Word from Thurman maple producers is that the sap is flowing, evaporators are boiling and there will be syrup and all kinds of maple confections for those who venture out this weekend (March 10 – 11) for the first of six Thurman Maple Days, which extend over three weekends through this month. Each weekend offers tours of three maple operations – Adirondack Gold Maple, Toad Hill Maple and Valley Road Maple, all offering tours of sugarbushes and sugarhouses, with demonstrations and talks concerning tapping, evaporating, filtering and candy-making. » Continue Reading.
It isn’t always easy to imagine farming in the Adirondacks with factors like a short growing season, or faraway markets – but you can find a thriving and vibrant community of farmers and producers here and maybe not as far away as you might think.
One way farmers are able to have a more predictable revenue stream is through a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). Before the growing season begins, customers are able to purchase a share in the season’s harvest – your up-front investment typically entitles you to a weekly box of vegetables or fruit produced by the farm over the course of 4 to 5 months — and often times you pick up the share at the farm. » Continue Reading.
Residents of Glens Falls and surrounding communities are organizing an effort to establish a retail food cooperative, a store similar in organization to the Saranac Lake Community Store which opened late last year. The group has already incorporated and established an interim board of directors and several committees. They are currently pre-selling memberships and are outfitting donated space at Rock Hill Bakehouse.
“While the space is in South Glens Falls (near Exit 17N), making it somewhat inconvenient for those of us in Queensbury and Glens Falls to get to, we all agreed it would be better to have a donated incubator for this project rather than start it from a position of debt (which causes many coops to fail),” Matt Funiciello, a co-op organizer told the Almanack via e-mail. “We decided that beginning a capital campaign to raise money and perhaps to secure grants to move to a location closer to (or in) Glens Falls would be wise as soon as that becomes practicable.”
They are about $2,000 away from achieving their goal of an estimated $6,000 needed to pay for opening inventory, Funiciello said. Membership forms are available daily at Rock Hill Café (19 Exchange Street Glens Falls, (518) 615-0777), and at Rock Hill Bakehouse (1338 Route 9 Moreau, NY (518) 743-1660). Co-op organizers have also established a webpage and a Facebook group where the membership form and additional information can be found.
Georgia Pellegrini isn’t the typical image of a hunter. She was once more accustomed to martini on Wall Street than a back woods duck hunt, but after a stint at Wellesley and Harvard she enrolled in the French Culinary Institute and discovered a love for local, sustainable, farm to table cuisine that led her down an unexpected path.
While cooking with top chefs at Blue Hill at the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in Pocantico Hills, New York, Pellegrini was sent outside to kill five turkeys for that night’s dinner. Suddenly face-to-face with the meat she was preparing, she says she was forced to reevaluate her relationship with food. The result is Girl Hunter: Revolutionizing the Way We Eat, One Hunt at a Time (Da Capo Press, 2011).
The book chronicles Pellegrini’s evolution from buying plastic-wrapped meat at a supermarket to killing a wild boar with a .22-250 caliber rifle, a journey, she says, toward understanding not only where our food comes from, but what kind of life it lived before it reached the table. » Continue Reading.
Like many others in the Adirondacks, I grew up with venison incorporated into many meals. In sausage form, we had it prepared with peppers, the ground version made meat sauce for spaghetti, steaks were cooked on the grill no matter the time of year, and various cubed cuts made kebobs, sauerbraten and various stews. As a child, I can remember trading half of my daily peanut butter and jelly sandwich for half of a friend’s venison sandwich.
As I slipped into adulthood and urban living, I found that many of my friends weren’t sold on the idea of eating game of any sort – even found the idea foreign. While at that point, I realized that I didn’t know anyone in these circles who had grown up with family members that hunted, I also realized that part of the reason my family enjoyed so much venison throughout the year was because of the positive impact it had on the weekly grocery bill. » Continue Reading.
The King’s Garden at Fort Ticonderoga is presenting its first Garden & Landscape Symposium, “Planting the Seeds of Knowledge for Home Gardeners,” on Saturday, April 14. This new annually planned day-long symposium, geared for both beginning and experienced gardeners, provides helpful insights from garden experts who live and garden in upstate New York and Vermont. This springtime event takes place in the Deborah Clarke Mars Education Center and is open by pre-registration only.
This one-day program focuses on practical, easy-to-implement strategies for expanding and improving your garden or landscape. The programs are offered in an informal setting that encourages interaction between speakers and attendees. Speakers include: » Continue Reading.
Every year over the last decade, I’ve compiled a list of cookbooks or food-focused books for holiday gift-giving. This past holiday season, ‘Ancient Grains for Modern Meals’ by Maria Speck was one of my favorites (subsequently listed as the Washington Post’s 2011 Top Ten, as well as the New York Times’ 2011 notable cookbooks) – a real gem of a cookbook. While many might think of cooking with grains as a healthful focus, Speck tempts us to try her rustic and creative recipes because of exquisite flavor and taste.
Those in the upstate New York region are lucky to be able to meet Speck in person and take a cooking class with her on Saturday, January 28th at the Battenkill Kitchen in Salem, New York. Speck will teach a hands-on cooking class inspired by her best-selling cookbook (for further information visit www.battenkillkitchen.org or call 518.854.3032; email at email@example.com). » Continue Reading.
For most of us, the growing season is fairly defined by months benefiting from late spring to early autumn sun, unless we have a green house set up for year-round growing. So for vegetables and fruits, we might can, freeze or dry them to use during the winter, or store varieties like winter squash in an appropriate cool and dry place, keeping them fresh for many months. After reading Peter Brinckley’s recent piece on the Adirondack brand, I started to think more about how we cook here, and what the flavors taste like sourced near home.
During the winter, our meals are often marked by stews and soups, using various cuts of meat and vegetables that benefit from slow cooking. I could probably make a soup a day during the winter, content to enjoy the slow-simmering aromatics on the stove. Sourcing from my pantry instead of my garden, I typically prepare soups with dry beans, grains and also root vegetables and squashes. » Continue Reading.
Pam innocently inquired whether the Adirondack mudslide, her own creation, actually already existed. Kim, chief navigator, fact-finder and Google junkie, immediately launched a search. When her query yielded no valid results, we began the crusade to put it on the map, so to speak. Before we reached our destination, the idea had grown from one tasty cocktail to a year-long (and continuing indefinitely) pub crawl. Happy Hour in the High Peaks was born. » Continue Reading.
Often you’ll find bartenders creating inspired cocktails – using seasonal ingredients, herbs from the garden, and from-scratch syrups that range from the simple sugar to berry purees – usually a nice complement to the restaurant’s menu offerings.
While this isn’t a post to encourage drinking, it is one to think about flavors we associate with the region and the season – like cider, maple, cinnamon, nutmeg – in the form of beverages, non-alcoholic and hi-test, warmed or refreshingly cold.
A raised glass to all Adirondack Almanack readers and safe travels – and many thanks to our designated drivers! » Continue Reading.
Home on holiday break from the World Cup circuit, Olympic biathlete Tim Burke has launched a limited-edition coffee with the Adirondack Bean-To. Proceeds from each bag of BurkeBeaner Hammer Roast sold this ski season will be donated to the campaign to build a new lodge at Dewey Mountain, where Burke learned to cross-country-ski race as a kid.
Burke went on to compete in two Olympics and to become the first American to lead the biathlon World Cup, in 2009.
“I support Dewey because of all the great opportunities it provided me,” Burke said. “This was the place I could come not only to ski but to be with friends, meet new people and live a healthy, active lifestyle. That was important to my childhood, and I’d like other kids to have that opportunity as well.” » Continue Reading.
It was immensely satisfying to watch EPA administrator Lisa P. Jackson announce today that power-plant mercury emissions will be reduced 90 percent.
We in the Adirondacks have waited more than two decades for this. You would think limiting a toxin such as mercury, which harms the nervous systems of children exposed in the womb, would not be subject to protracted debate. But coal- and oil-fired power plants resisted the regulation shamelessly for decades.
» Continue Reading.
We pulled into the gravel parking lot on this sunny winter Saturday, not sure what to expect from the Wine Bar at Friends Lake Inn. The first sight to greet us was a stream tumbling gently over rocks just outside a tiny structure we later learned was the sauna. A tiny footbridge traversed the waterfall where the stream began a steeper descent. Approaching the main building, screened balconies and seven gabled dormers emerging from the cedar shake roof of the inn’s modest grey clapboard exterior, we were greeted by one of the inn’s arriving employees who entered with us and pointed the way to the bar. » Continue Reading.
Holiday gift giving offers many opportunities to support locally owned and run businesses – maybe tickets to a show or an annual membership to your local arts organization, a contribution to your local library in someone’s name, public radio station, or even a subscription to a regional publication. A CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) share works here, too, in that your local farmer benefits as well as the receiver. In addition, you might need some last minute ideas for the teacher, mail delivery person, or the relative on your gift list who seems to have everything. » Continue Reading.
Tamar Adler’s op ed piece in the New York Times last week struck a chord – eating like we eat during Thanksgiving all year round: “Thanksgiving Thrift: The Holiday as a Model for Sustainable Cooking” (November 22, 2011). Her premise is simple – we prepare a nice holiday dinner (typically with lots of leftovers), and spend many days eating and recreating turkey and many side dishes, ‘shopping’ our refrigerator for breakfast, lunch and dinner options.
So while we’re inspired on Thanksgiving, as well as other upcoming holidays, to eat with enthusiasm from our leftovers, we can use that mindset throughout the year – each week, in fact, if we’re creative. » Continue Reading.