MEETING THE LOCAVORE CHALLENGE BEYOND SEPTEMBER 25 2011

THE WEEKEND OF SEPTEMBER 24  and 25th was packed with events that celebrated local food/farming; its history, its fusion with gourmet menus, and the young farmer movement itself which is sweeping New York State.

ON THE AFTERNOON OF SEPTEMBER 24, Diane Galusha auther of the book When Cauliflower was King talked about the history of growing just one vegetable, cauliflower, from about 1905 to 1950 in the Catskills at Morgan Outdoors in Livingston Manor, NY.  One of the most fascinating aspects of the meeting was that one of growers who shared his experiences as a young boy in planting, growing and marketing cauliflower to markets in New York City and the nearby hotels and boarding houses attended the meeting. Afterwards, a cauliflower tasting and discussion on growing commenced across the street at Main Street Farm store.

photo credit Lisa Lyons Morgan Outdoors

On Saturday evening I attended a most elegantly served Locavore dinner at the Early Bird Cookery in Callicoon Center. The 7 course menu consisted of food prepared from locally sourced ingredients by Early Bird Cookery headed by chef Amy Miller. Particularly outstanding was the Pear Spitzer (complimentary cocktail) made from local pears. AND the beef carpaccio appetizer (grassfed beef from Snowdance Farm, Livingston Manor), borst soup (beets and other veggies from Willow Wisp Organic Farm, Abramsville, Pa.) For the entree, I selected the rabbit stew which was sourced from Stone and Thistle Organic Farm in Delaware County. It was delicious. But probably the most outstanding surprise was the dessert. Described as a “grape pie” this delicious confection was served in a ramkin topped with a walnut, maple topping. The Concord grapes were supplied from Trapani Farms in Ulster County.

Sharing this delicious food with friends and neighbors added to the enjoyment of the meal, which was served to us by the Early Bird staff. At the end of the meal both the farmers and staff were introduced for a standing ovation by the diners. Early Bird Cookery specializes in Locavore Suppers year round. I can’t wait for the next one in October!

Agrarian Acts held at the NACL theatre in Highland Lake was the culmination of my Locavore challenge  day on September 25th.  Starting with a locavore potluck, the day was a celebration of family fun hosted by NACL theatre. There were displays and literature from several farmer/food organizations  like the Greenhorns, Pure Catskills, Slow Food UpDiRiver, Catskill Mountainkeeper and yours truly from NOFA-NY. Music, theatre, puppetry, a screening of the film  The Greenhorns, plus face-painting (using homemade natural paint) for the kids, a seed-saving workshop for the growers and a lettuce eating contest filled the day with fun for everyone from the hundred or more little locavores  to older-localvores who attended.

The sun shone brightly on a day when rain had been promised! We are all looking forward to more of these celebrations all year!

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