Thursday, May 26, 2011

Weekend getaway resources

Catskill Mountains and Freshwater Marsh -Huffington Post

Headed out for some Memorial Day adventures this weekend? We've rounded up some links that feature Catskill region getaways to help inspire you! Whether you're a local, second-home owner or first-time visitor, we hope these guides will help you explore the great food and features our region has to offer.

A Weekend in the Catskills - The Amateur Gourmet

'Skills Set - Tasting Table

The Weekend Escape Plan - New York Magazine (okay, so this is a winter getaway but still some good tips!)

An Over-the-Top Getaway in the Catskills
- Huffington Post

Fell in Love with the Catskills - Makie Doll

Catskills Weekend Getaway: The Food - The Urban in Suburban

A weekend in the Catskills - Daily Candy

Weekend at the Catskills - Mangia Vita

Also check out the region's tourism agencies for more ideas:
Great Western Catskills
Sullivan County Visitor's Association
Ulster Tourism
Schoharie Valley Association
This is Cooperstown
Greene Tourism

And, of course!
Our own local food map will help you find your way. Or search for businesses to visit.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Views from the field: Ilyssa Berg

In this 'Views from the field,' we hear from Ilyssa Berg of Painted Goat Farm in Otsego County. Ilyssa's been making some fantastic fresh and aged goat cheeses in recent years. A grant awarded by Pure Catskills supported the development of a new variety of aged cheese and improving the farm's processing equipment.

Let's hear more from the farmer herself...

Cheese ready to be sent up the 'elevator' to the aging room.

Painted Goat Farm is a small, farmstead cheese producer begun from the ground up about four years ago. With funding assistance from the Pure CatskillsSustainable Agriculture Development Program, we purchased and installed needed small equipment in order to create a new semi-hard aged goat cheese. This product helped us to diversify our cheese selection and to utilize our milk early in the season before the Catskill region farmers’ markets and business activity picked up.

Another view of the elevator.

Different styles of cheese have different temperature and humidity requirements during manufacturing and aging. The improvements to our aging facilities included changes to our ventilation system, the ability to monitor the temperature and humidity in the cheese make-room and caves, and installation of a freight elevator to transport the cheese to the caves below ground. We are very happy with the results from the project. Our cheese making process is improved and so has the stability of our products.

Turning wheels of cheese in the aging room.

In 2010, we sold 285 pounds of “Fighting Goat”. It is a mild, nutty, semi-hard cheese which is washed in a wonderful New York State hard cider, giving it a natural, peach-colored rind and a robust flavor. Our customers were often surprised to see and taste a hard goat’s milk cheese and promptly added it to their cheese plates. Some of our customers prefer goat’s milk cheese over others because of adverse health effects from other dairy products and so, they appreciated having more styles of cheese to eat. For others who think they don’t like goat’s milk cheeses, they were more inclined to try a hard cheese and discovered they actually like goat cheese. A hard cheese also has a longer shelf life than our fresh (think cream cheese) and soft-ripened cheeses (think camembert), which retail outlets really appreciated. But, most of all, our new product enabled us to extend our market season through the winter months when our herd was “dry”. We took the opportunity to jump into making another cheese - a waxed-rind Gouda-style cheese, which we aged over the winter. We were able to start marketing earlier this year than ever before. We have already sold out and have started filling the caves with more. We hope we will age as well as our cheeses now do.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Catskill region food blogs

Follow the seasons with recipes tailored to our region’s harvest. Catskill food blogs will inspire you with recipes developed by local farmers and chefs.

Our region's bloggers aren't just blessed with great cooking and writing skills - they're also great photographers. So we'll let their images speak for themselves!

Peach Johnnycake from Cheryl Paff.

Farmers' Market Manager, Cheryl Paff features creative, seasonal recipes inspired from her finds at the farmers' market each week.

Kid goats in orbit at Stone & Thistle Farm.

Denise Warren of Stone & Thistle Farm writes about sharing great organic food through farming, cooking, selling and serving.

Cumin-crusted grassfed steak from Ulla Kjarval.

Ulla Kjarval of Spring Lake Farm specializes in recipes for grass-fed meats grown by her family and neighbors.

Ramp compound butter from Catie Baumer Schwalb.

Chef Catie Baumer Schwalb offers up a diverse mix of recipes along with professional tips for the home cook.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

May days

The growing season is upon us and with the fresh food comes some fantastic seasonal celebrations and workshops. Who needs to wait until to Memorial Day?

The table is set at a Neversink Farm barn dinner.

May 14th
11 am to 4 pm
Larry's Custom Meats
3487 State Route 205, Hartwick
Pig Roast (picnic style), refreshments, facility tour to celebrate their NEW USDA Slaughterhouse. Visit the CADE webpage for more details on the project. Call Larry's at (607) 293-7977 for more information.

May 19th
Farm to School Meeting
2 to 4 pm
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Sullivan County
64 Ferndale-Loomis Road, Liberty
A follow-up meeting to previous discussions about sourcing local food at area school districts. Farmers, school food service directors, school business managers and interested community members should attend. Content will cover a nuts and bolts implementation guide you need to start your farm to school programs, no matter how large or small. Technical Assistance will be provided will be conferencing in guest speakers who have been successful with farm to school programs as well as reps from the New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets for Q&A’s. For more information, contact Nancy McGraw, Deputy Public Health Director, at (845) 292-5910 x 2242 or by email at or call CCE at (845) 292-5250.

May 20th
10 am to 3 pm
34570 State Highway 10, Hamden, NY
$20 per person
Distribution and marketing of farm products have always been the most difficult part of small scale agriculture. Cooperative Extension of Delaware County is offering a program on how New York farmers are getting their products to New York tables. This program will provide the opportunity to hear directly from buyers, market managers, and other innovative individuals regarding their businesses and how local farms can either participate or set up similar models in this region. For more information, contact Janet Aldrich at or (607) 865-6531.

May 21st
12 to 2 pm
What do you get when you take a Chef who's trained at LeBernadin, Gramercy Tavern and the Hudson River Club and Neversink Farm a producer of fine hand crafted organic vegetables?Answer: A truly special multi-course gastronomic event prepared mainly with Neversink Farm's produce cultivated less than 50 feet away.Please join us for this highly anticipated collaboration of amazing talents: Conor and Kate from Neversink Farm, and Peekamoose Restaurant's very own, Devin Mills. This is local dining at its most local. Tours of the Farm will be available before the lunch.Guests will be seated communally at the farmhouse table, surrounded by the lush mountains, roaming chickens (who have escaped that day's menu) and rolling pastures. Tickets are extremely limited - additional information and tickets can be found by calling Marybeth at 845-254-6500.

May 21st
Salad Days of Spring
11 am to 2 pm
$25 Slow Food Members / $35 non members
Take a walk with noted herbalist Nathaniel Whitmore to forage for your lunch and enjoy a bit of spring. You will bring your found wild edibles back to the Old North Branch Inn and prepare a lunch with these ingredients and others sourced by visiting chef and innkeeper Mona Jess Coade-Wingate. Enrollment is limited. Please email your reservation to or call (845) 866-1484.

May 23rd
5:30 pm to 7:30 pm
Onteora MS/HS Cafeteria
Admission is free, hors d'oeuvres are $2 each
Join local chefs, parents and students at this fundraiser to support sourcing of local produce through the purchase of a walk-in freezer at the Onteora School District. Chefs from Bread Alone, Cucina, Emerson Resort, Mizuna Cafe, New World Home Cooking, The Peekamoose, Pika's Farm Table and The Red Onion will prepare hors d'oeuvres. For kids, there will be crafts, music and healthy snacks. Gardening and nutrition experts will be on hand with presentations. Plus a photo booth and a silent auction! For more information, contact Maxanne Resnick at

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Local food hits the airwaves.

Linda Smith of Sherman Hill Farmstead being interviewed by
Beth Stevens for WJFF's Farm & Country.

Hear what local farmers and advocates have to say about what’s happening in the region on Farm & Food Radio Shows. Community-produced radio is another important way to maintain your connection with your neighbors!

102.1 FM, Liberty
Agriculture and Garden Report
Saturdays, 6:30 am
Hosted by Mike Sakell of Thunder Country and Trish Westenbroek of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Sullivan County this show features interviews on timely topics including growing and harvesting seasonal products and common landowner issues. People from across the county working in agriculture are regularly featured.

90.7 FM, Acra
Sundays, 6 to 7 am
A show for young farmers, by young farmers. America’s cutting edge, under-forty farmers are interviewed weekly by Severine Fleming.

90.5 FM, Jeffersonville
Saturdays, 7:30 to 8 am
A broad cast of characters brings interviews, recipes, and more from local farmers, chefs and anyone who gets their hands dirty.

91.3 FM, Roxbury
Mondays, 6 to 7 pm
During this hour, you can expect to hear live interviews with the farmers and producers of our region, as well as special guests calling in to share agriculture related news, products and research topics. Sometimes we bring the farm to the radio airing what we call "ON the Farm interviews" where FarmHour contributors go to the farms with a handheld recorder and take a break with a farmer or farmhand to have a conversation or get right into the swing of the operation recording the sounds of a farm with a recorded narrative of the action.

We are advocates
 and we see this program as a collaboration with the farming community
. You are invited at all times to generate questions, come visit, ask us to research a topic, cover something of importance.
 Our approach to content is non didactic, no platforms, 
no 'best practice' propaganda,
 rather observations from people working the land.