Posts Tagged ‘Local Farms’

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Warren County ‘Farm Talks’ Return

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe Warren County Soil & Water Conservation District is continuing its series of free agricultural “Farm Talks” presentations. The Farm Talks are open to all interested in learning about the variety of small farming and homesteading techniques.  The next talk will include two presentations.

The first will be “Year-Round High Tunnel Production” with Sandy and Paul Arnold of Pleasant Valley Farm in Argyle.  The second presentation of the night will be Starting a Small Scale Tree Nursery with David Lee of the NY Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Saratoga Tree Nursery. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Seed Catalogs: Reading Between the Lines

seed catalogsIt’s January and my dining room table is covered with seed and garden catalogs. I you’re a gardener and you’re not getting catalogs, something is wrong! Most have toll-free phone numbers and websites, so just let them know you’d like a free catalog and you’ll be set for life.

If you have high speed internet and like to surf the web, the online catalogs have a lot of information and links, but I enjoy having the catalogs around the house, and I’ll often grab one to flip through as I drink a cup of coffee or wait for my toast to brown. » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Stay Local With Winter Farmers Markets

SnowyGrocery300325When the doldrums set in, winter farmers’ markets can brighten your day with fresh local food and other products.   Many stores have “local” sections. As I visited a larger one in our neighboring Vermont recently, with a bustling melee of shoppers, vendors, veggies, maple, hard cider, and other foods and crafts, it occurred to me that I’m long overdue in encouraging readers to visit the winter markets throughout Northern New York. For example, I’ll bet you didn’t know that we not only have one, but now two indoor winter farmers’ markets in Plattsburgh and Upper Jay. » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Hiring Your First Employee Workshops Set

essex-farms-workers-in-dirt1Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) will offer training to help local farmers who will be hiring their first employees in 2015.

The beginners course covers payroll accounting, minimum wage, withholding, general work agreements, worker’s compensation, unemployment insurance, youth hiring rules and rates, termination, quarterly and annual report filing requirements. OSHA safety regulations, dangerous jobs, Right to Know and training will also be covered. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A Christmas Tree Farmer’s Year in Review

TOS.ChristmasTreeWalking through a large chain store this past October – at least a week before Halloween – I stumbled upon a display of decorations. Not witches and pumpkins, but trees and bells. There’s no question that retailers are intent on pushing the start of the Christmas season earlier and earlier, but we Christmas tree growers still have them beat; for us, it’s a nearly year-round endeavor.

Spring is one of the busiest times on a Christmas tree farm, yet it sometimes requires an agonizingly long wait before work can get started. It can take weeks of warmer weather to thaw the soil enough to plant the next rotation of trees. » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A Trip To Moody’s For The Perfect Christmas Tree

MoodyFarm_newOur Christmas tree tradition always involves sturdy boots, a saw, braving the cold and most likely a snowball fight that ends with someone crying.

There are many places around the Adirondacks to find the perfect Christmas tree. Every year my family has an open invitation to explore our neighbor’s property, but most of the time we enjoy walking the fields of one of the nearby tree farms. » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, December 10, 2014

For That Real Evergeen Experience, Buy Local

local spruceOf all the memorable aromas of the holiday season, nothing evokes its spirit quite like the smell of fresh-cut evergreen. Although over 80% of American households where Christmas is observed use artificial trees, about 11 million families still bring home a real tree.

Every species of conifer has its own mixture of sweet-smelling terpenols and esters that account for that “piney woods” perfume. While all natural Christmas trees share many of the same aromatic compounds, some people prefer the smell of a certain type of tree, possibly one they remember from childhood. No chemistry lab can make a polyvinylchloride tree smell like fresh pine, fir or spruce. A natural Christmas tree is, among other things, a giant holiday potpourri. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Stock Up: Local Vegetables in Soups and Stews

winter vegetablesCookie baking season is here, but before I bring out the sugar and butter, I’m going to cook up some healthy soups and stews for the freezer. My garden potatoes are starting to sprout so I plan to make a potato soup using my own onions and garlic, as well as the corn I froze in September.

I’m busy, so I like to make a big batch of soup or stew and then freeze it in pint-sized canning jars to get a lot of meals out of the one effort. These single-serving sizes are easy to grab on my way out the door in the morning and then heat in the microwave for a warm lunch at work. » Continue Reading.



Sunday, December 7, 2014

Celestial Burial And Rocky Cabin Chores

DSCN1728In Tibet they practice celestial burial. The deceased’s body is cut up into pieces small enough to be fed to the gathered vultures, who, because of this practice, are considered sacred birds. In our part of the Adirondacks we see few vultures, but, in part, a like ubiquity of rocks drives certain practices here.

During our early family summers on the edge of Adirondack wilderness, we children dreaded being assigned to bury the garbage. Waste disposal still decentralized in the early 1950s. To find where you could dig a hole deep enough to inter garbage was a serial ordeal of trial holes frustrated by hitting nonnegotiable rocks. » Continue Reading.



Saturday, December 6, 2014

The Lip Balm, Or Death Of A Microwave

Lip balm and cutting boardThe snow has come and gone, and then come and gone again. It’s been a wet fall, but with the transitions from rain to snow and back again, we still don’t have a lot of the white stuff on the ground.

The chickens are happily pecking away in their new coop and run, and I do feel better having them in a fully insulated coop, now that the night temperatures are getting into the single digits. They’re all huddled on the perch, snuggling to stay warm. At least now I can flip a switch and they have heat. Last winter it was warming a piece of granite on top of the woodstove and then running it out there to try and keep them warm. I like that they won’t be in my living room this year. At all. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, November 25, 2014

1816: An Adirondack Year Without Summer

Caldera_Mt_Tambora_Sumbawa_IndonesiaLast week’s cold snap, news reports about the Polar Vortex, and a November snowfall of historic proportions in Buffalo and Watertown has some folks teasing that they could use a little global warming about now. Adding to the concern is a recent book by John L. Casey, former space shuttle engineer and NASA consultant. Casey claims that it is solar activity, namely sunspot eruptions – and not carbon emissions – that trigger climate changes here on earth. The recent diminished solar activity, he claims, will cause the earth to rapidity grow colder. Casey’s book Dark Winter predicts the worst of the cooling cycle will hit in the late 2020s and a shortened growing season will trigger food riots around the world. His thesis is sure to trigger heated responses (sorry, couldn’t resist) from global climatologists around the world, many of which have been measuring the loss of ice at the poles and warming global temperatures.

All of this has reminded me of a time two hundred years ago when the Adirondacks were, at least for a while, unusually cold. » Continue Reading.



Saturday, November 15, 2014

Amy Godine On Black History in the Adirondacks

TMDA LogoBlack history in the Adirondacks has an anecdotal quality, maybe because the numbers of black Adirondackers have been so few. Here’s a story of a black homesteader who was good friends with John Brown. There’s a barn that may have sheltered fugitives on the Underground Railroad.  Outside Warrensburg is a place in the woods where a black hermit lived. And so on.

The temptation – and I should know; I’ve been a lead offender – is to make a sort of nosegay out of these scattered stories, pack them all into a story by its lonesome, a chunky little sidebar, and let this stand for the black experience.

It makes a good read, and it’s efficient. And it’s wrong. It reinforces the idea that the black experience in this region was something isolated, inessential. It ghettoizes black Adirondack history, and this wasn’t how it was. » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, October 15, 2014

North Country Junior Iron Chef Competition Planned

Super Chefs-ActionMy daughter has brought the same sandwich to school everyday since the 1st grade: turkey on 12-grain, with an occasional side salad. My son not only brings his lunch, but sometimes manages to eat a second school lunch. His school food isn’t the stereotypical cafeteria lunch however, but part of the Adirondack Farm to School Initiative that is making quality food while supporting local farms and local food.

The North Country Jr. Iron Chef competition is another resource that is bringing students and commercial cafeterias together in a fun, educational environment that mimics the television show “Iron Chef” with a local twist.

Inspired by Jr. Iron Chef VT, middle and high school students in Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Hamilton, Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties, create healthy recipes using a combination of local and USDA commodity foods that could be realistically prepared in a school cafeteria. » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Essex County Cheese Tour Offers Local Dairy Treats

asgaardfarm_newI’ve made my own yogurt for years and recently started experimenting with fermented food. I’m now struggling to produce Kefir without a grainy taste.

I just can’t seem to get the balance right. With a cupboard full of sourdough starter and ginger beer plant grains, my pantry looks like a science experiment.

With everything else bubbling and brewing, the one product I have no desire to make is cheese. » Continue Reading.



Monday, September 22, 2014

Laurie Davis: 2014 Farm Bill Funding

adirondack harvest logoEvery 5 years the United States reviews and signs into law a new Farm Bill. We were due for a new bill starting in 2012, but it took until this past February for Congress to sort through what didn’t work in the past, add new things for the future, and generally agree enough on everything to have the President sign the bill into law.

Don’t worry, this isn’t a column about the intricacies of government legislation, but the Farm Bill is something we all should pay attention to because it largely governs our food systems. I’ve always thought that it should be called the “Farm and Food Bill” – then maybe we would take more of an interest. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Laurie Davis: The Farm Bill, Local Foods, And You

adirondack harvest logoIt’s been a few months now since President Obama signed into law the Agricultural Act of 2014. You probably remember hearing about it under another name: the (long overdue) Farm Bill. There was much hoopla in the press when, after a delay of over a year, it finally became a law. OK, I can sense your eyes glazing over or darting to the next article. But wait! Just bear with me.

The Farm Bill (as we shall refer to it from here on out) is chock full of some good news for the local food movement and, whether or not you realize it, many parts of this legislation will affect you. I’m going to break this article up into two parts to address all the positives that will be supported by this Farm Bill, so let’s begin part 1! » Continue Reading.



Friday, August 29, 2014

HoboFest And Farm2Fork: Fresh Food, Fresh Music in SL

HoboFestThe term hobo means different things to different people conjuring up images of the Depression, freight jumping, and an independent spirit. For my family it brings up my grandfather’s stories as an orphaned runaway immigrant living on the streets of Brooklyn. His stories were colorful and glossed over a hard street life. After spending a brief time on the rails, he lied about his age to join the military where he would recall the first time he ate a meal until he was full. Years later he was able help others and always fed anyone that passed by or knocked on the door.

With Farm2Fork and the HoboFest, Labor Day weekend in Saranac Lake brings together three elements that my grandfather would love: fresh food, music and railroads. » Continue Reading.



Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Farm 2 Fork Festival Set For Saturday

Farm2ForkA bounty of locally produced food and drink is on the menu for the fifth annual Farm 2 Fork Festival, scheduled for 9 am to 2 pm, on Saturday, August 30th at Saranac Lake’s Riverside Park.

New this year, local organizers have partnered with Taste NY, a program of the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, to highlight the quality, diversity and economic impact of food and beverages produced in the Adirondack region. A collaboration of the Adirondack Green Circle and the AuSable Valley Grange, the festival’s mission is to expand the support of local foods and local farms and promote food awareness in the northern Adirondacks.

“What could be more fun than a festival that celebrates fresh food and local farm abundance? Not much, at least for me,” said Gail Brill, event coordinator for Farm 2 Fork in announcing this year’s event. » Continue Reading.



Thursday, July 10, 2014

Amy Ivy: Appreciating Our Local Vegetable Producers

NCGrownPepperMan30033.25Gardening, especially growing your own food, is one of the number one pastimes across the country. But ask anyone who has actually tended a garden and they will also admit it is a humbling experience! You don’t just drop a seed in the ground and ‘Voila!’ a basket of tomatoes appears. There are bugs, diseases, fertility, too much or too little water, and then there are weeds, weeds, and more weeds to contend with.

Supermarket shelves brim with perfect produce, and farmers markets and roadside stands have beautiful piles of all sorts of vegetables; they make it look so easy. Home gardeners might be content with having enough for a few meals but our North Country commercial growers are in this is as a business. If they don’t make a profit, they aren’t going to keep farming. Today, I hope to increase your appreciation of the work and innovations our growers use to produce all that beautiful food. » Continue Reading.



Wednesday, June 11, 2014

In Upper Jay: The Running of the Cows

Swiss Brown CowCows run. Not only that they hop about, kick up their heels, and act like school kids released for their summer holiday. The occasion? Being released from living in a barn all winter and finally being able to get out into a field of fresh grass, which took place on a Sunday morning at the end of May at the Sugarhouse Creamery, a farmstead in Upper Jay that decided to create a picnic, party, and farmer’s market featuring the products of several new farms recently launched across Essex County.

“The plan is at 11:30 or so we are going to let our Brown Swiss Cows out for the first time this spring,” said Alex Eaton of their first public running of the cows. “They are all in the barn at the moment eating a little bit of hay. We are going to release them and then they will go crazy. It is the best sight in the entire year. They kick up their heels, their udders are swinging around, and these massive creatures are so playful. It’s an incredible sight.” » Continue Reading.



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