Posts Tagged ‘Local Farms’

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Juneberry Research Nursery Planned For Willsboro

juneberry in New York (photo 2)The farmer-led Northern New York Agricultural Development Program has posted a new report on establishing New York’s first Juneberry research nursery. The planting at the Cornell Willsboro Research Farm in Willsboro, NY, will be one of the largest nurseries of its kind for studying this ‘superfruit.’

Juneberry, scientifically known as Amelanchier, has the potential to be a major novel fruit crop in northern New York, and perhaps the Northeast, say researchers Michael H. Davis, Cornell Willsboro Research Farm Manager, and botanist Michael B. Burgess of the State University of New York at Plattsburgh. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Hops Growing Talk Planned in Warrensburg

Franklin County hop-pickers c 1900With the ever increasing interest in locally produced foods and homesteading skills, the Warren County Soil and Water Conservation District is presenting a series of informational talks in Warrensburg on agricultural topics.  The presentations are free and open to anyone with an interest.  For reservations contact Nick Rowell at (518)623-3119 or nrowell123@nycap.rr.com, as seating is limited.

The next two talks, on hops growing and soil health, will be Friday, March 28th from 6 pm to 8 pm at the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation Warrensburg Office at 232 Golf Course Road. Future talks are planned for May.

Hops was once a staple crop of New York farmers, but production ended about 50 years ago and the last beer made with all New York hops was produced in the 1950s.  That is until 2004 when the first new beer was brewed with all New York hops. Today a small amount of hops are being grown in Washington and Warren counties for use in the Adirondack and Paradox breweries. » Continue Reading.



Friday, February 28, 2014

Plattsburgh’s Food from the Farm Day

 Screen Shot 2014-02-25 at 3.41.03 PMLike most Adirondack gardeners, my family is just starting to think about starting seeds and planning our summer garden. At Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE), they want to make sure that we are all aware that local farmers are not just thinking about what to plant, but have actually never stop growing and making local food available for our tables.

The annual  Food from the Farm event, in cooperation with Adirondack Harvest and CCE Clinton County, is just one way local farmers are making themselves available to let us meet the people that grow our food. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Food From Local Farms: Even in Winter

adirondack harvest logoIt’s still feels like deep winter, spring is a ways off and the soil in the gardens is pretty well frozen solid. Are you dreaming of fresh, local food in abundance? What is to be found in the North Country on the backside of the farming calendar? Locavores can rise to this challenge once again with Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Food from the Farm event.

This is the fourth year we’ve turned to our list of regional farmers and processors, hired a chef dedicated to cooking with local ingredients and organized a display area to educate and excite the community. It’s been such a huge hit, we vowed to make this an annual event – yet there is always room for improvement. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, February 4, 2014

School Fundraising: Why Not Sell Local Foods?

ShipmanFamilyFarmStandCJenkins5We’re big supporters of our sons’ school, and I enjoy helping out and participating in most school events, probably more than my kids would actually like. But there’s one thing that has never been particularly appealing to me (and other parents, judging from the courtside conversations) and that’s class fundraisers in the form of products for sale.

Sure, some of them are fine and I do enjoy my Christmas wreath. But many of the other items seem cheaply made and sometimes totally useless. I’ve been known to skip the tchotchkes entirely and just send in money. » Continue Reading.



Sunday, January 26, 2014

Cabin Life: Surviving The Chicken Tent

The Chickens InsideI can freely admit that I am not an expert in basically anything, but let me give you some advice:  Don’t share your four-hundred square foot anything with a dog, a cat, three hens, and a rooster.  Now, nothing against the chickens, but they are noisy.  And stinky.  And no matter what, the rooster will crow whenever he feels like it, regardless of your sleep schedule.

With temperatures predicted to be about thirty below zero without the wind chill, I decided that the time had come to let the chickens have a nice warm night inside.  Now, keep in mind that the chickens had not ever been inside my cabin.  Nor had Pico ever been separated from them by nothing more than a blanket.  Needless to say, I did not get much sleep last night. » Continue Reading.



Sunday, January 12, 2014

Cabin Life: The Brown Eggs

Fresh EggsWell, the low temperature last night was still above zero for the first time in a week.  It’s not much, but it’s something to look forward to.  And then tomorrow they’re saying that the highs will be above freezing.  It has been a wild winter so far, weather-wise.

While the rest of the nation was experiencing record cold last week, we were watching the snow melt and the ruts in the driveway disappear.  Then we had bone chilling cold with nasty wind.  So much so that if I didn’t check the chicken coop every hour or so for eggs, the eggs I did find would be frozen and cracked.

One nice development out here at the cabin is that Brownie the chicken has started laying eggs too.  Nice light brown ones that make the egg carton look so pleasant.  With Whitey and Brownie laying now pretty much every day, I’m getting more eggs than I can eat.  At least when I find them unfrozen. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Local Farm Economics: Are You Paid What You’re Worth?

PigsI have often said that I am blessed because I get paid to do something I love.  And I often put in more hours in my week than I get paid for in my pay check, but it is a balance.  I also for the most part set my own schedule.  Of course we have set office hours, and I have a desk and a chair I am supposed to be in during the work week.  But I also have meetings and consultations outside those office walls.  Because of my job, I have gotten to travel to places I probably wouldn’t have gone on my own.  Have seen and experienced places I would not have done if I hadn’t had the job I do.

At the end of the day, I am fairly certain that I am paid for the work I do and the contributions I have made to my organization and community I live and work in.  So it is rather distressing when many of the people I work with (yep I am talking about farmers) don’t feel they are paid or even that their customers could pay them what they are worth.  So they end up settling for what they feel customers can afford, or that customers expect to pay.  For someone who is trying to inspire farmers to raise good quality products for their customers that they as farmers can be proud of raising, growing or making, it is disheartening to hear the heavy sighs followed by such statements.
» Continue Reading.



Thursday, January 2, 2014

Local Meat and Community Freezer Space

k8062-3USDAARSMeat13004Shared community freezer space may prove to be a boon to farmers selling meat in bulk quantities and consumers seeking an economical way to purchase and store local meat.

The local food movement is still going strong here in the North Country. During the winter months we tend to be focused less on the fresh fruits and vegetables and more on the products we can access out of season: honey, maple, dairy, eggs, storage crops, value-added items like jams and mustards, and especially locally-raised meats.

We have many Northern New York farmers raising beef, poultry, pork, bison, lamb, goat, and rabbit, but buying meat from your farmer down the road can seem like a puzzling prospect. The cuts may not look exactly as you’re used to, the price may seem too high, and depending on the method by which they were raised (e.g. grass-fed vs. grain-fed), the cooking styles may need to be adjusted. This is a great example of why it’s to your advantage to get to know your farmer. The farmers I know are chock-full of information about how their animals are raised, the various cuts of meat and great recipes to help you turn that brisket into a melt-in-your-mouth meal.

» Continue Reading.



Sunday, December 15, 2013

Cabin Life: The Chicken Diapers

Midget, aka Little Jerry SeinfeldMy off-grid, simple living, homesteading lifestyle can sometimes lead me and my thoughts down very different roads.  For instance, if you had asked me five years ago, (heck, if you had asked me five months ago) what would be occupying my thoughts this winter, chicken diapers would not have entered my mind.  But here I am, wondering if and where I can get myself some chicken diapers.

Now, I don’t just go around thinking about chicken diapers.  I actually have a very good reason for shopping around for just such a thing.  It turns out that one of my chickens is a rooster.  Poor old Midget, who is no longer so little, started crowing the other day.

I had noticed some odd behavior a few days ago, but thought that maybe she was just being a jerk to Whitey.  I was watching the chickens in their run through the window, and saw Midget jump right on Whitey’s back.  Whitey is the one laying eggs, and maybe Midget was just a little jealous.  Nope, (s)he was horny. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Finding A Christmas Tree in the Southern Adirondacks

Christmastree_newI grew up getting a tree from a parking lot and yearned for a storybook experience of searching the woods for the ideal tree. Though getting any Christmas tree was exciting, I wanted to give my children a different family ritual.  I also wanted to stick to the legal version of obtaining a Christmas tree. A few of my friends may disagree (and shall remain nameless), but I believe that searching for a tree should not involve stealth, cloak of darkness and a get-away car.

How we obtain our Christmas tree varies year to year, but so far we have either been gifted a tree from a neighbor’s property or we’ve visited one a local Adirondack Christmas tree farm. » Continue Reading.



Sunday, December 8, 2013

Cabin Life: The First Eggs

The First EggsYesterday morning, I let the chickens out into their run, just like I always do.  I sprinkled some food in there and gave them my customary “Hey Ladies!”  I’ve stopped trying to keep them in the run, as they seem to get out now whenever they feel like it.

Even so, I closed the plastic over the opening in the run, and went back inside to have some tea.  Whitey is far and away my most vocal chicken, and she was squawking up a storm.  I looked out to see her relentlessly attacking the plastic covering the opening, and as I watched, she escaped.  But to my surprise, she immediately hopped back into the coop. » Continue Reading.



Sunday, November 24, 2013

Cabin Life: The Escapee Chickens

Whitey and MidgetThe chickens have become escape artists.  I don’t know how they figured out the elaborate trap of chicken wire and plastic that comprises the door to the run, but they’ve managed to get out for two days straight.

I don’t mind letting them roam around when I’m around.  But as the weather gets colder and the predators get more desperate for calories, I’m thinking that the door to the run may have to be reconfigured.  It’s sad to admit, but my half-assed door can’t even contain a bunch of literal bird brains.

It is nice to see them out and about in the yard though.  They have thoroughly picked over the spots where the run had been, and have even seem to have found some food left over in those spots.  I like seeing them come running up to the front door when I walk out, or see them flying for twenty or thirty feet.  They appear to be happy and content, and their tail feathers are sticking up higher than ever.  I’m not sure how much I should read into the angle of their feathers, but I heard somewhere that if their tail feathers are up, then they’re happy. » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Amy Ivy: The Last of the Fall Chores

unnamedWe had such a long spell of nice weather this fall that I should have no excuse for not having gotten all my fall outdoor chores finished by now. But I suspect I’m not the only one with a few more to-do items on my list. Here are some tips and suggestions:

We are at the very end of the limit for getting spring flowering bulbs planted. Check your sheds and closets for any lingering bulbs that you bought earlier but still haven’t gotten in the ground. I have a little more garlic to plant as well. It’s late, but I’m optimistic the bulbs will have time to root in before winter. Dig up any tender bulbs that can’t survive the winter. This includes gladioulus, canna lilies and dahlias. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, November 14, 2013

Farmer Pride: Support For Local Agriculture Alive and Well

ADKHarvestFarmAidMap725.5Autumn is, of course, the traditional time to celebrate the harvest.  This is evidenced by the numerous harvest festivals throughout the North Country during September and October.  As a farmer I always appreciate this time of year.  Sure, I love the foliage and crisp air as much as (if not more than) the visiting busloads of leaf-peepers.  But what I truly relish is the prospect of not growing anything for a few months.  I need rest, as does the soil, and winter is the perfect time to recharge.

As Adirondack Harvest coordinator, my autumn work involves lining up farm tours, promoting member events and participating in area festivals.  This year brought something new to the region: Farm Aid.  I had heard about Farm Aid for years – most of us know about the famous Willie Nelson, Neil Young and John Mellencamp-founded musical tour whose mission is to “keep family farmers on their land.”  It seemed a natural fit for Adirondack Harvest to participate this year since the whole gala was coming to Saratoga. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Picasso Bucks: The Dark Horse Challenge

Michael, Tieke, Chelsea“Picasso bucks?” said Chris Irwin.

“Picasso bolts,” said his owner Emmy Pavelka. “Whenever anyone tries to get on to ride him, he bolts.”

First though, Chris Irwin, Canada’s and one of the world’s foremost horse whisperers, had to contend with the horse Concert Pianist, who had not been ridden in three years. The horses were in Lesley and John Trevor’s Snowslip Farms barn on River Road in Lake Placid in response to a “Dark Horse Challenge” proposed by the Trevors: nominate your most challenging horse so that Irwin can demonstrate how even such a difficult animal can be reached and, doing so, show us how they can help us become better leaders. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, October 17, 2013

Growing the Great Pumpkin in Northern New York

PumpkinsIn the Peanuts comic strip, the precocious, blanket-toting Linus waited faithfully for The Great Pumpkin all night on Halloween in spite of being disappointed every year. Perhaps his unwavering belief in the mythical pumpkin was spurred on by the fact that almost every year brings the world a bigger “great pumpkin” of the sort one can measure and—at least potentially—eat.

Of the approximately 1.5 billion pounds of pumpkins grown annually in the U.S., only a very few are grown for size. Primarily within the last thirty years, giant pumpkin enthusiasts (that’s regular-size people, giant produce) have developed varieties that attain jaw-dropping proportions. From a nearly 500-lb. world record in 1981 to a half-ton in 1996 and a 2,000-lb. record in 2012, today’s giant pumpkins would be a dream come true for Linus. » Continue Reading.



Sunday, October 6, 2013

Gardening: Food Grown Right, in Your Backyard

Food Grown RightAs the founders behind the Seattle Urban Farm Company, Colin McCrate and Brad Halm have heard it all: My backyard is too small; how can I make space for a garden? Do I really need to buy fertilizer? What on earth is that creature crawling on the tomatoes? My crops took off and the zucchini is out of control — who has time to harvest it all!

Food Grown Right, in Your Backyard (Slipstone, 2012) is a primer for these questions and more. In response to the rising interest in homegrown foods, the Seattle Urban Farm Co. builds vegetable gardens for everyone from busy families to restaurants. Along the way, Colin and Brad teach beginner growers from all walks of life the techniques of organic food production. » Continue Reading.



Monday, September 30, 2013

Wholeshare Buying Clubs Provide Access to Local Food

CFLocalLivingFairNCBountyBPWhattamFor nearly two decades my family has grown much of its own food.   If we can’t produce it ourselves, sometimes we purchase through a cooperative buying club and place an order online each month.  A semi-truck deftly maneuvers the backroads and delivers the items to our club site where a handful of co-op members unload, sort, and weigh groceries and organic produce.  We buy in bulk and save money.  It’s like a slick combination of Sam’s Club and a natural foods co-op.

But one aspect has been conspicuously absent: most items, especially the produce, are not locally sourced.  Enter the next generation of online cooperative buying clubs: Wholeshare. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, September 19, 2013

Local Fruit: Harvesting The Wild Grape

wild grapeThe 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.



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