Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Green Grass Getdown In Upper Jay on Sunday

Adirondack FarmsSugar House Creamery in Upper Jay will be hosting a Green Grass Getdown, a celebration of Spring, local farm food, and cows heading to pasture at the start of the grazing season, on Sunday, May 25.

The event will feature a local food fair and a farmers’ market. The day kicks off with the procession of cows to pasture at 11 am. The parade is based on the Swiss tradition of sending cows to high alpine meadows, a part of Transhumance, the ages-old worldwide migration of livestock and their keepers between seasonal grounds.

Guests will be able to sample and buy fare from Asgaard Farm, The Clay Hearth, Fledging Crow Vegetables, Juniper Hill Farm, Mace Chasm Farm, North Country Creamery, Sugar House Creamery, and other local food providers.

» Continue Reading.


Thursday, May 8, 2014

Dandelions: Make Salad, Not War

DandelionFlower-Photo-by-Greg-HumeThere’s no arguing spring with the dandelions. When they bloom, I know that winter’s finally outta here. By May, my fields and yard are dusted with that mellow dandelion yellow. I don’t mind. I keep honeybees, and dandelions are one of the more reliable sources of early spring nectar and pollen.

Dandelion is a poetic name. Derived from the French phrase, dent de leon, it refers to the deep serrations of the leaves, which, at least to the French, resemble the teeth (dent) of a lion (leon). The flower heads are packed with innumerable tiny florets. The heads open during the day and close at night. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, April 24, 2014

Amy Ivy On When To Plant The Garden


springfrostlgGardeners across the North Country have had a stressful winter, wondering what the sheets of ice, endless snow and sub-zero temperatures are doing to their perennials, berries, trees and shrubs. All we can do is wait and see how things get through. The next biggest stressor for gardeners is going to be deciding how early you can start planting your garden.

I’ve learned to not even try to make predictions related to the weather, especially as it relates to plants. Luckily many plants are quite resilient, so even if they get off to a slow start in spring they often catch up by summer. I have no idea what May is going to be like, and therefore no idea if you should make any adjustments to your usual gardening practices.

Just last year we had a killing frost in early May followed by those endless days of pouring rain that lasted into early July. All I can do is advise you to be ready for anything. Go ahead and plant your peas and spinach at the end of April if that’s what you usually do, but save a few seeds for replanting in case those don’t make it. When possible, plan to make successive plantings and hope that the timing works out for at least one of them. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Ag Program Receives $600k in NYS Funding for Research

NNYADPThe Northern New York Agricultural Development Program (NNYADP) has received $600,000 in the recently-passed New York State Budget for research to enhance the sustainability and profitability of farm businesses in the state’s six northernmost counties: Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence.

The Northern New York agricultural industry contributes nearly $600 million in estimated farm product market value to the local economy and has an estimated local payroll of approximately $53 million. » Continue Reading.


Monday, April 21, 2014

A New Crop of Farmers Take Root in Champlain Valley

asa_courtney_cattle-600x468When Asa Thomas-Train met his future wife, Courtney Grimes-Sutton, she was skinning a pig. Rather than wonder why an attractive young woman was doing a job usually reserved for big, brawny guys, Asa reacted with admiration. “She’s an incredibly capable, charismatic, and strong woman,” he said recently.

That summer of 2010, they were working at Essex Farm, a mecca for edgy young farmers honing their agricultural skills. Founded a decade ago by Mark and Kristin Kimball, the farm has had a prodigious influence, spawning new farmers and a warm farming community. Kristin recounted the farm’s unfolding in her memoir The Dirty Life. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Juneberry Research Nursery Planned For Willsboro

juneberry in New York (photo 2)The farmer-led Northern New York Agricultural Development Program has posted a new report on establishing New York’s first Juneberry research nursery. The planting at the Cornell Willsboro Research Farm in Willsboro, NY, will be one of the largest nurseries of its kind for studying this ‘superfruit.’

Juneberry, scientifically known as Amelanchier, has the potential to be a major novel fruit crop in northern New York, and perhaps the Northeast, say researchers Michael H. Davis, Cornell Willsboro Research Farm Manager, and botanist Michael B. Burgess of the State University of New York at Plattsburgh. » Continue Reading.


Monday, April 7, 2014

Community Gardens Gaining Ground in Northern New York

communitygardenphotodigThis is a revival of a column I wrote a few years ago about community gardens. I couldn’t resist digging it out of the mothballs because, like other local food and gardening efforts it’s gaining momentum with wide interest.

When I last encouraged folks to look into community gardens there were just a handful in the North Country.  Last summer, when Adirondack Harvest published its annual local food guide, we listed 21 community and school gardens, just in Essex County!

My introduction to community gardens took place 25 years ago when my husband and I, devout gardeners and homesteaders, abruptly moved from the rural green of Vermont to Minneapolis and St. Paul (yes, we started out in one city and a year later moved to the other one).

While we adored the Twin Cities, there were no backyard gardens for us. And so there entered a new concept in my life: community gardens.  We discovered that plots of land had been cordoned off in, among other places, parks and vacant lots.  Each area was divided into many 20’ by 20’ plots with water access.  For a small fee, we were able to secure a space, tilled for us at the beginning of the season. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The Science of Maple Syrup

syrupIn maple country, it seems like everyone has a favorite syrup grade. Mine is U.S. Grade A dark amber. But soon, I’ll have to figure out how my favorite grade of the past jibes with a new system that several Northeastern states plan to adopt in the next few years, and that other states – as well as Canada – are also considering.

It turns out that, at least in New York, Vermont, and Maine, my favorite amber will soon be called either Grade A Amber, Rich Taste or Grade A Dark, Robust Taste, depending on which end of the amber spectrum I prefer. Lighter syrups tend to have more delicate flavors, while darker ones are more intense – a relationship on which the old maple syrup labels, that described color only, relied.

So why doesn’t all syrup taste the same? Sugars in maple sap undergo a series of changes during collection and processing that influence both color and flavor. “The most important determinant of what flavor develops in syrup are the reactions that occur when heat is applied as we process sap into syrup in the evaporator,” explained Abby van den Berg, a researcher at the Proctor Maple Research Center at the University of Vermont. » Continue Reading.


Friday, March 28, 2014

Adirondacks Celebrating Maple Weekend

sugarhouseAdirondack maple producers and businesses are celebrating spring’s sweetest product with special events, tours and tastings during Maple Weekend, March 29-30, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day which coincides with Thurman Maple Weekend.

Every March since the mid-1990’s, the New York State Maple Producers Association has presented Maple Weekends, during which maple producers from throughout the state host open houses to showcase how maple products are produced, from tree to table, and provide a chance to taste and purchase products.  This year, the Tri-Lakes / High Peaks region of the Adirondacks will also host a series of special “sweet” events this weekend.  » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Raising Local Food: Ward Lumber’s Poultry Day

2014 poultry dayI’ve considered raising chickens for many reasons, and not just because of the recent popularity of the backyard chicken movement. Raising my own chickens would be more than the bucolic setting where my children skip (they must skip) out the backdoor to the chicken coop to collect eggs. (If the scene is to be complete, my daughter is most likely wearing gingham and some sort of bonnet.)

The reality is less picturesque. The fewer miles my food needs to travel, the better off my family is.  With constant food recalls and salmonella poisoning as just a few reasons to be wary, finding a local source for eggs, dairy and meat is one step, in my opinion, toward good health. So for those that haven’t jumped on the chicken-raising bandwagon, attending a seminar is the perfect opportunity to find out if this is the way to bring your own food source closer to home. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Hops Growing Talk Planned in Warrensburg

Franklin County hop-pickers c 1900With the ever increasing interest in locally produced foods and homesteading skills, the Warren County Soil and Water Conservation District is presenting a series of informational talks in Warrensburg on agricultural topics.  The presentations are free and open to anyone with an interest.  For reservations contact Nick Rowell at (518)623-3119 or nrowell123@nycap.rr.com, as seating is limited.

The next two talks, on hops growing and soil health, will be Friday, March 28th from 6 pm to 8 pm at the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation Warrensburg Office at 232 Golf Course Road. Future talks are planned for May.

Hops was once a staple crop of New York farmers, but production ended about 50 years ago and the last beer made with all New York hops was produced in the 1950s.  That is until 2004 when the first new beer was brewed with all New York hops. Today a small amount of hops are being grown in Washington and Warren counties for use in the Adirondack and Paradox breweries. » Continue Reading.


Thursday, March 20, 2014

First Day of Spring: Starting Seeds Indoors

starting-seeds-indoorsEven while we remain snowbound, the days are growing longer and the sun is getting higher; robins are singing, and there’s a good chance spring will come sometime in 2014. For those who still believe in spring, late March is the time to start planting vegetable and flower seeds indoors.

Raising your own plants gives you the option to pick unusual varieties not available commercially in the spring, and it’s a lot cheaper than buying transplants. For kids it can be a fun activity, and for the rest of us it’s at least in part about seeds of change; a sign we believe growth and change are possible despite a bleak forecast. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

$5 Million Lake George Redevelopment Announced

Adirondack Brewery DistilleryAdirondack Pub and Brewery owner John Carr has announced that he is purchasing the four-acre lot on Route 9 owned by the Off-Track Betting Corporation for $1.25 million.  Carr’s immediate plans for the property include expanding Adirondack’s brewing and bottling operations and building the first whiskey distillery in Lake George.   OTB will continue to operate a betting parlor at the site until it secures a new location, according to Carr.

With the construction of a new plant on the property, Carr expects his brewing and bottling capacities to triple. “We look forward to seeing our Adirondack beers being sold in every county of the state,” he said.  Once the expansion is complete, Adirondack Brewery is expected to produce 35,000 barrels of beer a year.   Carr said the project will take five years to complete and cost approximately $5 million. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, March 12, 2014

5th Annual Glens Falls Benefit Brewfest April 5

Glens Falls Brew FestA celebration of good beer and charitable giving combine for the 5th Annual Glens Falls Brewfest. Over 60 breweries are expected on Saturday, April 5 at the Queensbury Hotel (88 Ridge St).

The following breweries are confirmed participants in this year’s Glens Falls Brewfest with more expoected to sign-up: Adirondack Pub & Brewery, Ace Cider, City Steam, Coopers Cave Ale Company, Davidson Brothers Brewing Company , Ft. Collins, Goose Island, Kona, McKenzie’s, Paradox, Peak, Redhook, Sea Dog, Shipyard, Shocktop, Southampton, Stella Cidre, Uinta, and Widmer Brothers. Organizers will post the latest additions on the Glens Falls Brewfest Facebook page and GlensFallsBrewfest.org. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Avoiding Vegetable Garden Problems

MarketVegsWith temperatures remaining below normal during the first week of March, the spring planting season is still a long ways off. Gardeners are itching to get busy but have to wait while March and April drag by, teasing us with spring-like spells that are inevitably followed by cold snaps.

To put some of that pent-up energy to good use, gardeners would be wise to spend a good chunk of time now planning out their gardens. Perennial flower gardeners can creatively rearrange their plants and search for particular colors or bloom times to fill in gaps. Planning ahead can also help reduce some disease problems for vegetable gardeners. » Continue Reading.


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