Saturday, March 31, 2012

Forest to Fields: Champlain Valley Agriculture History

A short booklet, From Forest to Fields: A History of Agriculture in new York’s Champlain Valley published by Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) of Essex County and the Lake to Locks Passage Scenic Byway highlights the rich history of the Champlain Valley with a focus on the region’s farms and fields.

From Forests to Fields is authored by Anita Deming, who has more than 30 years experience as an agricultural extension agent with CCE, and Andrew Alberti, Program Manager for Lakes to Locks Passage since 2008 (where he focuses on 21st century technology applications and local and regional interpretation and planning). Alberti is also editor for the Lakes to Locks Passage and National Geographic Geotourism website. » Continue Reading.


Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Mindful Carnivore: Veganism to Hunting

In The Mindful Carnivore (Pegasus Books, 2012), Tovar Cerulli traces the evolution of his dietary philosophy from veganism to hunting. As a boy, Cerulli spent his summers fishing for trout and hunting bullfrogs. While still in high school, he began to experiment with vegetarianism. By the age of twenty he was a vegan. A decade later, in the face of declining health, he returned to omnivory and within a few years found himself heading into the woods, rifle in hand.

Through his personal quest, Cerulli bridges these disparate worldviews and questions moral certainties. Are fishing and hunting barbaric, murderous anachronisms? Or can they be respectful ways for humans to connect with nature (and their food)? How harmless is vegetarianism? Can hunters and vegetarians be motivated by similar values and instincts? » Continue Reading.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The First Adirondack Harvest: Maple Sugaring

This year, the sap flow has arrived a little sooner than usual, and some began tapping in and boiling in January – but most maple producers (at least near where I live in Washington County) are having or have had a decent run. Some have even boasted a banner year for production. Others at higher elevations are reporting production down a third or more.

This past Friday, the ceremonial tapping of the sugar maple took place at Mapleland Farms in Salem, NY. As soon as I left my car, I could smell (and feel) the heavy sweet-smelling steam flowing out of the sugar house as it filled the air. » Continue Reading.


Friday, March 9, 2012

Learning to Cook Adirondack Book, Event

Fourth generation Adirondacker Nancy Pulling Best has written a short book of Adirondack food stories and recipes. Learning to Cook Adirondack recalls the friends and family who taught her to cook and bake. This little book is a treasure of nearly 50 local recipes with profiles of the men and women who contributed them from around the Old Forge region.

Nancy Pulling Best will lead a free lecture on Sunday, March 11, 2012 at View from 1-3 pm at 3273 State Route 28 in Old Forge. Participants will sample recipes from her new cookbook and signed copies will be available for purchase. Call 315.369.6411 for more information or visit www.viewarts.org.

The book can also be purchased online at nancydidit.com in addition to Adirondack book stores.

Note: Books noticed on this site have been provided by the publishers.


Friday, March 9, 2012

Thurman Maple Days Begin This Weekend

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.


Monday, March 5, 2012

Community Supported Agriculture in the Adirondacks

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.


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Glens Falls Co-op Seeking Members

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.


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Girl Hunter: Revolutionizing the Way We Eat

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.


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Adirondack Foods: Venison Chili for a Chilly Day

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.


Saturday, January 28, 2012

Fort Ti Offers Garden & Landscape Symposium

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.


Monday, January 23, 2012

Maria Speck: Going with the Grains

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 manager@battenkillkitchen.org). » Continue Reading.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Annette Nielsen: A Roasted Squash Bisque

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.


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

High Peaks Happy Hour: 2011 Annual Report

What began as an offhanded remark while on a Tennessee road trip has culminated in our quest for the best bars in the Adirondack Park.

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.


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Spirited Adirondack New Year Beverages

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.


Monday, December 26, 2011

BurkeBeaner Coffee to Benefit Dewey Mountain

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.