The North Country has been home to some dangerous occupations. If you think for a moment, you’ll probably come up with three that really stand out. The obvious choices are farming, logging, and mining. But let me offer a fourth possibility: produce manager.
Sounds ridiculous, right? Thousands have entered those other three occupations knowing full well the potential downside. Produce manager, on the other hand, seems pretty safe. But what would you choose—a job with the risk of injury, or a job that might one day “produce” your worst nightmare? If you’re squeamish, you’d have to be bananas to choose the latter. » Continue Reading.
Eating locally grown and raised foods is becoming increasing popular in the North Country. To help locavores shop for local products, plan meals, and prepare local vegetable dishes, the Cornell University Cooperative Extension associations of Northern New York have set the dates for the Northern New York Eating Local Yet? summer workshops.
A series of three hands-on classes will be held in Sackets Harbor at The Farm House Kitchen, in Canton at the First Presbyterian Church Fellowship Hall, and in Plattsburgh at the CV-TEC Culinary Kitchen. » Continue Reading.
From the outside looking in, Bolton Landing is a tightly knit community. Jane Neil Caldwell, who’s lived in Bolton for almost 40 years, says she’s still searching for that community.
“We may be part of extended families, or be involved with the school if our children are students, or belong to clubs or a church, but we never seem to come together in one place, for one purpose, as a true community should,” she said. » Continue Reading.
With $300,000 in funding now secure in the 2011-2012 New York State Budget, the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program (NNYADP) is moving ahead with 2011 on-farm research and outreach projects in Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties.
A 2010 NNYADP Impact Statement provides a snapshot of the NNY region’s agricultural industry: approximately 4,200 farms, 1.11 million acres, a farm employee payroll of $52.9 million, Northern New York farm products’ market value more than $595 million. » Continue Reading.
Cornell University Cooperative Extension Warren County was awarded a New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets grant to develop a Warren County Farm Guide and encourages farmers to participate.
The Warren County Farm Guide is expected to allow for more information to be made available to the public in their search for locally grown products and educational farm tours. The guide will include a listing of farms along with potentially a listing of Warren County farmers’ markets, ongoing ag events and festivals, a harvest calendar, information on Why Buy local, and important agricultural facts. » Continue Reading.
Cornell Cooperative Extension in Warren County is offering its Vegetable Garden Seed Kit Fundraiser for the 2011 planting season. It’s not too early to start preparing for spring and summer planting. The prices for store-bought vegetables are sky-rocketing and growing your own fresh vegetables could save you money. Spending time outdoors and eating your home-grown vegetables is also a perfect way to ‘Go Healthy!’ » Continue Reading.
Cornell Cooperative Extension is sponsoring a training session for anyone interested or currently involved in local farmers markets. The workshop will take place on Saturday, April 2 from 9:00am to 3:00pm at the Ausable Valley Grange, 1749 Main Street in Keeseville. Bernadette Logozar, CCE Franklin County and Regional Local Foods Specialist for Northern New York will lead sessions on “Food Safety and Samples at the Farmers Markets” as well as “Staying Current: Regulation Updates”. Anita Deming, Executive Director of CCE Essex County will cover “Record Keeping and Profitability Analysis”. The workshop is open to the public. There is a charge of $15 which includes lunch. For more information or to pre-register please call Sharon at 962-4810 x403.
The Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) Master Gardener Volunteer Training Program is now accepting applications for the program beginning in January 2011. Space is limited, so contact your local office soon for an application. Information about the program can be found on the CCE Warren County website.
After enrolling, you are provided with a large binder of information and reference material for the course that supplements the weekly presentations from Cornell University faculty, Cooperative Extension staff, and local experts on a wide range of horticultural topics. The topics include: Basic Botany, Entomology, Soils, Home Lawn Care, Vegetable and Fruit Gardening, Composting, Organic Gardening, among others. Local regional training is held in Ballston Spa (saratoga County) on Mondays from late January to mid April. » Continue Reading.
Enjoying a meal around a campfire is an important part of an outdoor experience. Many a camper insists that food just tastes better when eaten outside.
An anonymous sportsman wrote about his trip to the Adirondacks in 1867, with particular mention of meals: “Trout ‘Flapjacks’ & corn cakes were soon cooked…and then we hurried into the Tent to eat, for the Mosquitos were very troublesome out side, & threatened to devour us, waving [sic] all objections as regarded our not being Cooked. Next morning we were up early & had such a Breakfast. Venison nicely cooked in a variety of ways great blooming Potatoes, splendid Pan cakes with maple sugar syrup, Eggs, & actual cream to drink…We could scarcely leave the Table…” » Continue Reading.
The Third Annual Great Adirondack Rutabaga Festival sponsored by Adirondack Harvest, The Adirondack Farmers Market Cooperative and the Town of Keene will be held at Marcy Field in the town of Keene from 9:00 AM until 1:00 PM on Sunday September 5th, 2010. The event is one of only two Rutabaga Festivals in the country.
The rutabaga comes to us from Sweden where the climate is comparable to the Adirondacks. This hardy, tasty and adaptable vegetable thrives in our sometimes harsh climate. Part turnip, part cabbage, this versatile root crop can be served in salads, in desserts, as rutabaga chips, mashed alone or with potatoes or turnips, as French fried rutabagas or as a component in bread. The festivities begin with a Rutabaga 5K Run across flat terrain at 9:00 AM. Runner registration begins at 8:15 AM. All entries in the biggest rutabaga contest must be registered by 10:00 AM. The High Peaks Hula Hoop Championship will start at 10:30 AM.
Chefs from Adirondack Catering Service, Baxter Mountain Tavern, Generations, Green Point Foods, High Peaks Resort and the Mirror Lake Inn will begin serving free samples of their favorite rutabaga dishes at 11:00 AM.
Ongoing events include a Rutabaga Fetch open to friendly and talented dogs starting at 10:30 AM, children’s games, displays and educational exhibits. The 2010 Rutabaga King and Queen will be crowned at 12:30 PM. Throughout the event, the Keene Farmers Market will offer an array of fruits, meats, baked goods and vegetables.
Rita Poirier Chaisson was born in 1914 on Canada’s Gaspe Penninsula. In 1924, her father Paul Poirier, a lumberjack, moved the family to the North Country where logging jobs were more abundant. Her mother agreed to leave Canada with reluctance. The Poirier family spoke French, no English, and she was convinced that New Yorkers “just talk Indian over there.”
The family kept a farm near Tupper Lake, with as many as 85 cows. Rita planted potatoes and turnips, and helped with the haying. She and her siblings attended a local school, where she was two years older than most of her classmates. Although she picked up English quickly, her French accent made integration difficult. She left school at the age of 14, and worked as a live-in maid, cooking and cleaning for local families for three dollars a week. She used her earnings to purchase clothes by mail order for her sisters, mother, and herself. » Continue Reading.
In 1916, the New York Commissioner of Agriculture reported that Essex County is “by far the most broken and mountainous section of the state.” In spite of the fact that “only about one-third of the area of the county is in farms and only about one-eighth improved farms, yet there is a remarkably good report of agricultural production.” County farmers produced 96,383 bushels of corn in 1915, along with barley, oats, buckwheat, potatoes, and hay and forage.
Corn has long been a staple food in the Americas. It is a domesticated plant, bred from a wild grass native to southern Mexico nearly 7,000 years ago. Its use as a cultivated food plant in the northeastern United States began about 1,000 years ago. Although the Adirondack climate is not generally conducive to agriculture, there are pockets in the valleys and surrounding areas where the growing season is long enough, and the soil rich enough, to grow corn. The vegetable was one of the staples of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) diet. European settlers in the region grew corn where they could, not only to feed themselves, but to feed their livestock as well. As settlement and tourism in the region grew, Adirondack hotels and resorts kept kitchen gardens to feed guests. Adirondack families grew their own vegetables, preserving what they did not eat in season for the long winter months. Locally grown corn was featured on the menu for human and animal consumption.
Although the Commissioner’s 1916 report indicating that most crops grown in Essex County were produced “for the supply of camps, cottages, hotels, and summer tourists,” by the late 1800s, some northern New York farms were growing enough corn to export to wholesale dealers in cities like Boston, Syracuse, Rochester, Watertown and New York City.
During the Depression, newspapers like the Malone Farmer offered advice on creating healthy and inexpensive meals. In October, 1931, readers were advised that “as for cost, corn preparations are among the more economical of the common foods. Two pounds for five cents is the average price per pound by bulk for both corn meal and hominy.”
A regular column, called the “Market Basket,” offered readers tips on shopping, canning, cooking, and sample menus. The May 20th, 1931 edition also included a recipe for corn soup:
2 cups canned crushed corn 1 cup water 1 quart milk 1 onion, cut in halves 1 tablespoon flour 4 tablespoons butter Salt to taste Pepper
Combine the corn and the water, cook for 10 minutes, and stir constantly to keep from sticking to the pan. Press the corn through a strainer. Heat the milk and the onion in the double boiler and thicken with the flour and fat, which have been well blended. Add the corn pulp, salt, and pepper, Heat, remove the onion, and serve. Buttered popcorn makes an interesting substitute for croutons to serve with corn soup.
Adirondack farmers hosted “husking bees” during harvest. Families and neighbors gathered together to remove cornhusks before cooking for a crowd. In Willsboro, an unidentified farmer or family member used a small wooden peg, pointed on one end and held with a strap of leather to the thumb as an aid in removing husks from many ears of corn. Made by hand near the turn of the 20th century, it would have made such a repetitive task easier.
Come see the corn husker (76.163.12), and other corn-relates artifacts in ‘Let’s Eat! Adirondack Food Traditions” at the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake, on exhibit this season through October 18, 2010.
Corn Husker Found in Willsboro, NY ca. 1890-1930 76.163.12 Gift of Dennis Wells
In Rules for Recovery from Tuberculosis, published in Saranac Lake in 1915, Dr. Lawrason Brown stated that “there are no more difficult problems in the treatment of pulmonary tuberculosis than to make some patients gain weight and to help others avoid digestive disturbances.”
Diet was an important part of treatment for tuberculosis, the “white plague.” Highly contagious, tuberculosis (or TB) was one of the most dreaded diseases in the 19th century. Caused by a bacterial infection, TB most commonly affects the lungs, although it may infect other organs as well. Today, a combination of antibiotics, taken for period of several months, will cure most patients. The drugs used to treat tuberculosis were developed more than fifty years ago. Before then, thousands came to the Adirondack Mountains seeking a cure in the fresh air, away from the close quarters and heat of urban streets. Doctors prescribed a strict regimen of rest, mild exercise, plenty of fresh air, and healthy, easy to digest meals. » Continue Reading.
Oh! My old kitchen cook stove, to time now surrendered, How well I remember the day you were new. As so proud in your newness, you stood in my kitchen So black and so shiny, and fair to my view. How oft, by your side, in the years that have vanished I have held my firstborn to your genial heat And the years in their passing, added still others ‘Till your hearth was surrounded with dear little feet….
Lucelia Mills Clark, a farm wife from Cranberry Lake, wrote this ode to her cast iron cook stove in 1899. Her verse reflects the iconic status of the 19th century cook stove in the American imagination—as the heart of the home, a place where families gathered and generations spent time together, when life was simpler. » Continue Reading.
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