Almanack Contributor Mary Godnick

Mary Godnick

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.


Sunday, May 15, 2022

Harvest of the Month: Eggs

Feeding Hens at Essex Farm. Photo by Ben StechschulteEggs, 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. 

» Continue Reading.


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Sunday, April 3, 2022

April Harvest of the Month | Spring Greens 

high tunnels

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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Sunday, March 6, 2022

March Harvest of the Month: Whole Grains

grain

When you think of agriculture in the Adirondacks, you may not think of waving fields of grain. New England was the “breadbasket” of the United States until the late 1800’s. Global markets have driven local grains out of favor. Flour is flour, right? 

Many grain growers and “bread heads” would whole-heartily disagree. Have you ever eaten cornbread made with freshly ground cornmeal? Or eaten a shortbread cookie made with freshly ground buckwheat? The difference in flavor, nutrition, and community impact is significant. 

» Continue Reading.


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Sunday, February 6, 2022

February Harvest of the Month: Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas) are large, sweet-tasting, starchy, tubers that grow under soil attached to a sprawling vine with heart-shaped leaves. While we eat them like potatoes (Solanum tuberosum), they are actually not a potato. Sweet potatoes are a member of the Convolvulaceae plant family and are more closely related to morning glories than potatoes. Potatoes are in the nightshade family, and are more closely related to eggplant, tomatoes, and peppers. 

Sweet potatoes thrive in warm climates, and they continue to be a culturally significant food in the American South, where they have been grown by indigenous people, European colonists, and enslaved people, and farmers for hundreds of years. 

Photo from the Saratoga Farmers’ Market, Pleasant Valley Farm, By Pattie Garrett

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Sunday, January 9, 2022

January Harvest of the Month: Beets 

beets

Beets, or “beetroot”, are plants with edible greens and taproot in the Amaranthaceae family. They are part of the species Beta vulgaris, along with swiss chard and sugar beets. The plant was first cultivated in the Mediterranean regions and Middle-East and is now a staple ingredient in cuisines throughout Europe and North America.

In North America, the round sweet root vegetables are called “beets”, whereas in British English and other parts of the world they are referred to as “beetroot.” Today, beets are one of the few vegetables that are locally grown and available year-round in the Adirondack region. 

For many reasons, beets have earned a tough reputation in the United States. People either love them or hate them. Some people are sensitive to their “earthy” flavor, that is thanks to a compound called geosmin, which is also the compound that we associate with the smell of “fresh rain” and “forest soil”. Some people are much more sensitive to this compound than others. However, their nutritional, symbolic, and practical characteristics have kept them on the menu from 1000+ BCE to today. 

» Continue Reading.


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Thursday, December 16, 2021

Saranac Lake Winter Farmers’ Park-It now accepts SNAP

SNAP and farmers market

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits are now accepted at the Saranac Lake Farmers’ Park-It, a curbside, order-ahead pickup model, through May 28. SNAP, formerly known as “food stamps”, is a federal program that provides low-income families with funds to purchase groceries. Since most vendors aren’t equipped to individually process EBT cards, a market-wide exchange program is required. This is the first year SNAP has been available through the winter and to pay for online-orders through Park-it.

Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) of Essex County, and AdkAction piloted this new local food access program at the Lake Placid and Saranac Lake farmers’ markets this year from May to October. Shoppers exchanged their SNAP benefits for tokens redeemable at the market. At those two markets, over $1,700 SNAP dollars were spent on local food during the summer season.

This fall, CCE and AdkAction worked together again at the Saranac Lake Indoor Farmers’ Market to provide the same program, and will continue as the market transitions to just a Park-It after the holidays. Prior to this program, SNAP benefits have not been accepted year-round at any farmers’ market in Essex County.

» Continue Reading.


Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Adirondack Harvest creates holiday shopping guide

adirondack harvest gift guide

This holiday season,  support the farmers, makers and small businesses in the Adirondacks by shopping for Adirondack-grown and made food and gifts. Share the special sense of place that things made from the sun, soil, and wild rivers of the Adirondacks offer.  There is no better way to express your love and gratitude for our region and the people who make it special than to put your extra holiday spending back into your Adirondack communities.

The guide aims to inspire and connect you with farms and small businesses to support this holiday season. Click here to access it.


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Sunday, December 5, 2021

December Harvest of the Month: Delicata Squash 

delicata squash

Delicata squash cut in half at Fruiton Seed Company, from fruitionseeds.com

Have you heard of delicata squash? Perhaps you’ve seen these unique oblong striped squash at the farmers’ market but weren’t quite sure what they were. Delicata is a very sweet type of winter squash with cream colored, yellow, and green striped skin. It’s named “delicata” because of its delicate skin that doesn’t need to be peeled before cooking and can be eaten. The delicata is a cultivar of the variety Cucurbita pepo, meaning it is a close relative to zucchini, butternut squash, and pumpkins. 

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Sunday, November 7, 2021

November Harvest of the Month: Brussels Sprouts

brussels sprouts Brussels sprouts are one of the many vegetables in the brassica family, along with kale, turnips, collard greens, broccoli, arugula, bok choy, and more. Brussels sprouts are cabbage-like sprouts on tall stalks that thrive in temperate weather. The United States produces 32,000 tons of them each year, with most production in California, Washington, and New York states. It’s estimated that up to 85% of brussels sprouts grown in the US are for frozen food. The largest global producing country is the Netherlands, where they harvest 90,000 tons each year.

» Continue Reading.


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Saturday, November 6, 2021

It’s turkey ordering time

turkeysAdirondack Beef Company, Croghan, NY

4 Reasons to Go Local for Your Thanksgiving Turkey

1- Keep your dollars in your community: The average farmer only makes $0.17 for every $1.00 spent on the food they grew. Buying directly from a farmer means they will receive 100% of the profits they earned.

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Sunday, October 3, 2021

October Harvest of the Month: Apples

applesApples 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? 

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Thursday, September 16, 2021

Picking the Perfect Market Melon

It’s that time of the year when so much is in season in the Adirondack region- including melons like honeydew, cantaloupe and watermelon.

In the Adirondacks, locally grown melons only start to appear with sweet corn and winter squash, right around when kids start heading back to school. Once the frost comes, they are done.

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Sunday, September 5, 2021

Harvest of the Month: Honey

bees on honeycombSeptember is National Honey Month

Since the 1980’s September has been “National Honey Month”, in honor of the end of the season for most areas, when beekeepers collect honey from their hives. It’s a time to raise awareness of beekeeping and the benefits of honey. 

This National Honey Month, learn more about how honey is made by bees, collected by humans, and how you can support beekeepers in your community. 

» Continue Reading.


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Sunday, August 1, 2021

August Harvest of the Month | Peppers

serrano peppers

Photo of serranos courtesy of https://peppergeek.com/serrano-peppers/

History and Facts

Peppers are the berry-fruits of plants in the genus capsaicin which are in the nightshade family, with tomatoes and eggplants. The spicy “chili peppers” and mild “sweet peppers” and “bell peppers” are all native to tropical parts of the Americas. Prehistoric remains of peppers have been found in Central and South America. 

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Sunday, July 4, 2021

Berries are the Harvest of the Month for July

picking berriesAll about berries! Blueberries, both wild and cultivated, are native to the Northeast. They belong to the Ericaceae plant family, along with cranberries. They are in season in the Adirondack region from mid-July through September. The United States is the primary producer of blueberries worldwide, followed by Canada, and Peru. In the US they are mostly grown in Oregon, Washington State, Michigan, New Jersey, California, and North Carolina. Many diversified farms and orchards grow blueberries in the Adirondack region. Blueberries like acidic soil and cold winters for a dormancy period.

Above photo: Blueberry harvest at Wild Work Farm in Keene Valley, NY. Netting over berry bushes protects the crop from birds. Most small-scale diversified farms and orchards pick their harvests by hand. 

» Continue Reading.



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