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.
While most people associate Massachusetts as cranberry bog haven, wild cranberries can be found on low-lying bushes throughout the Adirondacks up through to Canada near streams and ponds. Harvested in the fall, this vibrant fruit is a rich source of vitamin C and a welcome staple at many holiday tables.
Native Americans were probably the first in our region to use cranberries as food, especially in their preparation of high-energy pemmican, made by drying a mixture of venison (or other meats) and fruit. Now, we not only see cranberry sauce at Thanksgiving, but bake with the fruit, adding them to cakes or muffins, and snack on the dried, sweetened variety. » Continue Reading.
As preparations for the third Adirondack Youth Climate Summit, on November 9th and 10th, are reaching a crescendo, science centers around the country and the world are in touch with The Wild Center in Tupper Lake to talk about using the Youth Summit model to create a shared summit platform that would allow students in different locations to share ideas and successes. The Summit will bring together more than 170 participants from 30 high schools and colleges across the Adirondacks and ultimately effect more than 25,000 students.
The Summit is the only one of its kind in the country and has already led to financial savings and shifts in mindsets across the Park. Students who participated last year returned to their schools implementing change – creating school gardens to provide food for their cafeterias, expanding recycling and composting programs, replacing power strips with energy smart strips, examining energy saving opportunities by conducting carbon audits for their schools and presenting to school boards about their activities and financial savings. » Continue Reading.
Each winter, I start perusing the seed catalogs, dreaming about what will be planted when the snow recedes and the sunlight lingers longer. While I’ve planted kale over the past few seasons, this year I strayed from my favorite Tuscan or ‘dinosauer’ kale and put in some lovely Russian Red kale. I’ve been using the harvest throughout the summer and fall, adding to fresh vegetable soups, sauteed with garlic and other leafy greens as a nutritious side, and sometimes added raw to a vibrant garden salad. The warm weather gave me a bounty, but kales, in general, end up being the most flavorful and tender during the colder months.
And then the snow. Luckily, most of the garden had been put to bed, but there were plenty of hardy greens remaining, curly leaves and light purple stems holding up clumps of white slushy stuff. I rescued more than a few bunches this past weekend prior to the next snowy onslaught and heavy frost, and decided to use a portion making ‘chips’ — brought along to a dinner party hosted by our friends Charlie Burd and Suvir Saran. » Continue Reading.
For many Adirondack trees and shrubs, this past growing season was exceptional, as is evident by the quantity of fruits and seeds which our woody plants have produced. While many of these reproductive vessels have already matured and fallen to the ground, a few like the nuts of the beech have only recently finished ripening and are being shaken loose from their twigs by the winds that occur around the opening of deer season.
Beech is one of the most common components in stands of mature hardwoods across northern New York, especially in our wilderness regions. While the buds and bark of this stately looking tree are avoided by nearly all forms of wildlife, the small, 3-sided nuts that it yields in October are among the most nutritious wild edibles produced in our forests. » Continue Reading.
Each year for close to three decades, I’ve canned tomatoes. Even while living in a fifth floor walk-up in Manhattan (without air conditioning), I’d hop the subway down to the Union Square farmers’ market and load up with about 40 pounds of tomatoes and huge bunches of basil. My subway ride back to my apartment was pleasantly aromatic during those hot August days – more than can be said for my trip out to market.
I’d ‘put up’ many jars of cooked tomatoes, sauce, and puree, and this process always signaled the easing into summer’s end. The benefit of this heat-filled project has always been the bright red-orange glass jars sitting on the pantry shelves, especially during a bleak day in February, when it feels as if the summer sun ran away for good. » Continue Reading.
Pairing a crisp autumn day with the first crunch of a freshly-picked apple is my idea of perfection. During my teen years good times with friends might include a drive up from Van Nostrand’s Orchard in Mayfield (now Lake View Orchards, 518.661.5017), munching on crisp and sweet Macs while taking in the foliage.
While the rain of the past weekend dampened my enthusiasm to go out apple picking, I was invited to be a judge at the Cambridge Valley Apple Pie Bake-Off at the Cambridge Hotel, said to be the home of pie à la mode. The cast of judges included the hotel’s own Chef Rich, Sara Kelly as representative of the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce, Sally King, a decades-long baker and former owner of the King Bakery in Cambridge, and Chloe, an 11 year-old pie aficionado. » Continue Reading.
Please join us in welcoming our newest contributor to Adirondack Almanack, Annette Nielsen. Nielsen is a noted local food writer, editor, community organizer and activist on behalf of regional agriculture. She recently edited Northern Comfort and Northern Bounty, two seasonally-based cookbooks for Adirondack Life.
A native of Northville, (she now lives in Salem, Washington County with her husband and son), Nielsen will be writing about Adirondack foodie culture with an eye toward locally sourced foods from forest, orchard, and farm. Her first post will run shortly. Annette Nielsen can be reached on Twitter and Facebook.
After being postponed due to storm damage in the Keene region, the Fourth Annual Great Adirondack Rutabaga Festival, sponsored by Adirondack Harvest, The Adirondack Farmers Market Cooperative, The Fallen Arch and the Town of Keene, has been rescheduled. It will be held at Marcy Field in the town of Keene from 9:00 AM until 1:00 PM on Sunday October 9th, 2011.
The festivities begin with a Rutabaga 5K Run across flat terrain at 9:00 AM. Runner registration begins at 8:00 AM. or register online at Active.com or the Adirondack Harvest website below. $15 fee includes t-shirt and refreshments. Awards given for top finishers in many age groups. » Continue Reading.
The 19th Annual Taste of the North Country food festival will take place on Sunday, September 24th from 11 am to 3 pm in City Park in downtown Glens Falls. The event, which draws thousands each year, will feature specialty items prepared and served up by 40+ area restaurants, entertainment and activities for kids, culinary demonstrations, and an apple dessert contest.
Included this year will be many returning restaurants as well as several new eateries. Admission is $5 for adults and free for children under age 18. Food coupons cost 50¢ each, and samples are priced at one or more coupons. Coupons may be purchased at gazebos located near the event entrance gates. A complete list of restaurants participating can be found online. » Continue Reading.
The annual Harvest Festival at the Adirondack Museum will be held on Saturday, October 1 and Sunday, October 2. The event will include wagon and pony rides, music, arts and crafts, demonstrations, a giant leaf pile, and much more. The Adirondack Museum offers free admission to year-round residents of the Adirondack Park in the month of October.
On Saturday, October 1, Radio Disney Albany will be on hand with music, games, and activities with a Harvest twist. Don’t miss Pumpkin Roll Relay, Best “Yee-hah”contest, Guess the Harvest Crop Gross, Scarecrow and Me Contest and more. Plus dress up in harvest themed costumes for a Costume Parade to get a special prize. » Continue Reading.
Adirondack Harvest, the community-based farm and local food development and promotion program, is celebrating the fall harvest season with two major food events in Essex County tomorrow Saturday, September 17th.
These events are hoped to provide consumers with opportunities to meet farmers, visit farms, taste products and become Adirondack Harvest members. Members receive marketing and promotional support, quarterly newsletters, workshop invitations, and various premiums from Adirondack Harvest hats and aprons to our Three Farms DVD, Small Farm Rising DVD, gift baskets and the Adirondack Harvest Cookbook with lots of great ideas for serving local foods. » Continue Reading.
It is inevitable. Regardless of how nice the summer has been, a time comes in September when the first frost of the season coats every exposed surface with a layer of ice crystals and brings about the official end of the growing season.
While this event causes gardeners to panic about harvesting nearly ripened vegetables, and homeowners to cover up, or bring in their delicate flowering plants, it also brings about the demise of the many forms of life that are unable to tolerate freezing conditions. While there are numerous living entities in our region that can’t survive temperatures below 32 degrees, most are capable, after developing special adaptations that allow them to deal with the changes that are soon to come. » Continue Reading.