Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Amazing Grace Vineyard Summer Concert Series

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Summer in the Adirondacks is not only about the beautiful wild outdoors, but can be a mixture of cultural activities while enjoying nature with artists and musical entertainment. For the fourth year, Amazing Grace Winery is pairing its fine Champlain Valley wine with local musical talent for a casual evening under the stars.

Established in 2008 in Chazy, Amazing Grace produces cold hardy varietal wines and fruit wines and has a recently expanded 1,400 square foot winery/tasting room as part of its small farm vineyard. In addition to tours, tasting and  musical events the vineyard hosts a bimonthly Farmers’ and Craft Market the first and third Sunday in July and August.

“We have tried to keep the summer concert series affordable,” says Amazing Grace Vineyard and Winery owner Mary Fortin. “Most of the performances are free though we do raise money for various local charities like The Food Shelf. People don’t have to donate, but we do ask. We also do charge an admission for the annual musical.” » Continue Reading.


Monday, July 1, 2013

Supporting Local Dairy: Look for the Code, Buy Direct

RachelZumbachGoatTedraMcDougal725During the years in which I’ve been paying attention to North Country agricultural news, I’ve noticed that when a headline announces a story about “farming” it’s most likely to be about dairy farming. I suspect this narrow definition of farming stems from the general history of farming in the Northeast which for more than a century was focused primarily on dairy production.  Nowadays, traditional family dairy farms often struggle to make ends meet and the news is not always uplifting.  In terms of “buying local,” how does one support the North Country dairy farms?

We want to make sure our dairy farmers are making a viable living, and buy their products, but how can we know where our regular “store-bought” milk is coming from? » Continue Reading.


Sunday, June 30, 2013

Cabin Life: A Banner Year For Small Fruit?

First StrawberriesI love it when a few moments of laziness lead to something good.  I had weed whacked all around the big fire pit and hammock a couple weeks ago, but there was one section of lawn that I just buzzed through quickly, and I did a poor job on about a ten square foot area.  Last night as I was moving some junk wood into the new wood rack, I caught a glimpse of some bright red in the slightly overgrown region:  two wild strawberries.

Only one of the very small strawberries was ripe, so after taking a couple pictures of the first strawberries of the season, I popped the ripe one in my mouth.  That was the first strawberry I’ve had in quite a while, and man was it delicious.  There was enough flavor packed in that little pea-sized berry to make all the rain worthwhile. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, June 23, 2013

Cabin Life: ‘Awash In Babies’

The Four GirlsIt’s been the kind of week where I am just awash in babies.  This is not a bad thing, although it is a far cry from my normal lifestyle.  I’m sitting on the patio of my brother’s house in Orlando, Florida, waiting for my niece and nephew to wake up.  Their official greeting of spit-up all over me was warm and gracious, if unconventional.  But trust me when I say that the two month old twins are too cute to be upset with.

The other babies I’ve been seeing a lot of lately are my chickens.  The four of them are staying in Amy’s garage while I’m out of town, but I got to spend plenty of time with them before I left.  Amy took her seven larger chicks plus one very tiny chick and put them in her new coop.  That left my four little girls to themselves in a heated cage.  Once I’m back, though, the girls will be my responsibility. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Chris Morris On Amazing Adirondack Stories

Chris MorrisAmazing things happen in the Adirondacks every day. I want to share those stories with you.

In this new Adirondack Almanack feature, I’ll report on some of the great, community-minded work that’s happening across the Adirondack Park. I’ll also highlight opportunities for you to get involved and give back.

The purpose of this feature is two-fold. For one, I hope these stories will inspire others to act. That could mean volunteering at a local animal shelter, signing up to coach youth athletics or donating money to a meaningful cause. If I fail to inspire you, that’s OK: my other goal is to simply make you feel good about where we live. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Adirondack Food: Time for Strawberries, Festivals

strawberriesfromgarden2_newThough we have had more rain than sun over the last few days, strawberries are starting to ripen and pick-your-own fields are planning on opening to the public over the next couple of weeks. Festivals are set to gesture in summer with all things strawberry. Rulf’s Orchard in Peru is holding their 2nd annual Strawberry Festival on June 29 with a petting zoo, vendors, strawberry shortcake eating contest and wagon rides to the U-Pick patch. Raquette Lake is whipping up fresh strawberry shortcake while Crown Point will host its 9th annual celebration of those delicious red berries.

According to Alexandra Roalsvig, Director of Parks and Recreation for the Town of Long Lake, the June 29th Raquette Lake Strawberry Festival is an opportunity for locals and visitors coming to the area to connect with summer friends, while supporting a worthy cause. The summertime dessert will be served starting at 11 a.m. at the Raquette Lake Fire Hall. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Eating Local: Farmers Market or CSA?

Chestertown farmers Market 2012Our region offers a plentiful range of opportunities to buy locally produced food.  Every May I write about the opening of the farmers markets in Northern New York. Each year Adirondack Harvest spends the better part of a week tracking down all the farmers markets in the North Country. We update days, times, locations, market managers, websites, and contact information.

For 2013, we’ve compiled a list of 65 markets across 14 counties. That’s up a bit from 2012, but not a lot. The market numbers are leveling off, probably due to a couple of factors. One reason is that the farmers are already selling at as many markets as they can handle. The other may be the rise in community supported agriculture (CSA) farms.

Both farmers markets and CSAs have been gaining in popularity as the local food movement continues to grow, but which one is right for you and your family? » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Ausable Grange Hosting Young Farmers For Summer Solstice

Ausable Valley Grange HallThe Greenhorns, a grassroots organization for young farmers who celebrate the historic grange movement, is planning a Grange Summer Solstice Revival at the Keeseville Grange Hall on the shore of the Ausable River in downtown Keeseville on Saturday, June 22  and Sunday, June 23rd.  The event will include a hay-wagon  tour of local farms, and an evening of history, poetry, music, dancing, and local food to celebrate the summer season.

The Grange, also known as the Patrons of Husbandry (Pof H), was founded in 1867 as a fraternal order for farmers as a venue for socializing, education and fellowship. Founded along the lines of fraternal organizations and labor unions, the first major phase of Grange activities revolved around protecting family farmers from exploitative railroad monopolies and middle-men in the period following the Civil War. The grange successes included regulation of the railroads and rural mail delivery; they also advocated for suffrage for women (women had an equal votes in the Grange). In 1910, the Ausable Valley Grange elected Nellie Thompson, one of the first woman masters. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, May 19, 2013

Cabin Life: A Rock in the Garden

The Water BarrelDespite the half inch of snow we got earlier this week, spring is rolling along.  I jerry-rigged a rain barrel, and I like not having to rely on small supply of drinking water to take care of the garden.  The thirty-five gallon barrel has a spigot on it and I set it up right next to the garden.  Unfortunately, I do not yet have the barrel set up properly.  I have a gutter that runs along the front porch, and a five gallon bucket that sits under the end of the gutter.  When we get rain and the bucket fills, I take the bucket a few feet to the barrel and dump the water in the top.  It’s not the best design, but it’s working well.

My tray of seedlings is doing OK, even though I forgot to pull them inside the other night during a frost.  Luckily all the seeds that had sprouted survived, but I have a few trays with nothing growing in them.  The carrots, spinach and tomatoes better get their acts together. » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Warrensburgh Farmer’s Market Reopening for 15th Season

Farmers-Market-Sign150Warrensburgh Riverfront Farmers’ Market will open for its 15th season on Friday, May 24 (Memorial Day Weekend) from 3-6 p.m. Gardening information, recipes using local products, music, samplings, refreshments, locally grown and prepared foods and handmade crafts will be part of the festivities.

The market is held Friday afternoons from 3-6 p.m., June thru October, on the banks of the Schroon River in the Warrensburgh Mills Historic District, on River Street (Route 418) near Curtis Lumber. It’s a “producer-only” market, limiting sales to locally grown produce, wine, baked goods, preserves, maple syrup, honey, dairy, poultry, meats, plants, soaps and lotions, and more.  All prepared foods are made “from scratch”, utilizing locally grown ingredients whenever possible.

Each year the market hosts rhubarb, “Bountiful Harvest” and garlic festivals. This year there will also be a celebration of the town and county’s bicentennial. The Adirondack Riverfront Arts Festival will be held on Friday, August 23, from noon – 6 pm.  The festival is expected to showcase artisans throughout the region demonstrating and selling, local chefs preparing dishes sourcing fresh ingredients from our market vendors and live music along with regular farmers’ market vendors. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, April 30, 2013

High Falls Gorge Beer and Wine Bar Opening

HIghFallsGlassFloor_newHigh Falls Gorge is once again open for the season after a brief bout of April spring-cleaning. The year-round waterfall attraction in Wilmington uses the months of April and November to switch gears between winter snowshoeing and summer walks. Along with the waterfall walks, this Saturday marks the grand opening of the River View Café Beer and Wine Bar.

President and Owner of High Falls Gorge Kathryn Reiss says, “We wanted to have a beer and wine café available to allow visitors a chance to slow down and relax. It is located right near the existing seating area. The kids can do the inside mining activity while parents shop or relax with a local beer.”

Reiss has deliberately chosen to stock the River View Café with local craft beer as well as New York State wines and cheeses. For her it’s a matter of pride. She looks forward to adding wine tasting events to the schedule, but for now the beer and wine bar will only be open during the High Falls Gorge’s regular business hours. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Adirondack Family Activities: Asgaard Farm Kidding Season

AsgaardFarmsKids_newSigns of spring are finally starting to surround us with songbirds arriving and bulbs pushing their way through the ground. At Asgaard Farm and Dairy, owners Rhonda Butler and David Brunner, have a different barometer for measuring the change of seasons. Since mid March about 75 baby goats (kids) have been born with more due in the upcoming week.

When I visited last year I spoke with owner Rhonda Butler at length about the spring births and was delighted to find out there are many opportunities to visit the kids and even attend a birth. The goats at Asgaard are bred through their natural cycle. Though larger dairies use artificial light to manipulate the goats to breed off-season, Asgaard continues to follow the natural season. The doelings (mother goats) are bred in the fall and give birth in the spring with the kids drinking the doeling’s milk. After being weaned, Asgaard Farm uses the milk for their various cheeses and goat milk soaps. Some of the kids are culled after the season and harvested for their meat to produce Chevon or sold as pets or to other working farms. Asgaard maintains a milking herd of about 50 goats that are expected to produce about 100 kids. » Continue Reading.


Monday, April 1, 2013

Marketing Local Farm Products to Adirondack Innkeepers

innkeepers and farmersCornell Cooperative Extension is hosting two workshops in the Adirondack Region in April, designed to bring accommodations together with farmers with products for sale. The project’s goal is to give innkeepers and farmers a chance to meet, get acquainted, encourage transactions, and, finally, to promote these opportunities in the future in a systematic way.

Each Innkeeper will take home a gift basket that could include jams and jellies, processed meat and grain products, flowers and produce in-season, or any kind of product or information on agritourism or services from New York farms. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Easter Bunny: Cottontail Rabbit or Varying Hare?

Chocolate Easter BunnyThe cottontail rabbit (Sylvilagus floridanus) is slightly smaller in overall size and has smaller hind legs and feet then the varying hare, also known as the snowshoe rabbit (Lepus americanus).

Even though both of these lagomorphs can travel a fair distance with a single hop, the cottontail’s running style is slightly choppier and less graceful when compared to the smoother and more powerful bounding of the varying hare when it needs to move fast.

Also, the cottontail has a pronounced white, rounded tail which contrasts with its gray coat of fur, and which helped earn this creature its common name. Because the tail of the snowshoe is the same color as that of its body, and is held closer to its back, this small, rear appendage is difficult to notice. » Continue Reading.


Sunday, March 31, 2013

Cabin Life: A First Syrup Season

First DripI love my dog Pico.  But there are times when he can be extremely annoying.  Like right now, he’s licking my elbow and won’t stop.  I lifted my arm up off the table but he just jumped up on me to keep on licking.  I don’t know why he is doing this or what I could have possibly gotten on my elbow to make him want to lick it so bad.  He’s just a little weird sometimes.

I noticed another oddity out here this week.  I tapped a few maple trees so I could make a little sap this year.  Last year, I was all primed to do the work, but then maple season came and went in a week in February, and I was caught off guard and left with no syrup.

This year is a test run.  I bought some taps and used a few old milk jugs as buckets.  Trying to do it on the quick and cheap, I’m really only expecting a couple servings of syrup.  I don’t have the equipment or the time right now to handle a big production, but now that I know what I’m getting into, I can make a bunch of syrup next spring. » Continue Reading.