This April, shoppers throughout the country faced empty milk shelves in their grocery stores, while at the same time, North Country dairy farmers dumped tens of thousands of gallons of their herds’ daily production down the drain.
Why did this happen? Why are farmers dumping milk when store shelves just a few miles away are empty?
When Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed the executive order in March that shut down state commerce, Katie and Brandon Donahue, owners of Donahue’s Livestock Farm in North Bangor, had 30 sizable orders of top-shelf, hormone- and antibiotic-free beef and pork in the cooler destined for North Country restaurants.
Within minutes of the shutdown order, Donahue’s phone began blowing up with cancellations. Restaurants were either shutting down altogether or going to a pickup/delivery model that relied less on the more expensive, hence more profitable, cuts. By the end of the day, 27 of the 30 restaurants had called to cancel.
“I was panicking,” Donahue said. “I have 700 cows out in the field that still have to eat, and they don’t care about the coronavirus.”
One thing is sure: all of us have learned that the world can change overnight. So far, supply chains within the global food system have not been totally disrupted. Hopefully they won’t be. But food resiliency means a community has farms growing food on the soil surrounding community members. If supply chains break, your neighboring farms are growing food nearby. But in order for community farms to survive, they can’t be a last resort. Community members have to see the value in knowing that security is there, every day, and support it… or farms don’t survive.
Many people have been thinking about food differently during this unprecedented pandemic. Going out to get food means something different than it did mere weeks ago. We’re wondering where our food came from and how many people touched it before us. Or we don’t want to go out to get it at all…
So, like magic, local farm and food businesses in the Adirondacks have responded rapidly in innovative ways to feed the community. Local farmers’ markets, farmstands, cooked meal deliveries, and other local food vendors are noticing amazing support from the community. Adirondack Harvest wanted to understand more about the relationship of local food to the community during this unusual time. Here’s what you told us!
The Adirondack Council and Essex Farm Institute have recently updated its micro-grant program to allow farmers, value-added producers and food pantries to apply for COVID-19 related emergency funding during this grant cycle.
In the midst of new and unforeseen challenges to the local food system, the aim is to help mitigate some of those challenges. This means there are now two types of grant applications for up to $5,000:
Adirondack farmers and value-added producers seeking to enhance the environmental health and benefits their operations provide.
Adirondack farmers, value-added producers and food pantries seeking financial assistance during the COVID-19 crisis. Projects or costs that get local food to local people are eligible.
The grant application deadline has been extended until April 7.
The Annual Adirondack Harvest Board Meeting has been scheduled for Tuesday, March 3rd, and the Southern Chapter Meeting will be held at the Warren County Soil & Water Conservation District office on Schroon River Road in Warrensburgh. » Continue Reading.
Lake George Arts Project’s annual winter fundraiser, “Bands ‘n Beans” has been set for March 29, from 2 to 7 pm.
More than twenty five area restaurants are set to present guests with their best chili in a friendly competition to win in a number of categories. Attendees will taste them all and vote on their favorite while ten local bands will play continuous music on two stages. » Continue Reading.
The North Country Food Justice Working Group has announced the third annual Winter Food Justice Summit, “FEED BACK: Everyone Eats!” has been set for Thursday, February 27th, at The Wild Center in Tupper Lake.
Previous Summits began the process of identifying priority projects, working to strengthen existing initiatives, and aiding collaboration. This year’s Summit profiles the theme of poverty and food in three main tracks: farmers, consumers, and educators. » Continue Reading.
View’s 14th Annual Chili Bowl Luncheon has been set for Saturday, February 15th from noon to 3 pm, featuring over a dozen chilis and soups made by local restaurants, with a variety of desserts made by View’s volunteers.
Attendees will be able to choose from a variety of handcrafted, ceramic bowls created by local and regional potters in View’s Ceramics Studio. Handcrafted ceramic bowls range in price from $18 to $25. Chili can be purchased without a ceramic bowl at $10 adults and $5 for children. » Continue Reading.
Gift giving during the holiday season can be a wonderful thing. It can be even more wonderful when what you give is not only appreciated by the recipient, but also supports a local farm business.
It is a well-established fact that money spent at local farm businesses has a huge multiplier effect. Instead of your money leaving the area to support a large business and employment elsewhere, the local producer you pay, will, in all probability spend the money right here to employ people, buy supplies, make more community investments, and pay local taxes. It is a win win situation for everyone involved.
So, now you may be asking yourself what exactly are your options for locally produced gifts? Many times, an unconventional, “think outside the box” gift can be the best gift, so let’s think outside the box. » Continue Reading.
There are several types of cultivated berries grown in Northern New York. Among the most popular are strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries, although several other minor fruits (e.g. currants, gooseberries) are grown, as well.
Starter plants are relatively inexpensive and, once established, the plantings are reasonably easy to maintain. They last for years and the fruit is incredibly flavorful when picked fresh. » Continue Reading.
The AuSable Valley Grange Farmers’ Market, a producer-only farmers’ market, has partnered once again with Hotel Saranac for its annual harvest market in Saranac Lake. At producer-only markets, vendors can sell only items that they or their employees produce. Vendors cannot buy in bulk and then resell to you.
This year, the market will extend through the winter season with the goal of establishing a year-round farmers’ market. » Continue Reading.
Growing giant pumpkins may be a lot like baseball. After all, both are traditional, competitive sports that require hard work, determination, discipline, attentiveness, patience, and the ability to anticipate. Both continue to grow in appreciation; not just in this country, but internationally. The season starts in the spring. And fall is the time of final defeat for most; victory for a lucky few.
During the final weeks of September and throughout the month of October, millions of people around the world take in fall festivals featuring giant pumpkin weigh-offs. Many also showcase pumpkin parades, pumpkin carving contests, pumpkin sculpture, pumpkin pie-eating contests, and pumpkin beer, as well. » Continue Reading.
This weekend is the final seasonal celebration for the “birthplace of the electric age.” Located at the old Crown Point Iron Company Works in Ironville, the Penfield Homestead Museum is hosting its annual celebration of everything apple. Though apples may be one of the reasons to go to the Penfield Homestead, also plan to visit the museum dedicated to preserving the history of the North Country’s ironwork industry during the 19th century. » Continue Reading.
Tenth Annual Garlic Festival at the Warrensburgh Riverfront Farmers’ Market is set for Friday, October 11th, from 3 to 6 pm.
Certified organic and naturally grown garlic will be sampled and sold for planting and consumption. Horticultural information and recipes will be provided at the CCE of Warren County Master Gardener Station. » Continue Reading.
The Adirondack Almanack is a public forum dedicated to promoting and discussing current events, history, arts, nature and outdoor recreation and other topics of interest to the Adirondacks and its communities
We publish commentary and opinion pieces from voluntary contributors, as well as news updates and event notices from area organizations. Contributors include veteran local writers, historians, naturalists, and outdoor enthusiasts from around the Adirondack region. The information, views and opinions expressed by these various authors are not necessarily those of the Adirondack Almanack or its publisher, the Adirondack Explorer.
General inquiries about the Adirondack Almanack should be directed to editor Melissa Hart.
To advertise on the Adirondack Almanack, or to receive information on rates and design, please click here.