Thursday, September 30, 2010

Fort Ticonderoga’s Harvest Market, Plant Sale

Make plans now for the King’s Garden Harvest Market and Autumn Plant Sale at Fort Ticonderoga on Saturday, October 2 from 10:00 a.m. through 2:00 p.m. Heidi Karkoski, Fort Ticonderoga’s Curator of Landscape, said “The Harvest Market and Autumn Plant Sale provides a wonderful opportunity for visitors to enjoy the rich bounty of the King’s Garden.” Freshly dug perennials such as Heuchera ‘Melting Fire’, Yarrow ‘Red Beauty’, and Day Lilies will be available for purchase. Visitors are encouraged to bring their own plastic bags or boxes for their purchases.

The Harvest Market will feature colorful vegetables and fruits including pumpkins, melons, and leafy greens. King’s Garden garlic and seasonal herbs will offer visitors an added autumn zest to family dinners. Beautiful cut flower bouquets featuring Zinnias, Salvia and many other favorite seasonal flowers will highlight the market experience. A Favorite Place of Resort for Strangers, the highly acclaimed book on the King’s Garden history, will also be available at a special Harvest Market price. Harvest Market and Autumn Plant Sale proceeds support educational and programming opportunities at the King’s Garden,

As part of the Harvest Market, visitors can relax within the King’s Garden walls and enjoy a picnic lunch or purchase a take-out lunch from Fort Ticonderoga’s Log House Restaurant. Additional activities scheduled throughout the day include Weekend Watercolors, a self-guided program where visitors are encouraged to use the colors of autumn for inspiration, and garden tours. Visitors will also have the opportunity to learn more about becoming part of the volunteer family at the King’s Garden and Fort Ticonderoga.


Monday, September 27, 2010

Adirondack Museum To Host Harvest Fest

The annual Harvest Festival will be held at the Adirondack Museum, in Blue Mountain Lake, on Saturday, October 2 and Sunday, October 3. Both days will feature activities for the entire family from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. The Adirondack Museum offers free admission to year-round residents of the Adirondack Park in the month of October – making Harvest Festival an affordable and enjoyable fall getaway for every Adirondacker.

Circle B Ranch of Chestertown, N.Y. will provide leisurely rides through the museum’s beautiful grounds in a rustic wagon filled with hay bales. Youngsters can enjoy pony rides as well.

On Saturday, October 2nd only, Chef Tom Morris of the Mirror Lake Inn will offer a demonstration entitled “Extending the Season” at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. Chef Morris will discuss techniques for canning, jarring, pickling, and other methods of food preservation.

On Sunday, October 3rd only, Sally Longo of Aunt Sally’s Adirondack Catering will offer harvest related food demonstrations at 11:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.

Visitors can relax in an Adirondack chair and enjoy guitar and banjo tunes played by musician Bill Hall. Hall’s love of music and the Adirondacks has inspired his original compositions about early Adirondack logging, mining, and railroading.

Bill studied guitar with the legendary Chet Atkins, and is self-taught in classical style guitar and banjo. He has merged classic style with nature to create a unique finger picking method he calls “pick-a-dilly.” Bill has performed in various venues throughout the region including Teddy Roosevelt celebrations in the towns of Newcomb, Minerva, and North Creek, N.Y.

Other Harvest Festival highlights include cider pressing, barn raising for young and old, as well as pumpkin painting and crafts inspired by nature. Kids can jump in a giant leaf pile on the museum’s center campus.

The museum will accept donations of food and winter clothing for a full month this fall, in collaboration with Hamilton County Community Action.

From September 20 through October 18, 2010, donations of dried or canned foods, winter outerwear to include coats, hats, scarves, mittens, or boots for adults and children, as well as warm blankets, comforters, or quilts will be collected in the museum’s Visitor Center.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Let’s Eat: Advice on Eating in Camp

Enjoying a meal around a campfire is an important part of an outdoor experience. Many a camper insists that food just tastes better when eaten outside.

An anonymous sportsman wrote about his trip to the Adirondacks in 1867, with particular mention of meals: “Trout ‘Flapjacks’ & corn cakes were soon cooked…and then we hurried into the Tent to eat, for the Mosquitos were very troublesome out side, & threatened to devour us, waving [sic] all objections as regarded our not being Cooked. Next morning we were up early & had such a Breakfast. Venison nicely cooked in a variety of ways great blooming Potatoes, splendid Pan cakes with maple sugar syrup, Eggs, & actual cream to drink…We could scarcely leave the Table…” » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

2010 Adirondack Harvest Festival Week

Adirondack Harvest, the community-based farm and local food development and promotion program, is celebrating the fall harvest season with events and farm tours in Essex and Clinton Counties from September 18th through the 26th. The week-long celebration will provide consumers with opportunities to meet farmers, visit farms, and taste local products and an opportunity for farmers, chefs, and store managers to showcase their products.

Adirondack Harvest members receive marketing and promotional support, quarterly newsletters, workshop invitations, and various premiums from Adirondack Harvest hats and aprons to the Three Farms DVD, gift baskets and the Adirondack Harvest Cookbook.

Saturday, September 18th:

Rivermede Farm at Snowslip. 9:00am to 5:00pm. River Road, Lake Placid. This new farm at Snowslip will kick off Harvest Festival week with a community pancake breakfast, agricultural demonstrations, wagon rides by Adirondack Equine Center, animal exhibits, local foods and treats, pumpkin painting, horseshoes, and live music. Barbecue lunch will be served on-farm by Generations Restaurant with local harvest from Rivermede, Snowslip, DaCy Meadow, Kilcoyne and Windy Mountain Farms. $5 suggested donation, free for children under 10.

Restaurants serving local food: Several Adirondack Harvest member restaurants will feature local foods on their menus on the evening of September 18th including:

* Down Hill Grill, 6143 Sentinel Road, Lake Placid
* Mirror Lake Inn, 77 Mirror Lake Drive, Lake Placid
* High Peaks Resort, 2384 Saranac Avenue, Lake Placid
* Liquids & Solids at the Handlebar, 6115 Sentinel Road, Lake Placid
* Generations Restaurant, Main Street, Lake Placid

Sunday, September 19th:

Keene Farmers Market: “Farmers & Crafters Show”. 9:30am to 2:00pm. Rt. 73, Marcy Field, Keene. This market is great for summer residents and visitors heading home after a stay in the Adirondacks. While they offer plenty of great fresh produce, this market also features a large selection of fine crafts – easy to transport and great for gifts and remembrances.

Jubert-Castine Farms Tour. 2:00pm to 4:00pm. 8296 State Rte. 22, West Chazy. 493-7792. Grass-fed Angus beef raised on a family farm. No hormones or antibiotics used and featuring rotational grazing methods on nine parcels. Visit their circa 1900s ice house converted to a freezer room. Finish the afternoon with a wood road tour to their camp for some chili made with their own grass-fed beef. Free.

Ben Wever Farm: “Farmers, Friends & Food”. 6:00pm to 9:00pm. 444 Mountain View Drive, Willsboro. 963-7447. This farm, run by the Gillilland family and featuring grass-fed beef, poultry, eggs, honey and more, is presenting a potluck dinner, in the field and under the stars, featuring food from local farmers and impromptu music. Free for Adirondack Harvest members or $25 per family includes 2011 membership benefits. Call 962-4810 x404 to attend.

Monday, September 20th:

Asgaard Farm Tour. 10:00am to 12:00pm. 74 Asgaard Way, Au Sable Forks. 647-5754. Picturesque Asgaard Farm is the former home of artist, writer, adventurer and political activist Rockwell Kent. While the farm focus is on crafting award-winning farmstead goat cheeses, Asgaard Farm also raises grass-fed and finished beef, pastured whey-fed pork, as well as pastured eggs and chickens. They sell their products at farmers markets and select local natural grocery stores. Stop by for a farm tour and cheese tasting. Free.

Uihlein Maple Research Station Tour. 1:00pm to 4:00pm. 157 Bear Cub Lane, Lake Placid. 523-9337. The Uihlein Forest is a state of the art maple syrup production facility owned and operated by Cornell University. Visitors will receive guided tours of the sugarbush where sap is collected as well as the buildings and equipment that transform raw sap into syrup. The final stop is at the education center where visitors can also taste the various grades of syrup and purchase pure maple products. Free.

Tuesday, September 21st:

Fledging Crow Farm Tour. 10:00am to 12:00pm. 122 Robare Road, Keeseville. 834-5012. Fledging Crow is a small organic vegetable farm working in partnership with Manzini Farm to focus on the production of vibrant andnourishing food, the rejuvenation of soils, and growth with the spirit of the land. They operate a CSA while also selling at area farmers markets stores and restaurants. Free.

Stone House Vineyard Tour. 2:00pm to 4:00pm. 73 Blair Road, Sciota. 493-5971. For over 30 years the Favreaus have been growing grapes and own the first farm winery licensed in Clinton County. They also produce a limited selection of fruit wines, including apple and berry wines. They grow eight grape varieties and have available for sale a large number of grapevines, including Concord, Edelweiss, Valiant and Marechal Foch. Free.

Friday, September 24th:

Essex Farm Tour. 4:00pm to 6:00pm. 2503 NYS Route 22, Essex. 963-4613. Kristin and Mark Kimball run a unique year-round, full food, horse powered CSA featuring a full range of vegetables, meat, dairy, eggs and more. This farm tour will coincide with the weekly member share distribution, offering visitors a chance to see the full seasonal offerings. Free.

Saturday, September 25th:

Plattsburgh Farmers & Crafters Market. 9:00am to 2:00pm. Durkee St. parking lot pavilion, Plattsburgh. Clinton County master gardeners will be on hand with information to help promote local food in our region. Bring your gardening questions.

Sunday, September 26th:

Keene Farmers Market: “Farmers & Crafters Show”. 9:30am to 2:00pm. Rt. 73, Marcy Field, Keene. This market is great for summer residents and visitors heading home after a stay in the Adirondacks. While they offer plenty of great fresh produce, this market also features a large selection of fine crafts – easy to transport and great for gifts and remembrances.

Rehoboth Homestead Tour. 2:00pm to 4:00pm. 3071 Rt. 9, Peru. 643-7822. Farmer Beth Spaugh raises organically-grown produce, cut flowers, pastured, free-range poultry and eggs. This tour will focus on the beautifully productive roadside field. For garden fresh vegetables you can join her Farm Fresh Food Club CSA or you can find Rehoboth Homestead products at select, producer-only farmers markets. Free.

September 11-26:

Adirondack Harvest member restaurant “Generations” at the Golden Arrow Resort in Lake Placid is offering daily Farm Specials with local beer and wine from September 11th through September 26th featuring farm-fresh Adirondack food. Products from at least a half dozen North Country farms will be prepared in a delicious array of daily menu offerings.


Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Let’s Eat! Lucelia Mills Clark’s Farm Journal

Lucelia Arvilla Mills Clark, a farm wife in Cranberry Lake, New York kept a journal throughout her adult life recording daily activities, neighborhood news, weather observations, illnesses, deaths, and births. The entries are short and factual, but together they offer a window into the life of a farm family in the Adirondack Mountains during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and in particular record the business of keeping everyone fed.

Lucelia was born in Gouverneur in St. Lawrence County in 1852, daughter of blacksmith John R. Mills and his wife Jane Aldous Mills. In 1873, Lucelia married Henry M. Clark. The couple had nine children, eight of whom survived to adulthood. In 1884, the family moved to Maple Grove Farm, built by Lucelia’s father, near Cranberry Lake. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, August 28, 2010

Adirondack Bovidae: Bison or Buffalo?

“So, Pat,” I said, “got any burning natural history questions you’d like answered?” She stared at me. “What?” “I need a topic for an up-coming article and I’m fresh out of ideas.” She pondered for a while and then asked “what are those animals at the Buffalo Farm?”

“Ah!” I said. “Those would be bison, scientific name Bison bison bison, commonly called buffalo by most people because they don’t know they are actually bison. The buffalo,” I continued, “is actually a wholly different animal, native to Africa and parts of Asia, like the water buffalo (Asia), and the Cape buffalo (Africa).”

“Then why do they call bison buffalo?” Good question.

Not too many years ago, in geologic time, New York used to be home to one of the largest land mammals to call North America home, the eastern wood bison (Bison bison pennsylvanicus). [Note: some authorities claim that this is an invalid subspecies.] According to the literature, these animals were larger than the plains bison of Western fame, with darker, almost black, fur (wool? hair?), grizzled around the eyes and nose, and an almost negligible hump over the shoulders. The last wild herd was slaughtered over 200 years ago down in Pennsylvania (winter 1799-1800), and the last individuals were wiped out in West Virginia twenty-five years later. Not too long after that the plains bison would be headed down the same path (although, fortunately their total annihilation was prevented).

Another subspecies of wood bison, Bison bison athabasca, called western Canada home. This animal is also larger than the plains bison, and its large hump rises forward of the front legs, making it easily distinguishable from its plains cousin, whose hump rises above the front legs. Probably because western Canada was settled more slowly than the American west, these wood bison held out longer. 1900 is usually given as the date by which they were considered to be extremely rare, but, like the plains bison, they avoided extinction. Today about 3000 still roam wild.

So, how does this tie in to the Adirondacks? Well, we do have that bison farm. Some folks have speculated that the bison on this farm are hybrids, a bison-beef combo known as a beefalo. According to their website, however, these animals are 100% plains bison – the same animals (well, the same species) that Buffalo Bill would’ve eyeballed when he roamed the plains. Bison meat is really quite good – it has a fine flavor and is very lean. The animals, however, apparently have a less-than-amenable disposition.

Is it possible that the eastern wood bison, which populated New York and points south (as far south as Georgia), made its way up to the Adirondacks? I posed this question to a friend of mine who has a fondness for extinct megafauna. He speculates that an Adirondack presence was probably unlikely since these animals were grazers, and let’s face it, until the last hundred years or so, there wasn’t a whole lot of open space for grazing in these here mountains. The rugged terrain and dense forests, not to mention all the wetlands, would probably have been a great deterrent to these mighty animals.

Still, it is fun to speculate on “what might have been” back when the glaciers started to retreat. All sorts of giant mammals roamed North America: giant ground sloths, the stag-moose (or elk-moose), mastodons, woolly mammoths. Then there were the carnivores, like the dire wolf – the name alone almost makes one shudder. Might any of these wondrous animals have tromped the trails to our backcountry lakes and ponds? Maybe not, but just because we’ve found no bones, doesn’t mean that one or two didn’t pass this way.

Now, as to why bison are called buffalo, here’s what I found out. Going back linguistically to the Greek, we have “bison,” which referred to a large, ox-like animal. The French called oxen “les boeuf”. It seems that French fur trappers called the animals they found here “les boeuf” because they reminded them of they oxen back home, and, as will happen with languages, the word stuck and was corrupted, eventually becoming “buffalo.”

Finally, just in case there are some folks out there who will insist that a bison by any other name will still smell the same, here are some buffalo vs. bison factoids:

Buffalo: 13 pairs of ribs; no hump
Bison: 14 pairs of ribs; big ol’ hump at the shoulders

Also, bison are considered to be more like mountain goats, muskoxen, and big horn sheep than buffalo, although all are in the same family, Bovidae. And, just for the record, there is a European bison, too, which is smaller than the American version, and is mostly found today in Poland, although there are some small herds living in neighboring countries.

In the meantime, there are some modern day bison that call the Adirondacks home, and they can be found not too far from Newcomb: down the Blue Ridge Road, just off exit 29 from the Northway in North Hudson. Because these are wild animals (don’t let the word “farm” deceive you), visitors cannot get up close to them (a wise precaution – bison can be snarky animals). But, there is a great viewing platform right there where one can gaze down into the pastures and almost picture what it might have been like 500 years ago…just outside the Park.

Photo courtesy The Adirondack Buffalo Company


Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Great Adirondack Rutabaga Festival

The Third Annual Great Adirondack Rutabaga Festival sponsored by Adirondack Harvest, The Adirondack Farmers Market Cooperative and the Town of Keene will be held at Marcy Field in the town of Keene from 9:00 AM until 1:00 PM on Sunday September 5th, 2010. The event is one of only two Rutabaga Festivals in the country.

The rutabaga comes to us from Sweden where the climate is comparable to the Adirondacks. This hardy, tasty and adaptable vegetable thrives in our sometimes harsh climate. Part turnip, part cabbage, this versatile root crop can be served in salads, in desserts, as rutabaga chips, mashed alone or with potatoes or turnips, as French fried rutabagas or as a component in bread.

The festivities begin with a Rutabaga 5K Run across flat terrain at 9:00 AM. Runner registration begins at 8:15 AM. All entries in the biggest rutabaga contest must be registered by 10:00 AM. The High Peaks Hula Hoop Championship will start at 10:30 AM.

Chefs from Adirondack Catering Service, Baxter Mountain Tavern, Generations, Green Point Foods, High Peaks Resort and the Mirror Lake Inn will begin serving free samples of their favorite rutabaga dishes at 11:00 AM.

Ongoing events include a Rutabaga Fetch open to friendly and talented dogs starting at 10:30 AM, children’s games, displays and educational exhibits. The 2010 Rutabaga King and Queen will be crowned at 12:30 PM. Throughout the event, the Keene Farmers Market will offer an array of fruits, meats, baked goods and vegetables.

For more information visit www.adirondackharvest.com or call 518-962-4810 x404.


Sunday, August 22, 2010

A New Dean for Paul Smith’s Hospitality Program

James Miller has been named Sodexo Dean of the School of Hospitality, Resort and Culinary Management at Paul Smith’s College. Miller will start the job Monday, Aug. 23. The post, which has been endowed with a $1 million, 10-year pledge from Sodexo Inc., is the first endowed chair at Paul Smith’s College.

“I look forward to working with our hospitality and culinary faculty to provide teaching and learning opportunities that will set our students apart from the competition,” said Miller, who has been on campus since July. “Our location, our facilities and the quality of the college’s faculty, staff and students make this a unique opportunity, and I am glad to be a part of the Paul Smith’s experience.”

Before arriving at Paul Smith’s, Miller was director of corporate and professional training at Massasoit Community College in Brockton, Mass.; there, he was responsible for non-credit training classes offered to local businesses, non-profit organizations and other groups.

Prior to that, Miller held faculty positions at Cape Cod Community College and Bunker Hill Community College and was director of sales and marketing for Fresh Concepts Restaurants, a Massachusetts-based company that is parent of two chains specializing in healthy fast food.

Throughout his career in higher education, Miller has worked closely with the local business community to ensure that academic programs were aligned with industry needs, a according to a Paul Smith’s press reelase which said he has led efforts to develop academic programs and provide professional development opportunities.

Miller has a master’s in business administration degree from Southern New Hampshire University, and a bachelor’s degree in hotel administration from the University of New Hampshire.

About 275 students are enrolled in Paul Smith’s hospitality and culinary programs. Several alumni have gone on to become leaders in their fields, such as Dick Cattani ’64, chief executive of Compass Group’s Premier Catering Division; Wally Ganzi ’63, co-chairman and co-owner of The Palm Restaurants; and Jon Luther ’67, executive chairman of Dunkin’ Brands Inc.

Miller is replacing Ernest Wilson, who has been dean of the division since 2008. Wilson is retiring in his native Hawaii after a career in the hospitality industry, the U.S. Army, and higher education.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Let’s Eat: Lumber Camp Cook Rita Poirier Chaisson

Rita Poirier Chaisson was born in 1914 on Canada’s Gaspe Penninsula. In 1924, her father Paul Poirier, a lumberjack, moved the family to the North Country where logging jobs were more abundant. Her mother agreed to leave Canada with reluctance. The Poirier family spoke French, no English, and she was convinced that New Yorkers “just talk Indian over there.”

The family kept a farm near Tupper Lake, with as many as 85 cows. Rita planted potatoes and turnips, and helped with the haying. She and her siblings attended a local school, where she was two years older than most of her classmates. Although she picked up English quickly, her French accent made integration difficult. She left school at the age of 14, and worked as a live-in maid, cooking and cleaning for local families for three dollars a week. She used her earnings to purchase clothes by mail order for her sisters, mother, and herself. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, August 14, 2010

Down on the Farm with the Adirondack Museum

Join the Adirondack Museum at Blue Mountain Lake, New York for a field trip to Adirondack farms and a local farmer’s market. Field trip farms include Rivermede Farm at Snowslip, Lake Placid, N.Y., Tucker’s Taters Farm, Gabriels, N.Y., and the Ponderosa Poultry Farm, also in Gabriels. The day will include a stop at the Saranac Lake Village Farmer’s Market, as well as lunch at the Eat ‘N Meet restaurant in Saranac Lake, N.Y.

The Farm Field Trip will be held on Saturday, August 21, 2010. Pre-registration is required. The day will begin at 9:30 a.m. in Lake Placid, N.Y. and end at 5:00 p.m. in Gabriels.

Participants will use their own cars or carpool with others. Driving directions will be sent upon registration. Sensible clothing and sturdy shoes are suggested. The cost will be $50 for museum members and $55 for non-members. For additional information or to register, please contact Jessica Rubin at (518) 352-7311, ext. 115 or at jrubin@adkmuseum.org.

The field trip day will begin with an introduction and presentation, “Adirondack Farming History,” by museum Curator Hallie Bond at Rivermede Farm at Snowslip.

A tour of Rivermede will follow. Rivermede Farm at Snowslip is owner Rob Hasting’s “new” farm. Hastings has been farming at Rivermede in Keene Valley, N.Y. for over twenty years.

The group will then move on to Saranac Lake, N.Y. and the opportunity to explore and enjoy the Saranac Lake Village Farmer’s Market.

Lunch will follow at the Eat ‘N Meet restaurant where chef and owner John Vargo is committed to using local foods. The menu at Eat ‘N Meet represents time-trusted recipes and classic European technique – with South American, Caribbean, African, and Asian influences.

At 2:00 p.m. the tour will visit Tucker’s Tater Farm in Gabriels, N.Y. Tucker Farms has been a family enterprise since the 1860’s. Steve and Tom Tucker – 5th generation owners – have diversified the farm to alleviate ebbs and flows in the economy. They have added specialty variety potatoes to their list of crops including “All Blue,” “Adirondack Blue,” “Adirondack Red,” and “Peter Wilcox” – a purple skinned yellow flesh variety.

The day will come to a close at Ponderosa Poultry Farm, also in Gabriels. A chicken and duck ranch, the farm includes lupines, dahlias, gladiolas, and a small garden.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

New Train Sparks First Wilderness Heritage Corridor Events

July 17th marked the beginning of Upper Hudson River Railroad’s two-train Saturdays, when both morning and afternoon trains are scheduled, taking passengers northward in the morning to enjoy not only the scenic excursion by rail, but also allowing them to enjoy an outing in one of the First Wilderness Heritage Corridor communities along the route. These Saturday offerings will continue through August 21st. » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Let’s Eat: Adirondack Corn

In 1916, the New York Commissioner of Agriculture reported that Essex County is “by far the most broken and mountainous section of the state.” In spite of the fact that “only about one-third of the area of the county is in farms and only about one-eighth improved farms, yet there is a remarkably good report of agricultural production.” County farmers produced 96,383 bushels of corn in 1915, along with barley, oats, buckwheat, potatoes, and hay and forage.

Corn has long been a staple food in the Americas. It is a domesticated plant, bred from a wild grass native to southern Mexico nearly 7,000 years ago. Its use as a cultivated food plant in the northeastern United States began about 1,000 years ago.

Although the Adirondack climate is not generally conducive to agriculture, there are pockets in the valleys and surrounding areas where the growing season is long enough, and the soil rich enough, to grow corn. The vegetable was one of the staples of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) diet. European settlers in the region grew corn where they could, not only to feed themselves, but to feed their livestock as well. As settlement and tourism in the region grew, Adirondack hotels and resorts kept kitchen gardens to feed guests. Adirondack families grew their own vegetables, preserving what they did not eat in season for the long winter months. Locally grown corn was featured on the menu for human and animal consumption.

Although the Commissioner’s 1916 report indicating that most crops grown in Essex County were produced “for the supply of camps, cottages, hotels, and summer tourists,” by the late 1800s, some northern New York farms were growing enough corn to export to wholesale dealers in cities like Boston, Syracuse, Rochester, Watertown and New York City.

During the Depression, newspapers like the Malone Farmer offered advice on creating healthy and inexpensive meals. In October, 1931, readers were advised that “as for cost, corn preparations are among the more economical of the common foods. Two pounds for five cents is the average price per pound by bulk for both corn meal and hominy.”

A regular column, called the “Market Basket,” offered readers tips on shopping, canning, cooking, and sample menus. The May 20th, 1931 edition also included a recipe for corn soup:

2 cups canned crushed corn
1 cup water
1 quart milk
1 onion, cut in halves
1 tablespoon flour
4 tablespoons butter
Salt to taste
Pepper

Combine the corn and the water, cook for 10 minutes, and stir constantly to keep from sticking to the pan. Press the corn through a strainer. Heat the milk and the onion in the double boiler and thicken with the flour and fat, which have been well blended. Add the corn pulp, salt, and pepper, Heat, remove the onion, and serve. Buttered popcorn makes an interesting substitute for croutons to serve with corn soup.

Adirondack farmers hosted “husking bees” during harvest. Families and neighbors gathered together to remove cornhusks before cooking for a crowd. In Willsboro, an unidentified farmer or family member used a small wooden peg, pointed on one end and held with a strap of leather to the thumb as an aid in removing husks from many ears of corn. Made by hand near the turn of the 20th century, it would have made such a repetitive task easier.

Come see the corn husker (76.163.12), and other corn-relates artifacts in ‘Let’s Eat! Adirondack Food Traditions” at the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake, on exhibit this season through October 18, 2010.

Corn Husker
Found in Willsboro, NY
ca. 1890-1930
76.163.12
Gift of Dennis Wells


Saturday, July 31, 2010

A Closer Look at Bees: Pollen and Body Parts

The more I learn about bees, the more interesting they become. This morning I was out photographing the insects and flowers in our butterfly garden, and a large portion of the insects I saw were bumblebees, which were mobbing the globe thistles. When the bumbles are this plentiful, it makes studying them a bit easier, for space is at a premium. When they find a good spot to feed and collect pollen, they stay there until the resource is exhausted. So armed with my macro lens, I started stalking the bees.

One busy little lady was well-laden with pollen, her pollen sacs bright orange bulges on her hind legs. This got me to wondering about pollen sacs. What exactly are they? Are they actually pockets in which the bees stuff pollen, or are they just sections of leg around which pollen is piled? I had to know more.

As it turns out, bumble bees have a very interesting system for storing pollen, which begins with pollen collection. Because they are extremely fuzzy animals, pollen sticks to them every time they visit flowers. It sticks to their antennae, their legs, their faces, their bodies. They become one giant pollen magnet.

One of the really neat things I learned about bumble bees (and apparently beetles and ants), is that they actually have a special structure just for cleaning their antennae. Located on their front legs is a special notch. The inside curve of this notch is lined with a fringe of hairs that work like a comb. Have you ever watched a beetle, ant or bee wash itself? It will draw its antennae through this notch, and the comb-like hairs brush off pollen and any other debris that might be there. Pretty nifty.

Meanwhile, the middle legs are also equipped with brush- (or comb-) like hairs. These are run over the body, scraping off the collected pollen. From here the pollen is transferred to the pollen presses located on the hind legs.

At this point we have to take a good look at those back legs. Just like us, the bee’s legs have a tibia, which is the lower leg (think of your calf). On bumble bees the tibia is flat, somewhat convex, shiny and surrounded by hairs, some of which are rather long and stiff. This forms what is called the pollen basket. Located at the lower end of the tibia (think of your ankle) is a comb-like structure, and on the metatarsus (think of your heel or foot) is the press. These two structures work together kind of like levers.

So, the pollen (which has been moistened with nectar to make it sticky) is transferred to the press and the bee manipulates the press and comb to press the pollen onto the bottom part of the flattened tibia. Each new batch of pollen is pressed onto the bottom of the basket, pushing the previous batches further up. When the basket is full, it will bulge with upwards of one million grains of pollen. The hairs that surround the tibia hold the pollen in place while the bee flies from place to place, either collecting more pollen, drinking nectar, or flying back home to stock the nest with this carefully gathered food, which is what her offspring will eat when they hatch.

Bee pollen is considered one of the all-time great foods. Of course, the information I found on the nutritional content of bee pollen is specifically for honey bee pollen, but bumble bee pollen is probably very similar. So, here are some statistics on honey bee pollen:

• It is a complete protein;
• It is the only known food to contain all 22 amino acids that the human body needs but cannot produce for itself;
• It contains more protein than any meat or fish;
• It takes a honey bee about an hour to collect one pellet (basketful) of pollen;
• A teaspoon of honey bee pollen contains about 1200 of these pellets.

(Honey bees, by the way, have crevices on the backs of their knees, and it is into these that the gathered pollen is stuffed.)

It is now clouding up and the bees have probably left the garden. I know, however, that the next sunny day we have, I will be out in the garden watching the bees. I want to see if I can actually witness a pollen press in action. Perhaps some of you will do the same. If you get to see a bee pressing pollen onto its pollen basket, I hope you will let me know.


Friday, July 30, 2010

Winners of the Adirondack Museum’s Campfire Cook-off

On Thursday regional chefs competed in a trial by campfire at the Adirondack Museum as part of “The Adirondacks Are Cookin’ Out.” Each chef selected his own menu; all cooked over an open fire. Tony Zazula, Sally Longo, and Suvir Saran judged the competition. The cook-off resulted in a tie between Chef Tom Morris, Chef De Cuisine at the Mirror Lake Inn, Lake Placid, N.Y.; and Chef Stephen Topper, Lorenzo’s al Forno in the Copperfield Inn, North Creek, N.Y.

Photo: Back row, left to right: Chef Tom Pollack and Chef Kevin McCarthy, Paul Smith’s College; Chef Tom Morris, Mirror Lake Inn, Lake Placid, N.Y.; Chef Stephen Topper, Lorenzo’s al Forno, North Creek, N.Y.; Sous Chef Kevin Gardner, barVino, North Creek, N.Y.

Front row, left to right: Chef Luke Bowers, barVino, North Creek, N.Y.; Tony Zazula, co-owner of Commerce, New York, N.Y.; Sally Longo, a chef and owner of Aunt Sally’s Catering, Glens Falls, N.Y.; Suvir Saran, a respected food authority, television personality and consultant worldwide, and Chef Eric Hample, The Cellar Restaurant, Long Lake, N.Y.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Campfire Cook-Off at the Adirondack Museum

The Adirondack Museum will hold a special event, “The Adirondacks are Cookin’ Out,” on Thursday, July 29, 2010. A highlight of the day will be a “top chef” competition – Adirondack style. Outstanding regional chefs will compete in a trial by campfire. Visitors are invited to watch and cheer them on as guest judges choose the winner of this outdoor cooking challenge.

Competitors include: Chef Kevin McCarthy, former Executive Chef at The Point in Saranac Lake, N.Y. and the Lake Placid Lodge, Lake Placid, N.Y., now a faculty member at Paul Smith’s College; Chef Stephen Topper, former Executive Sous Chef at The Sagamore on Lake George, Executive Chef at Friends Lake Inn, Chestertown, N.Y., and currently at Lorenzo’s al Forno in the Copperfield Inn, North Creek, N.Y.

Also, Chef Richard Brosseau, Executive Chef at the Interlaken Inn and Restaurant, Lake Placid, N.Y.; Chef Luke Bowers, Executive Chef, barVino, North Creek, N.Y.; Chef Tom Morris, Chef De Cuisine at the Mirror Lake Inn, Lake Placid, N.Y.; and Chef Eric Hample chef and owner of The Cellar Restaurant in Long Lake, N.Y.

Tony Zazula, co-owner of “Commerce,” a contemporary American restaurant in Greenwich Village, Suvir Saran, a respected food authority, television personality, and consultant worldwide, and Sally Longo, a chef and owner of Aunt Sally’s Catering, Glens Falls, N.Y. will be judges for the Campfire Cook-Off.

The Campfire Cook-Off will begin at 11:00 a.m. Each chef will select his own menu; all will cook over an open fire. Judging will take place at 1:00 p.m.

The Chefs:

Chef Tom Morris
Chef Morris is the Chef De Cuisine at the Mirror Lake Inn, Lake Placid, New York. Tom worked under chefs Serge Roche and Pierre Couvin at the Three Clock Inn in Londonderry, Vermont and was sous chef at the Three Mountain Inn in Jamaica, Vt. Tom returned home to the Adirondacks in 2007 to complete his studies and join the Mirror Lake Inn under Chef Paul Sorgule. In 2008 Tom was on the team for the “Taste of the Adirondacks” dinner at the James Beard House. He has been involved in the Vermont Fresh Network and the Adirondack Harvest Association and strives to utilize the bounty of fresh ingredients the mountains provide in New York and Vermont.

Chef Eric Hample
Chef Hample graduated from Paul Smith’s College in 2002 with an Associate Degree in Culinary Arts and a concentration in baking. He has worked at various local restaurants in multiple positions and in Syracuse as a pastry chef for two and a half years. He now owns and operates The Cellar Restaurant in Long Lake, N.Y. with his wife Brooke and partners Ali and Michelle Hamdan where they pride themselves in consistent, fresh, and delicious food at fair prices.

Chef Luke Bowers
Chef Bowers is Executive Chef at barVino, North Creek, N.Y. barVino is a restaurant, wine bar, and live music venue. Under Chef Bower’s leadership the chic rustic menu uses many local products and changes seasonally to incorporate the freshest possible ingredients.

Chef Kevin McCarthy
Chef Kevin McCarthy took local Adirondack ingredients to new heights as Executive Chef at The Point, Saranac Lake, N.Y. and Lake Placid Lodge, Lake Placid, NY. He has appeared in numerous trade and travel magazines and was featured in the PBS documentary “The Adirondacks.” McCarthy currently lives in Saranac Lake and has recently joined the faculty of Paul Smith’s College.

Chef Stephen Topper

Chef Stephen Topper was the Executive Sous Chef at The Sagamore Resort on Lake George, N.Y., moving next to the role of Executive Chef at The Friends Lake Inn in Chestertown, N.Y. His elevation of the menu offerings to match the Inn’s impressive wine list won numerous awards. Chef Topper was the chef at Saratoga Polo –Catering & Events, in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. before coming to Lorenzo’s al Forno at the Copperfield Inn, North Creek, N.Y.

Chef Richard Brosseau
Richard Brosseau is the Executive Chef of the Interlaken Inn and Restaurant in Lake Placid, N.Y. He draws inspiration from the rich local farming community in the Adirondacks to add dimension to his menu. He has been featured on “Live! with Regis and Kelly” as well as PBS’s “Roadside Recipes” and has received numerous Wine Spectator Awards for the wine list he has compiled at the Interlaken Restaurant.

The Judges:

Tony Zazula
Tony Zazula is the co-owner of Commerce, a restaurant in Greenwich Village, featuring an upscale, contemporary American menu with Asian, French and Italian accents. Zazula began his career at the famed Tavern on the Green in New York City. He went on to gain invaluable experience at the St. Regis Hotel where he was the Director of Food and Beverage, and at The Plaza where he was the Catering Sales Manager. Zazula has also worked at Windows on the World as Vice President of Sales and Catering, and The Rainbow Room.

In 1985 Zazula and partner Drew Nieporent opened the award winning Montrachet, marking the revitalization of Tribeca and playing a critical role in shaping the neighborhood’s status as a hip and desirable section of Manhattan. During it’s 20-year span, Montrachet maintained a reputation of excellence. When not in New York City, Zazula enjoys spending time at his family summer home in Blue Mountain Lake, N.Y.

Suvir Saran
A respected food authority, Saran has been featured in Food & Wine, Bon Appétit, Fine Cooking, Travel & Leisure, Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, New York Magazine and many other national publications. Television and radio appearances include: The Food Network, “Next Iron Chef”, “The Martha Stewart Show,” NBC “Today”; and the Travel Channel’s “Epicurious TV.” Saran is also a featured chef in the national public television series “How To Cook Everything: Bittman Takes On America’s Chefs” (2005) and “Food Trip with Todd English.” When he is not on the road teaching and learning, Saran enjoys working on his 68-acre American Masala Farm in upstate New York.

Sally Longo
Sally Longo is the chef for and owner of Aunt Sally’s Catering, a renowned local catering company in the Adirondacks. For over 18 years Longo has catered dinners and parties for families, businesses, and private camps. She is the host and associate producer of the popular regional cooking show “Dinner at 8” and has appeared on “Sixty Second Helpings” for WNCE News. Longo teaches cooking classes and has published on food and catering.

Tasting, Presentations, and Music
Lake Placid Brewery will offer a tasting of their award winning products – including Ubu Ale, the brewery’s flagship beer — from 12 noon until 4:00 p.m. Visitors must be twenty-one years of age to enjoy the sampling; ID will be required.

Visitors can expand their own cooking skills by participating in demonstrations and food-related talks throughout the day. At 1:30 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. smoking and grilling will be the hot topics. Join Susan Rohrey (grilling) and John Roe (smoking) to learn more about both techniques.

The presentations “Edible Adirondack Mushrooms” and “Wild Vegetables of the Adirondacks” with Jane Desotelle and “Pairing Beer & Food” with Christopher Ericson, founder, owner, and brewmaster of Lake Placid Brewery will be offered in the museum’s Auditorium. Times will be posted.

Intermountain Trio will offer three sets of classic folk and rock in the Marion River Carry Pavilion at 12:00 noon, 2:00 p.m. and 3:30 p.m.

For a full schedule of the day’s events, visit www.adirondackmuseum.org.