The Northern New York Agricultural Development Program (NNYADP) has received $600,000 in the recently-passed New York State Budget for research to enhance the sustainability and profitability of farm businesses in the state’s six northernmost counties: Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence.
The Northern New York agricultural industry contributes nearly $600 million in estimated farm product market value to the local economy and has an estimated local payroll of approximately $53 million. » Continue Reading.
When Asa Thomas-Train met his future wife, Courtney Grimes-Sutton, she was skinning a pig. Rather than wonder why an attractive young woman was doing a job usually reserved for big, brawny guys, Asa reacted with admiration. “She’s an incredibly capable, charismatic, and strong woman,” he said recently.
That summer of 2010, they were working at Essex Farm, a mecca for edgy young farmers honing their agricultural skills. Founded a decade ago by Mark and Kristin Kimball, the farm has had a prodigious influence, spawning new farmers and a warm farming community. Kristin recounted the farm’s unfolding in her memoir The Dirty Life. » 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.
With the ever increasing interest in locally produced foods and homesteading skills, the Warren County Soil and Water Conservation District is presenting a series of informational talks in Warrensburg on agricultural topics. The presentations are free and open to anyone with an interest. For reservations contact Nick Rowell at (518)623-3119 or email@example.com, as seating is limited.
The next two talks, on hops growing and soil health, will be Friday, March 28th from 6 pm to 8 pm at the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation Warrensburg Office at 232 Golf Course Road. Future talks are planned for May.
Hops was once a staple crop of New York farmers, but production ended about 50 years ago and the last beer made with all New York hops was produced in the 1950s. That is until 2004 when the first new beer was brewed with all New York hops. Today a small amount of hops are being grown in Washington and Warren counties for use in the Adirondack and Paradox breweries. » Continue Reading.
Like most Adirondack gardeners, my family is just starting to think about starting seeds and planning our summer garden. At Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE), they want to make sure that we are all aware that local farmers are not just thinking about what to plant, but have actually never stop growing and making local food available for our tables.
It’s still feels like deep winter, spring is a ways off and the soil in the gardens is pretty well frozen solid. Are you dreaming of fresh, local food in abundance? What is to be found in the North Country on the backside of the farming calendar? Locavores can rise to this challenge once again with Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Food from the Farm event.
This is the fourth year we’ve turned to our list of regional farmers and processors, hired a chef dedicated to cooking with local ingredients and organized a display area to educate and excite the community. It’s been such a huge hit, we vowed to make this an annual event – yet there is always room for improvement. » Continue Reading.
We’re big supporters of our sons’ school, and I enjoy helping out and participating in most school events, probably more than my kids would actually like. But there’s one thing that has never been particularly appealing to me (and other parents, judging from the courtside conversations) and that’s class fundraisers in the form of products for sale.
Sure, some of them are fine and I do enjoy my Christmas wreath. But many of the other items seem cheaply made and sometimes totally useless. I’ve been known to skip the tchotchkes entirely and just send in money. » Continue Reading.
I can freely admit that I am not an expert in basically anything, but let me give you some advice: Don’t share your four-hundred square foot anything with a dog, a cat, three hens, and a rooster. Now, nothing against the chickens, but they are noisy. And stinky. And no matter what, the rooster will crow whenever he feels like it, regardless of your sleep schedule.
With temperatures predicted to be about thirty below zero without the wind chill, I decided that the time had come to let the chickens have a nice warm night inside. Now, keep in mind that the chickens had not ever been inside my cabin. Nor had Pico ever been separated from them by nothing more than a blanket. Needless to say, I did not get much sleep last night. » Continue Reading.
Well, the low temperature last night was still above zero for the first time in a week. It’s not much, but it’s something to look forward to. And then tomorrow they’re saying that the highs will be above freezing. It has been a wild winter so far, weather-wise.
While the rest of the nation was experiencing record cold last week, we were watching the snow melt and the ruts in the driveway disappear. Then we had bone chilling cold with nasty wind. So much so that if I didn’t check the chicken coop every hour or so for eggs, the eggs I did find would be frozen and cracked.
One nice development out here at the cabin is that Brownie the chicken has started laying eggs too. Nice light brown ones that make the egg carton look so pleasant. With Whitey and Brownie laying now pretty much every day, I’m getting more eggs than I can eat. At least when I find them unfrozen. » Continue Reading.
I have often said that I am blessed because I get paid to do something I love. And I often put in more hours in my week than I get paid for in my pay check, but it is a balance. I also for the most part set my own schedule. Of course we have set office hours, and I have a desk and a chair I am supposed to be in during the work week. But I also have meetings and consultations outside those office walls. Because of my job, I have gotten to travel to places I probably wouldn’t have gone on my own. Have seen and experienced places I would not have done if I hadn’t had the job I do.
At the end of the day, I am fairly certain that I am paid for the work I do and the contributions I have made to my organization and community I live and work in. So it is rather distressing when many of the people I work with (yep I am talking about farmers) don’t feel they are paid or even that their customers could pay them what they are worth. So they end up settling for what they feel customers can afford, or that customers expect to pay. For someone who is trying to inspire farmers to raise good quality products for their customers that they as farmers can be proud of raising, growing or making, it is disheartening to hear the heavy sighs followed by such statements. » Continue Reading.
Shared community freezer space may prove to be a boon to farmers selling meat in bulk quantities and consumers seeking an economical way to purchase and store local meat.
The local food movement is still going strong here in the North Country. During the winter months we tend to be focused less on the fresh fruits and vegetables and more on the products we can access out of season: honey, maple, dairy, eggs, storage crops, value-added items like jams and mustards, and especially locally-raised meats.
We have many Northern New York farmers raising beef, poultry, pork, bison, lamb, goat, and rabbit, but buying meat from your farmer down the road can seem like a puzzling prospect. The cuts may not look exactly as you’re used to, the price may seem too high, and depending on the method by which they were raised (e.g. grass-fed vs. grain-fed), the cooking styles may need to be adjusted. This is a great example of why it’s to your advantage to get to know your farmer. The farmers I know are chock-full of information about how their animals are raised, the various cuts of meat and great recipes to help you turn that brisket into a melt-in-your-mouth meal.
My off-grid, simple living, homesteading lifestyle can sometimes lead me and my thoughts down very different roads. For instance, if you had asked me five years ago, (heck, if you had asked me five months ago) what would be occupying my thoughts this winter, chicken diapers would not have entered my mind. But here I am, wondering if and where I can get myself some chicken diapers.
Now, I don’t just go around thinking about chicken diapers. I actually have a very good reason for shopping around for just such a thing. It turns out that one of my chickens is a rooster. Poor old Midget, who is no longer so little, started crowing the other day.
I had noticed some odd behavior a few days ago, but thought that maybe she was just being a jerk to Whitey. I was watching the chickens in their run through the window, and saw Midget jump right on Whitey’s back. Whitey is the one laying eggs, and maybe Midget was just a little jealous. Nope, (s)he was horny. » Continue Reading.
I grew up getting a tree from a parking lot and yearned for a storybook experience of searching the woods for the ideal tree. Though getting any Christmas tree was exciting, I wanted to give my children a different family ritual. I also wanted to stick to the legal version of obtaining a Christmas tree. A few of my friends may disagree (and shall remain nameless), but I believe that searching for a tree should not involve stealth, cloak of darkness and a get-away car.
How we obtain our Christmas tree varies year to year, but so far we have either been gifted a tree from a neighbor’s property or we’ve visited one a local Adirondack Christmas tree farm. » Continue Reading.
Yesterday morning, I let the chickens out into their run, just like I always do. I sprinkled some food in there and gave them my customary “Hey Ladies!” I’ve stopped trying to keep them in the run, as they seem to get out now whenever they feel like it.
Even so, I closed the plastic over the opening in the run, and went back inside to have some tea. Whitey is far and away my most vocal chicken, and she was squawking up a storm. I looked out to see her relentlessly attacking the plastic covering the opening, and as I watched, she escaped. But to my surprise, she immediately hopped back into the coop. » Continue Reading.
The chickens have become escape artists. I don’t know how they figured out the elaborate trap of chicken wire and plastic that comprises the door to the run, but they’ve managed to get out for two days straight.
I don’t mind letting them roam around when I’m around. But as the weather gets colder and the predators get more desperate for calories, I’m thinking that the door to the run may have to be reconfigured. It’s sad to admit, but my half-assed door can’t even contain a bunch of literal bird brains.
It is nice to see them out and about in the yard though. They have thoroughly picked over the spots where the run had been, and have even seem to have found some food left over in those spots. I like seeing them come running up to the front door when I walk out, or see them flying for twenty or thirty feet. They appear to be happy and content, and their tail feathers are sticking up higher than ever. I’m not sure how much I should read into the angle of their feathers, but I heard somewhere that if their tail feathers are up, then they’re happy. » Continue Reading.
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