since I’ve met my husband (that would be 19 years ago), I’ve prepared cassoulet. It’s a winter or cold weather dish. It’s heavy, filled with cannellini beans, pork, lamb, duck confit (duck cooked and preserved in duck fat), duck stock, herbs and garlic. It’s a great dish to eat when the winds are howling, the last blizzard of the season is in the making, and you’re still stoking the fire in the fireplace or woodstove.
Typically, I prepare this dinner at the end of March or the beginning of April. The origin of this dish is from the Toulouse-region of France, and I first tasted it when I worked for a Manhattan caterer. Our office manager had requested the chef make this dish for her birthday lunch. At first, I didn’t understand what the big deal was about a casserole of pork and beans. So while you may not want to engage in such a lengthy preparation, I think it’s worth the effort. » Continue Reading.
It isn’t always easy to imagine farming in the Adirondacks with factors like a short growing season, or faraway markets – but you can find a thriving and vibrant community of farmers and producers here and maybe not as far away as you might think.
One way farmers are able to have a more predictable revenue stream is through a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). Before the growing season begins, customers are able to purchase a share in the season’s harvest – your up-front investment typically entitles you to a weekly box of vegetables or fruit produced by the farm over the course of 4 to 5 months — and often times you pick up the share at the farm. » Continue Reading.
While most people associate Massachusetts as cranberry bog haven, wild cranberries can be found on low-lying bushes throughout the Adirondacks up through to Canada near streams and ponds. Harvested in the fall, this vibrant fruit is a rich source of vitamin C and a welcome staple at many holiday tables.
Native Americans were probably the first in our region to use cranberries as food, especially in their preparation of high-energy pemmican, made by drying a mixture of venison (or other meats) and fruit. Now, we not only see cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving, but bake with the fruit, adding them to cakes or muffins, and snack on the dried, sweetened variety. » Continue Reading.
Pairing a crisp autumn day with the first crunch of a freshly-picked apple is my idea of perfection. During my teen years good times with friends might include a drive up from Van Nostrand’s Orchard in Mayfield (now Lake View Orchards, 518.661.5017), munching on crisp and sweet Macs while taking in the foliage.
While the rain of the past weekend dampened my enthusiasm to go out apple picking, I was invited to be a judge at the Cambridge Valley Apple Pie Bake-Off at the Cambridge Hotel, said to be the home of pie à la mode. The cast of judges included the hotel’s own Chef Rich, Sara Kelly as representative of the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce, Sally King, a decades-long baker and former owner of the King Bakery in Cambridge, and Chloe, an 11 year-old pie aficionado. » Continue Reading.
The North Country has been home to some dangerous occupations. If you think for a moment, you’ll probably come up with three that really stand out. The obvious choices are farming, logging, and mining. But let me offer a fourth possibility: produce manager.
Sounds ridiculous, right? Thousands have entered those other three occupations knowing full well the potential downside. Produce manager, on the other hand, seems pretty safe. But what would you choose—a job with the risk of injury, or a job that might one day “produce” your worst nightmare? If you’re squeamish, you’d have to be bananas to choose the latter. » Continue Reading.