The Cornell University Willsboro Research Farm Open House has been set for Wednesday, July 10 from 1:30 to 4 pm.
Young specialty fruit trials funded by the farmer-driven Northern New York Agricultural Development Program (NNYADP) will be among the many crop plots available for touring during the open house. The tour of the farm facilities and research fields is free and open to the public. It will leave the main office at 48 Sayward Lane, Willsboro, at 2 pm. » Continue Reading.
As a kid fidgeting at my grandmother’s Thanksgiving table, I often wondered, what’s the point of cranberries? She had a live-in Irish cook who insisted on serving whole cranberries suspended in a kind of gelatinous inverted bog. If I ventured to eat a berry I experienced the power of my gag reflex.
How times change! The humble American cranberry, Vaccinium macrocarpon, in my opinion, is worthy of a downright homage. I am a fan. Yes, cranberries are tart, sour, and even bitter, but that makes them both good food and strong medicine. The Wampanoag called them ibimi, meaning sour or bitter berries. They crushed them into animal fats and dried deer meat to make pemmican, a food full of energy and vitamin C for long winter trips. Mariners brought them on sea voyages to fend off scurvy. According to passed down knowledge, the Algonquin used the leaves of cranberry to treat bladder infections, arthritis, and diabetes-related circulation problems. » Continue Reading.
The cold Hardy Grape Variety Research nursery in Northern New York is getting a make-over.
With new funding from the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program that helped establish the nursery at the Cornell Willsboro Research Farm in Willsboro in 2005, old vines have been removed, the soil is being refreshed, and new varieties of grapes have been selected for planting in 2017.
The evaluation of new varieties has been named a priority by growers associated by the wine grape industry across New York state. » Continue Reading.
Like the political process, cranberries can leave a sour taste in your mouth. But unlike politics, whose bitter aftertaste cuts through any amount of sweetener, the flavor of cranberries is readily improved with a little sugar.
To say a fresh cranberry is sour is like saying Picasso and Monet are reasonably good painters. In fact it can have a lower pH value than stomach acid. It’s almost a wonder people ever started eating them, right? » Continue Reading.
Our strawberry patch is just starting to ripen, but Rulfs Orchard’s U-Pick fields are just waiting to be picked. To celebrate this passage into summer, Rulfs is holding its 4th Annual Strawberry Festival in Peru this Saturday, June 27, from 11 am – 3 pm. » Continue Reading.
My husband and I planted two apple trees the year we moved into our farmhouse. That was the first and only year that we’ve gotten any apples. We haven’t even seen a blossom since. We drive past our neighbor’s trees loaded with fruit and wonder what we can do.
Our first step has been to install fences. We’ve worked hard to keep the grazing deer from completely obliterating the small trees. The next step was to attend a tree-pruning workshop. » Continue Reading.
Warren County Soil & Water’s next“Farm Talk” will focus on growing Christmas trees and fruit trees. The first presentation of the night is “Christmas Tree Farming: We’ll get you in the Spirit” with Mark Brown of Brown’s Tree Farm. The second presentation of the night will be “Planning a Small Fruit Tree Farm: Where do you start?” with Nate Darrow of Saratoga Apple.
The talks will be held this Friday, March 27th, from 6 to 8 pm at the DEC’s Warrensburg Office, 232 Golf Course Road, in Warrensburg. » Continue Reading.
Gardeners across the North Country have had a stressful winter, wondering what the sheets of ice, endless snow and sub-zero temperatures are doing to their perennials, berries, trees and shrubs. All we can do is wait and see how things get through. The next biggest stressor for gardeners is going to be deciding how early you can start planting your garden.
I’ve learned to not even try to make predictions related to the weather, especially as it relates to plants. Luckily many plants are quite resilient, so even if they get off to a slow start in spring they often catch up by summer. I have no idea what May is going to be like, and therefore no idea if you should make any adjustments to your usual gardening practices.
Just last year we had a killing frost in early May followed by those endless days of pouring rain that lasted into early July. All I can do is advise you to be ready for anything. Go ahead and plant your peas and spinach at the end of April if that’s what you usually do, but save a few seeds for replanting in case those don’t make it. When possible, plan to make successive plantings and hope that the timing works out for at least one of them. » Continue Reading.
The farmer-led Northern New York Agricultural Development Program has posted a new report on establishing New York’s first Juneberry research nursery. The planting at the Cornell Willsboro Research Farm in Willsboro, NY, will be one of the largest nurseries of its kind for studying this ‘superfruit.’
Juneberry, scientifically known as Amelanchier, has the potential to be a major novel fruit crop in northern New York, and perhaps the Northeast, say researchers Michael H. Davis, Cornell Willsboro Research Farm Manager, and botanist Michael B. Burgess of the State University of New York at Plattsburgh. » Continue Reading.
Noting what visitors appear at a bird feeder in winter can provide some revealing information on the status of the local populations of the feathered creatures hardy enough to remain in the Adirondacks after cold weather becomes established. Aside from the regular flocks of black-capped chickadees, a pair or two of red-breasted nuthatches and blue jays, there may be juncos, redpolls, evening grosbeaks, pine siskins, purple finches and other closely related seed eaters.
This year, at least around my house in Saranac Lake, there has been a healthy number of American goldfinches, which is not surprising considering this past summer’s weather. From mid May through the first week in July, record setting rains soaked the region, and cool temperatures made conditions difficult for birds attempting to incubate eggs and care for a nest full of recently hatched offspring. However, after the 4th of July, the weather improved substantially. Bright skies, warm temperatures and moist soil created ideal growing conditions for plants, which was noted by people who attempted to keep their lawn properly mowed, individuals who maintained flower and vegetable gardens, and those souls that enjoyed harvesting our crops of wild berries. » Continue Reading.
A large percentage of the farm workers who harvest New York State’s apples, potatoes, onions, and other fruits and vegetables are immigrants working long hours with no overtime pay, few benefits, low salaries, often substandard housing, and no right to collective bargaining, as those rights fought for over fifty years ago in California by Cesar Chavez were excluded from being applied here.
The Norse Vikings referred to the east coast of North America as Vinland, with grapes so plentiful they could be smelled from the sea. Such historical abundance is questionable; the description may have been a marketing ploy similar to the misleadingly named Greenland. Yet wild grapes are plentiful throughout the Northeast and they’re ripening now, to the delight of the many animal species that eat them.
Among humans, European grapes seem to get all the attention. Chardonnay, Bordeaux, and the seedless table grapes found in grocery stores are all cultivars of the Mediterranean grape vine Vitis vinifera. The most common wild species in our area are V. labrusca, the fox grape, and V. riparia, the river grape. Both have remained a forest curiosity since European colonization due to their sour taste and low sugar content. Only the Concord grape, a 19th century V. labrusca cultivar used in juice and jelly, has met with commercial success. » Continue Reading.
Mid-August is the time in the Adirondacks when the foliage of some red maples turns a bright reddish-orange, the sound of crickets replaces the music of our many songbirds, and blackberries start to ripen on their thorny canes. It is also when birds are more regularly seen in flocks rather than individually as they perch on a wire, forage in a field or fly across a road.
The territorial nature and belligerent behavior exhibited by adults toward neighbors from early spring through the end of the breeding season now fades like the chlorophyll in leaves during the latter weeks of September. Thus, a more gregarious lifestyle develops among the members of the same species and results in the formation of flocks for resting, foraging, traveling, and roosting at night. » Continue Reading.
Well, the fall-like weather continues, reminding me every day that winter is coming. But there are still signs of summer besides the humidity to remind me that it’s only August.
For instance, we just finished up our second batch of jam. The first batch was straight blueberry, and we got ten small jelly jars full. This second batch was blueberry-raspberry, with a few random blackberries thrown in just for the heck of it. This batch made twelve full jars, and it looks good. » Continue Reading.
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