Mary Godnick is the Digital Editor for Cornell Cooperative Extension of Essex County. She lives in the Champlain Valley where she grows vegetables on a cooperative farm plot with her partner and two rescue dogs. You can read more of her work on AdirondackHarvest.com and follow her on Twitter at @MaryGodnick.
WESTPORT, NY– Celebrate the harvest season and learn about agriculture in the Adirondack region at the 2023 Adirondack Harvest Festival on Saturday, September 23rd from 12 to 5 PM at the Essex County Fairgrounds.
This free family-friendly event features a large farmers’ market, local food trucks, “Local Libations” tent, hands-on workshops, kids’ activities, farm animal petting zoo, draft horse wagon rides and more. » Continue Reading.
Summer farmers’ market season has officially begun in the Adirondack region, bringing a welcome return of locally grown and made food, plus arts and crafts to communities across the region. There are two new farmers’ markets in the Champlain Valley this summer in Port Henry and Schroon Lake. Both markets aim to grow the presence of local food and overall community vibrancy in their respective towns.
Gabriel Jaquish, market manager for the new Port Henry Waterfront Farmers’ Market says, “The Port Henry Waterfront farmers’ market aims to connect local producers, makers, and crafters directly to consumers. Its’ unique Friday evening time provides a perfect way to relax, shop, and stock up on local products before a weekend of hiking, biking, boating, or camping. This market will have a relaxed feel, with lawn games and live music. People are encouraged to come and hang out by the lake.”
The market will feature a mix of food trucks, artists, and small farms, as well as live music. Gabriel says, “Our market will be producer-only, all of our vendors will be local growers.” Shoppers will find fresh fruits and vegetables from Daughters 5 Farm in Crown Point, locally grown beef from Red Ranch Beef Company, spice blends from Bodette’s Barbecue Rubs, and more to come.
Cultivating Change: The Impact of Locally Grown Cut Flowers in the Adirondacks and Beyond
The United States, particularly California, was once a leading producer of cut flowers that were sold internationally. Today, 80 percent of cut flowers in the US are imported from other countries, primarily South America and Africa.
In 1991 the US was cracking down on the coca trade and enacted the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act (ATPDEA) which provided duty-free imports to certain South American products such as live plants and flowers. For US flower growers, this led to a significant decline in their share of the US market, with market shares dropping from 64% to about 20% in 2007. While some US businesses have benefited from expanded trade, US flower farmers have not. The international cut-flower trade is a $36.4 billion industry.
Cornell Cooperative Extension Supports Local Schools to Serve Local Food
Lewis, NY – Schools in the region are proving that serving locally grown and from-scratch food is possible and has wide-reaching benefits. Serving local food can save taxpayers dollars, increase the number of students eating school meals, improve the health and focus of students, and support local farmers.
Regional food service directors have found that some ingredients are actually less expensive when purchased locally, like apples and ground beef, and most other ingredients have a minimal price difference that can be made up with savings elsewhere.
Schools can also take advantage of federal and state incentive programs to supplement their budgets, like the New York State 30% Incentive program that reimburses up to $0.25 per meal served for school districts that spend 30% of their lunch budget on New York State food products. » Continue Reading.
Wool and other fiber production has been an important part of agriculture in the Adirondacks for many years. In the 1800s many of the new settlers in the region were from Ireland, Scotland, and England. With a landscape conducive to raising sheep, there was boom in merino wool farmers in the region. It was commonplace for people to make mittens, socks and other merino wool products to sell during this time. As with most other agricultural products, the introduction of the rail system meant increased competition from farms and ranches in the Midwest, in the large cities where Upstate NY and Vermont farmers shipped and sold most of their product. Consequently, merino sheep farming gave way to dairy farming, which then gave way to industrial farming.
Today, over 60% of textile fibers are synthetics derived from petrochemicals. Inexpensive synthetic fabrics (like fleece, spandex and nylon) all come from oil that has undergone a chemical process. When these materials degrade, their fibers become microplastics in our environment. It’s estimated that over a third of all microplastics found in the ocean come from synthetic fabrics. In addition, the dyeing process for most commercially made fabrics is a health hazard and major source of water pollution.
When you think of agriculture in the Adirondacks, you may not think of waving fields of grain. However, New England was actually the “breadbasket” of the United States until the late 1800’s.
Global markets have driven local grains out of favor. Today, China is the top wheat producer, followed by India, Russia, and the United States. But flour is flour, right? Not really. The difference in flavor, nutrition, and community impact is significant.
Have you considered buying a local turkey for your Thanksgiving meal this year? Buying a pasture-raised turkey from a local farm is one way to offer gratitude for the people and land that nourish your family. Locally raised turkeys are also usually raised in more humane conditions, and are much more flavorful and delicious. Most local farms and retailers require customers to pre-order and place a deposit on their turkeys in advance, generally from September-October. Browse the list below to reserve a local turkey for your Thanksgiving table.
What’s the Difference Between a Pumpkin, Winter Squash and Gourd?
Pumpkins, winter squash and gourds are all fruit of the same genus, Cucurbita. Botanically speaking, there isn’t much difference between them. However, there is a significant difference in pumpkins, squash and gourds that have been bred for ornamental or edible purposes. A jack-o-lantern-style pumpkin would be tasteless and disappointing to eat. But a pie pumpkin would be sweet and delicious, much more like butternut squash. Edible pumpkins and squash can be unique decorations that can later be eaten. Look for delicious and beautiful varieties like Blue Hubbard, Autumn Frost, and Long Island Cheese to make your autumn decor do double duty.
Apples are one of the most historically, culturally, and economically significant fruits on earth. It’s estimated that humans have been eating apples since 50,000 BCE. Today, there are currently over 7,500 known cultivars of apples, ranging from small, green and tart, to big red sweet globes. The modern apple is thought to have been domesticated in modern-day Kazakstan 4,000-10,000 years ago.
Apples are not native to New York State or the United States at all. However, today there are over 42,360 acres of apple orchards in the state of New York, which is second in the US behind the state of Washington for apple production. The United States (5M tons/year) is second only to China (50M tons/year) in apple production.
So how did the United States become a leader in growing a fruit that is relatively new to the area?
Melons have been adapted over many years to include a variety of distinct fruits. They can have ribbed, wrinkly or smooth rinds, and their flesh can range from juicy to dry, and sweet to mild. Melons are in the gourd family and are closely related to pumpkins, squash and cucumbers. They prefer warmer climates, and there is a very short window of time that they are available in the Adirondack region- between August and early September.
Culinary herbs are the aromatic leaves of plants that are used to flavor, or be eaten as, food. “Fresh herbs” are herbs still in their whole plant form and have not been dried or processed. Fresh herbs have been used in traditional cuisines of cultures across the world for thousands of years. Fresh herbs provide a diversity of distinct flavors and aromas and are part of what makes regional culinary traditions taste unique.
Perhaps I am biased, but I think that fresh herbs just make life better! Think about how good a really good mojito is with mint. Or basil on a ripe summer tomato. Or the incredible scent of a bouquet of lavender or roses. There are many reasons to love fresh herbs, especially from local farms and gardens!
Rhubarb is a perennial spring vegetable that grows abundantly from May to July in the Adirondacks. Rhubarb is in the plant family Polygonacea along with knotweed and buckwheat. While the plant is technically a vegetable, the tart edible stalks of the plant are most commonly thought of as a fruit, and is eaten in sweet preparations.
New Adirondack Harvest Resource Provides Info on 65+ Area Markets
Summer farmers market season has officially kicked off this month in the Adirondack region, bringing a welcome return of locally grown and made food, arts and crafts. Seasonal farmers’ markets offer a closer-to-home opportunity for folks to support farmers and makers in their community.
Eggs, more specifically, chicken eggs, are an integral part of traditions, celebratory dishes, and the everyday diet around the globe. Historians estimate that humans have been eating eggs for roughly 6 million years. Originally, people foraged eggs from wild bird nests until they were domesticated around 1500 BCE in Ancient Egypt. Throughout history, eggs have become a symbol of life, rebirth, renewal, and fertility for many cultures.
Today, humans eat about 88 million tons of eggs each year worldwide. China is the top producer of eggs (roughly 34 million tons), then the United States (roughly 6.9 million tons), and then Mexico (roughly 4 million tons). While we may think of them as a staple of the American diet, countries like Japan, Paraguay, China, and Mexico consume more eggs per person each year.
Spring Greens are the edible young leaves or new growth of plants. Spring greens are the tender new growth that first emerges in early spring. In the Adirondacks, spring greens start to appear in greenhouses at the end of March and early April.
These tender greens are the unofficial start of the new year. They are the first fresh growth of the season! They indicate that young radishes, asparagus, and scallions are coming soon.
When we say “spring greens”, we mean baby cut lettuce, kale, chard, spinach, and other plants like bok choy. Many times, a variety of different spring greens or types of lettuces are packaged together and called “Spring Mix” or “Salad Mix.”
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