Thursday, March 31, 2022

Why do we eat what we eat?

farming
What will we eat when the Bugs are gone? Part 2

What you eat and drink is often no less a matter of fashion and tradition than what you wear, with the important qualifier that what you eat has generally much more impact on your health than what you wear, assuming that what you wear at least correlates with the seasons of weather and climate conditions and doesn’t offend people to such an extant that it invites abuse from others. Our Cro Magnon ancestors, who left Africa about 80,000 years ago, were hunter-gatherers who hunted mammals, fished, and routinely ate insects, all of which are good protein sources. They foraged plants which provided nuts, seeds, berries, fruit and roots. Proponents of the paleo diet claim that the fact that we subsisted for 200,000 years on such a diet, and evolved to accommodate such a diet, points to its efficacy. 

What if you want to cut back on your meat consumption, whether for health or environmental reasons, but you lack the imagination to eliminate red meat from your diet altogether? I try to avoid beef whenever possible, and if I am cooking at home, substitute bison, which browse free range, and are much tastier and healthier for you anyway. Bison have lighter impact on the land, being like deer more browser than grazer (grass eater). The word “moose” is derived from “moswa”, a Native American word meaning “twig eater”. Elk are more grazer than browser, but unlike cattle move around to fresh graze, thus allowing grazed lands to recover. 

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Thursday, March 31, 2022

Adirondack Experience announces new virtual ‘Dacks Drinks series

The Adirondack Experience, The Museum on Blue Mountain Lake, (ADKX) announces their new virtual program series – ‘DACKS DRINKS. This series, co-sponsored by the Albany Public Library, will highlight local flavor – from the adventurous rum-runners of the early 20th century to today’s craft brewers infusing their brews with tastes from Adirondack forests. The series will feature two free online sessions, A Taste of Tupper with Garret Kopp from Birch Boys and Josh Weise and Tanner Hockey, Brewers at Raquette River Brewery on Wednesday, April 13 at 7 p.m. and History with a Twist – Adirondack Bootlegging with Niki Kourofsky, editor at Adirondack Life, and Stacia Takach from Lake Placid Stagecoach Inn on Wednesday, April 20 at 7 p.m.

‘Dacks Drinks

Wednesday, April 13, 7 pm: A Taste of Tupper with Garret Kopp from Birch Boys and Josh Weise and Tanner Hockey, Brewers at Raquette River Brewery

Meet two of Tupper Lake’s taste-making companies as Raquette River Brewing and the Birch Boys share their stories and offerings. Discover their unique collaboration to create Chugga Chugga Chaga Honey Brown Ale, an English-style brown ale made with sustainably harvested Chaga mushrooms. Josh Weise and Tanner Hockey from Raquette River Brewery will wrap up the evening with a few tips on how to infuse local flavor for home brewers.

About the speaker: Garret Kopp grew up in Tupper Lake and began harvesting Chaga mushrooms and selling them at local pop-up markets with his grandmother when he was 15. He created the Birch Boys while in college and today, the company leases 220,000 acres of private land in the Adirondacks for sustainable Chaga harvesting, making products like teas, tinctures, and skin care products. Kopp is also a certified mushroom identification expert & licensed NYS guide.

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Saturday, March 26, 2022

MAKE IT: Fish Chowder

Fish chowder is a wonderful way to use up the panfish in your freezer. This simple recipe is easy to make and cooks up quickly. Pair with some crusty bread and a salad for a full meal. Enjoy!
(Serves 4)

Ingredients:
 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
 1 small onion, chopped
 1 stalk celery, chopped
 3 medium potatoes, scrubbed and cubed
 3 cups low-sodium stock (fish, chicken stock, or vegetable)
 1/2 cup chopped carrots or sweet corn kernels
 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
 1 tablespoon lemon juice
 1 tsp. Old Bay-type seasoning
 Salt and pepper to taste
 1-pound boneless, skinless panfish fillets, cut into 1-inch chunks
 1 cup milk (I used 2%)

Directions:
1. Sauté onion and celery in oil until tender. Add potatoes, fish stock, carrots or corn,
parsley, lemon juice, and seasonings. Simmer until vegetables are tender, about 30
minutes.
2. Add fish and simmer for around 5 minutes, or until fish flakes with a fork.  Add milk, and
heat gently (do not bring to boil).
3. Enjoy!

Nutrition Information: (calculated with vegetable stock and carrots): Serving size: 1/4th recipe |
Servings per recipe: 4 | Calories: 324, total fat: 22.5 g, saturated fat: 9 g, cholesterol: 0 mg,
sodium: 44 mg, carbohydrates: 53 g, fiber: 4.7 g, sugar: 6.5 g, protein: 20.2 g

*Recipe adapted from The Wild Harvest Table


Monday, March 21, 2022

Maple Syrup Production Combines Principles of Silviculture, Forest Management, Sustainable Agriculture, and Agroforestry 

In a few words, sustainability is the practice of using resources responsibly. It focuses on meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.

The concept of sustainability can be traced back to the forest management philosophies of Hans Carl von Carlowitz (1645–1714), in his work Sylvicultura Oeconomica (Instructions for Wild Tree Cultivation), in which he established a set of concepts for sustainable management of forest resources. His belief that timber removed from a forest stand should never exceed that which can be regrown through planned reforestation continues to be a guiding principle of forestry today.

Sustainability, as a policy concept, is most-often thought of as the ability to continue use over a long period of time, or as long-term goals and / or the strategies that may be applied to achieve those goals.

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Saturday, March 12, 2022

MAKE IT: Traditional Irish Scones

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, here is a recipe for traditional Irish Scones called Frances’ Scones. Several years ago, I was able to go with my daughter, at the time, one of the Wild Irish Acres Dancers, on a trip to Ireland. During that magical trip, we visited the Rathbaun Farm, a working sheep farm in County Galway. After watching the farm’s border collie round up the sheep, we went inside the farm’s thatched cottage for some freshly baked scones, prepared by Frances, and topped with farm-fresh whipped cream and preserves. Every time that I make Frances’ scones, the scent of them baking brings me back to the farm in Ireland.

*If you do not have self-rising flour, you can create your own with 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder and ¼ teaspoon salt per cup of flour. For this recipe, you would add 2.5 Tablespoons of baking powder and 1 ¼ teaspoons of salt to the 5 cups of flour, and mix thoroughly before following the remaining steps.

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Thursday, March 10, 2022

Farms invited to apply for Adirondack Council mini-grants

Full and By farmFor the first time, the Adirondack Council’s Essex Farm Institute’s Micro-Grants for Adirondack Farms and Value-Added Producers will offer grants of up to $8,000 for the implementation of environmentally-beneficial and sustainable projects led by Adirondack farms and value-added producers. Prior grants had not exceeded $5,000, with most awarded in the $1,500 range.  The grant application was updated for the 2022 cycle to provide more resources for larger operations or those projects led by a team of applicants.

The 2022 guidelines have also been updated to provide clarity with respect to eligibility criteria and gives preference for historically-underserved or socially-disadvantaged groups. As the Adirondack Park’s largest environmental advocacy organization, the Adirondack Council recognizes the huge role agriculture plays in meeting climate goals, sustaining the health of natural resources and fostering economically vibrant communities.  It adopted the Essex Farm Institute to ensure that local farmers would have assistance in reducing costs (fuel, fertilizer, electric power, waste removal) and increasing profitability/sustainability by adopting sustainable, environmentally friendly methods.

“Curbing climate change will require new investments in those parts of the economy that can help us conserve energy and reduce fuel use,” said Adirondack Council Executive Director William C. Janeway.  “That also reduces pollution, creates more local jobs and make the Adirondacks less dependent on easily-disrupted supply chains that reach halfway around the world.”

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Wednesday, March 9, 2022

Northern New York Agricultural Development Program report offers first look at alternative maple tubing

The latest results of maple research from the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program (NNYADP) may suggest a possible advantage of using quarter-inch tubing for sap collection vs. the current maple industry standard. The research is detailed in the “Alternative Maple Tubing That Prevents Clogging and Increases Sap Production” report posted under the Research: Maple tab at https://www.nnyagdev.org.

Maple research commissioned by the farmer-driven NNYADP has prompted the growth of the northern New York maple industry from $3.25 million in 2008, according to a Cornell University survey, to more than $12 million in 2019, with potential to reach a $15 million annual valuation.

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Sunday, March 6, 2022

March Harvest of the Month: Whole Grains

grain

When you think of agriculture in the Adirondacks, you may not think of waving fields of grain. New England was the “breadbasket” of the United States until the late 1800’s. Global markets have driven local grains out of favor. Flour is flour, right? 

Many grain growers and “bread heads” would whole-heartily disagree. Have you ever eaten cornbread made with freshly ground cornmeal? Or eaten a shortbread cookie made with freshly ground buckwheat? The difference in flavor, nutrition, and community impact is significant. 

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Saturday, March 5, 2022

MAKE IT: Trout with Thyme and Lime

thyme fishFish can offer our bodies some amazing benefits including omega-3 fatty acids and a large
amount of protein. This is a great way to fulfill your protein needs without overloading your
system with saturated fats and additives.

This recipe allows for a bright flavor while providing a
zesty taste in the mix. This dish is also lower in calories but with the high content of healthy fats,
you are sure to be left feeling very full!

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Monday, February 28, 2022

AdkAction’s Compost for Good project kicks off USDA grant to support development of compost businesses

AdkAction’s Compost for Good project is seeking businesses and individuals interested in organics recycling opportunities. If you have considered starting a business related to composting, or have an existing business that you would like to expand upon, we want to hear from you! The Compost for Good (CFG) team is seeking farmers, haulers, composters, retailers, landscapers, grocery stores, manufacturers, restaurants, etc. in St. Lawrence, Franklin, Essex and Clinton Counties to discuss organics recycling goals and dreams.

AdkAction also welcomes input from municipalities or nonprofit organizations interested in supporting businesses in their area as well as business owners who are trying to navigate the Food Donation and Food Scrap Recycling Law.

“AdkAction supports projects that significantly improve the social, economic and cultural lives of local residents and enhance the long term natural resources of the Park. Through this grant, the CFG team will support the development of business opportunities and economic development that will simultaneously improve the natural systems of the North Country,” said Eric Holmlund, CFG Project Chair with AdkAction.

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Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Over 100 North Country families to receive free farm shares this summer

AdkAction is pleased to announce that more than 100 families in the North Country will be able to enroll in local community supported agriculture (CSA) vegetable subscriptions at no cost this year, thanks to crowdfunded support and a generous $25,000 matching grant from an anonymous donor.

“We set a goal to raise enough by the first day of spring for 100 families to participate,” said AdkAction Food Security Projects Manager Kim La Reau. “In just one week we exceeded our initial goal, and are now well on our way to serving 125 families through the program this year. The outpouring of support has been tremendous.”

The Fair Share CSA program was tested last summer, when AdkAction sponsored 23 families to participate in farm shares at White Rainbow Farm in Peru and Tangleroot Farm in Essex. The program provided fresh local produce to these households (75 individuals) for 20 weeks in the first season.

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Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Winter Wonderland Week 2022: Events slated for Long Lake and Raquette Lake Feb. 18-25

Ice Golf at 2019 Raquette Lake Winter Carnival

There is a little something for everyone during Winter Wonderland Week in Raquette Lake and Long Lake beginning on Friday, February 18 to Friday, February 25. The festive week kicks off with day one of Raquette Lake’s annual Winter Carnival and an 80’s-themed skate and pizza party in Long Lake on Friday, Feb. 18. Raquette Lake’s Winter Carnival is set for Feb. 18 -20 and will feature an evening concert with the Jamcrackers at the Raquette Lake Chapel, a ladies’ frying pan toss, games for kids, ice golf, a cross-cut and chainsaw competition, a bonfire and fireworks, and much more.

The fun continues all week long with a slew of community-centered activities including skating and sledding races, a cross-country ski tour, a trivia night, tubing at Oak Mountain, an hors d’oeuvres tour in Long Lake, and the return of Long Lake/Raquette Lake Winter Bingo.

The Long Lake Hors D’Oeuvres Tour is set to return on Friday, February 25. The event is sponsored by the Town of Long Lake Parks, Recreation & Tourism Department. Participants will take a free shuttle service to area restaurants to enjoy an evening out in which they will have the opportunity to sample specialty appetizers created specifically for the event and vote for the best appetizer at each location. Participating restaurants are: The Long View Lodge, The Adirondack Hotel, and The Long Lake Diner. Reservations remain open until Monday, February 21. Those interested are encouraged to register for the event early as seats will be limited to 60 guests. Registration can be done online here: https://mylonglake.com/tour/. Call (518) 624-3077 for more information.

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Saturday, February 12, 2022

MAKE IT: Cajun cauliflower

cajun cauliflower

Here is a recipe for cajun cauliflower, from Eastern Michigan University dietetic intern, Kristina (it is really good – my son, who detests cauliflower, actually not only tried it but liked it).

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Monday, February 7, 2022

Food Product Labels – What Do They Mean? 

non-gmo food labelWhether we shop at the supermarket or the farmers market, the foods we purchase bare a wide variety of labels. And we rely on those labels to provide us with information on, among other things, how the food was grown and/or prepared, or in the case of meat and meat products, how the animals were raised.

When we choose to buy food products that we believe are better choices, based on labeling, we want to know that we’re buying food that’s healthier for our families and the environment? And most people would agree that consumers have a right to know. But, all of the branding, pictures, and / or descriptions we find on, or attached to food products or packaging can be confusing. And, sometimes, misleading.

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Sunday, February 6, 2022

February Harvest of the Month: Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas) are large, sweet-tasting, starchy, tubers that grow under soil attached to a sprawling vine with heart-shaped leaves. While we eat them like potatoes (Solanum tuberosum), they are actually not a potato. Sweet potatoes are a member of the Convolvulaceae plant family and are more closely related to morning glories than potatoes. Potatoes are in the nightshade family, and are more closely related to eggplant, tomatoes, and peppers. 

Sweet potatoes thrive in warm climates, and they continue to be a culturally significant food in the American South, where they have been grown by indigenous people, European colonists, and enslaved people, and farmers for hundreds of years. 

Photo from the Saratoga Farmers’ Market, Pleasant Valley Farm, By Pattie Garrett

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