Warmer weather means grilling time! Instead of sticking to traditional grilling foods like burgers or hot dogs, why not consider grilling one of my personal favorite foods, pizza.
This fantastic dish can be modified to suit a variety of dietary needs and preferences, and can be easily adjusted to be a healthy food choice. Cheese can be substituted with vegan cheese or left off entirely for vegans, vegetables and fruit can be used as toppings, and some traditionally unhealthy topping choices, such as pepperoni or sausage, can be swapped for healthier options such as turkey pepperoni or venison sausage. Even more appealing, though, is the taste. Nothing truly compares to the smoky and savory flavors that combine in a good grilled pizza.
When Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the executive order in March that shut down state commerce, Katie and Brandon Donahue, owners of Donahue’s Livestock Farm in North Bangor, had 30 sizable orders of top-shelf, hormone- and antibiotic-free beef and pork in the cooler destined for North Country restaurants.
Within minutes of the shutdown order, Donahue’s phone began blowing up with cancellations. Restaurants were either shutting down altogether or going to a pickup/delivery model that relied less on the more expensive, hence more profitable, cuts. By the end of the day, 27 of the 30 restaurants had called to cancel.
“I was panicking,” Donahue said. “I have 700 cows out in the field that still have to eat, and they don’t care about the coronavirus.”
One thing is sure: all of us have learned that the world can change overnight. So far, supply chains within the global food system have not been totally disrupted. Hopefully they won’t be. But food resiliency means a community has farms growing food on the soil surrounding community members. If supply chains break, your neighboring farms are growing food nearby. But in order for community farms to survive, they can’t be a last resort. Community members have to see the value in knowing that security is there, every day, and support it… or farms don’t survive.
Many people have been thinking about food differently during this unprecedented pandemic. Going out to get food means something different than it did mere weeks ago. We’re wondering where our food came from and how many people touched it before us. Or we don’t want to go out to get it at all…
So, like magic, local farm and food businesses in the Adirondacks have responded rapidly in innovative ways to feed the community. Local farmers’ markets, farmstands, cooked meal deliveries, and other local food vendors are noticing amazing support from the community. Adirondack Harvest wanted to understand more about the relationship of local food to the community during this unusual time. Here’s what you told us!
Dandelions: Landscape Weed or Beneficial Backyard Herb?
Dandelions (Taraxacum officinale)are probably the most recognized of all broadleaf ‘weeds’. Many people consider them a curse; a plant that can establish quickly, by seed, in a well-kept lawn and become extremely difficult to eradicate. Homeowners and groundskeepers spend tremendous amounts of time and enormous amounts of money annually, persistently trying to exterminate the tenacious, opportunistic, perennial wildflowers, which will re-grow vegetatively, if the taproot is not entirely removed, often even after being treated with herbicides.
Others value dandelions as one of the least-recognized of all multi-purpose herbs. They view them as nutritious, free food that can be easily added to most-anyone’s diet. They delight in collecting dandelion greens to add to soups or salads, and/or take pleasure in picking the flower heads (and digging roots) for a pot of tea or a crock of dandelion wine. I have a friend who remembers when, as a boy, he was paid a penny apiece for dandelion heads (blossoms), by an enthusiastic wine-making neighbor.
As the world is in the midst of a pandemic from the COVID-19 virus, maple trees that dot the landscape across the northeast continued to flow this spring like nothing had changed in the world. Despite the interruption to daily life for most Americans, sugar-makers continued to collect sap from their maple trees and boil it down into nature’s sweet treat – maple syrup. For sugar-makers, long days and nights of boiling and collecting sap are required. As a result, little time is left for socialization so life has not changed as drastically for sugar-makers as it has for others. Coronavirus or not, this was the time we had to collect the sap to make syrup. Maple is an agriculture practice and part of our food system so sugar-makers are deemed essential. Many who enjoy maple syrup would agree that maple syrup production is an essential job.
The sugar-making season and the weeks thereafter are an extremely important selling period for local producers. Unfortunately, the Covid-19 pandemic has seriously impacted, and may continue to impact, sales into and perhaps beyond the spring and summer seasons.
Many local maple syrup-producing farm-families take part in Maple Weekend, an annual event championed by the New York State Maple Producers Association (NYSMPA) and supported by Cornell Cooperative Extension and the Cornell Maple Program. Maple Weekend provides opportunities for interested individuals and families across the state to visit one or more of the state’s family-run maple sugaring operations to see, first-hand, how sugar maple trees are tapped and sap is collected and boiled into pure, delicious maple syrup.
Adirondack Harvest has added a COVID-19 resources page to its website, to make it easier to people to support area farms and businesses and continue to source locally produced foods. The page can be found here.
Many regional CSA’s will begin soon. When you participate in a CSA, you will pay for a season’s worth of fresh food for a farmer, who will then coordinate pick-up or delivery to you weekly. To find a CSA near you, click here.
Orgs launch program to deliver farm-fresh food packages
AdkAction has partnered up with the Hub on the Hill in Essex in order to launch an Emergency Food Packages Project (EFP) to assist local families who may be struggling due to the coronavirus. Every EFP contains a week’s worth of fresh, pre-prepared meals delivered directly to families. The organizations’ goal is to provide 100 boxes of food each week over the next 10 weeks. A total of 1,000 packages, supplying 15,000 meals – all for free.
Each EFP contains eggs, bread, apples, healthy snacks, yogurt, greens, granola, soup, and two large trays of frozen entrees. The food distributed is purchased from local farms, and prepared and delivered by local labor provided by Hub on the Hill. Families and individuals in need are being screened by partner agencies and local organizations with a history of supporting those who need food.
EFP’s have a $55 production fee but are provided free to families in need. A $7,000 grant provided by the Adirondack Foundation’s Special and Urgent Needs Fund launched the project. AdkAction has also created a online fundraising page to help reach the overall goal. Over $30,000 was raised in the first 24 hours, enough to support the first 545 EFP’s, with a total of $55,000 needed to support the creation and delivery of 1,000 EFPs.
The fourteenth annual Thurman Maple Days, a three-weekend event, is set to kick-off Saturday and Sunday, March 14 and 15, continuing through March 29th. The event offers self-guided tours of eight agricultural sites in the rural town of Thurman, self-dubbed “Maple Capital of Warren County,” just 20 minutes from downtown Lake George. » Continue Reading.
Coming off the heels of the successful Petrova Elementary School Cultural Fair, The Adirondack Global Festival continues to use the arts as a way to introduce different cultures through entertaining activities.
The Annual Adirondack Harvest Board Meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday, March 3rd, and the Southern Chapter Meeting will be held at the Warren County Soil & Water Conservation District office on Schroon River Road in Warrensburgh. » Continue Reading.
Lake George Arts Project’s annual winter fundraiser, “Bands ‘n Beans” has been set for March 29, from 2 to 7 pm.
More than twenty five area restaurants are set to present guests with their best chili in a friendly competition to win in a number of categories. Attendees will taste them all and vote on their favorite while ten local bands will play continuous music on two stages. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Almanack's contributors include veteran local writers, historians, naturalists, and outdoor enthusiasts from around the Adirondack region. The Almanack is the online news journal of Adirondack Explorer. Both are nonprofits supported by contributors, readers, and advertisers, and devoted to exploring, protecting, and unifying the Adirondack Park.
General inquiries about the Adirondack Almanack should be directed to editor Melissa Hart.
To advertise on the Adirondack Almanack, or to receive information on rates and design, please click here.