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.

As in past years, Food from the Farm will include producers in Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties, offering a diverse array of products and we pretty well fill the gymnasium at the Plattsburgh Oval (at 52 U.S. Oval in Plattsburgh – the City Gym). You can sign up for CSAs, purchase overwintered storage crops and possibly spring greens grown under cover. There are informational tables as well as prepared food from some of the commercially licensed producers.

What’s available locally late-winter? All types of meat: beef, pork, lamb, chevon (goat), bison, chicken, turkey. Then there are all the things that store well: honey, maple products, cheese, and value added items like wine, jams, jellies, and other condiments. Hardy North Country hens continue to lay, so eggs are plentiful. Local vegetables include squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes, onions, celeriac, carrots, beets, garlic, and herbs (dried, frozen and fresh). And don’t forget that we are blessed with wonderful local orchards and vineyards so we have apples, cider and hard cider and wine.

The date is Saturday, March 1 from 2:00pm to 5:00pm. Tickets are $5 for ages 5 and up, under 5 is free and there’s a $20 maximum per family. The tickets are available at Cornell Cooperative Extension in Clinton County (6064 State Rte. 22) or at the door. For more information call 518-561-7450 or email Amy Ivy at adi2@cornell.edu.

We’re also planning another fun event, although it’s not necessarily of interest to the general public. It’s speed dating for chefs and farmers! This is our annual effort to connect farmers with chefs so that more locally grown food ends up in our restaurants. You would think that chef and farmers would be a natural match but it can be a real challenge for both sides. The farmers have to be able to provide consistent supply – a very difficult thing to accomplish given the whims of the weather, pests, diseases and other affronts to perfect farming. The chefs need to be flexible, aiming to use different ingredients as they become available. We are very fortunate that the number of chefs in our area willing to take on the challenge is increasing.

Do you have a favorite restaurant in which you’d like to see some locally grown or produced foods? Encourage the chef to attend our event at 9:00am on March 10 at the Plattsburgh Brewing Company (Comfort Inn). Contact Kristy Kennedy at the Adirondack Coast Visitors Bureau, 518-563-1000, if you’d like to participate.

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Laurie Davis is an Educator with Cornell Cooperative Extension in Essex County and is the Coordinator for Adirondack Harvest.

For more information on agriculture in Northern New York, visit the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Northern New York website at www.ccenny.com and www.nnyagdev.org or call 518-962-4810.




One Response

  1. Charlie S says:

    Local is the way to go Laurie and it seems like it is catching on up here in the northeast.There are some great farmers in New York and Vermont and though it may cost more to eat their quality products it’s way cheaper than doctor bills and eating out in chain restaurants,or restaurants whose food all comes from the same few corporations whose desire it is to feed us GMO’s or antibiotics or nitrates or artificial whatever it is they mix in their ingredients.Oftentimes I have wondered why they put all of that junk in the foods they sell…as if they’re out to poison us or something.
    I purchased and ate some mixed greens from a Washington County farmer just last week….mustard greens mixed in with other greens grown in a hothouse.All organic,no insecticides,no fungicides. They were so so tasty. I ate them raw the way they were,I dared not take away their flavors I did not add dressing to them. It don’t get any better than ‘local’ and I sure as heck hope the pace keeps up so far as more and more farmers jumping into the game.Thank you for sharing.