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Archive for December, 2009|Monthly archive page
The Elmwood Wintermarket began this Saturday December 12th at the Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church at the corner of Elmwood and Lafayette. Following a few days of stormy winter weather, only five vendors had braved the snow and ice to set up stands when I arrived a little after 11am.
As I walked in, I was warmly welcomed by George Kappelt of Flavor Farm who enthusiastically began telling me about his products. On his table lay small packets of ground hot peppers: red chilies, green chilies, and a yellow blend with habanero for those looking for an extra kick. George explained to me the difficulty of drying peppers in the Northeast’s moist climate. To get around this he first dries the peppers whole in a dehydrator, grinds them up, puts them in the oven on low for another hour to remove any excess moisture, and finally puts them through his spice grinder.
Among the other items at the Flavor Farm table were packets of microgreens, small greens with big flavor, with varieties such as red mustard, sorrel, hon tsai tai, and a salad blend. Believing in the importance of procuring nutrients from the soil, George grows his microgreens in earth filled seed trays under fluorescent lights in his home. George also sells Hot Chocolates, bite size Merckens milk chocolate with Flavor Farm’s red chili flakes mixed in. The Hot Chocolates were a great combination, sweet and smooth with heat coming through at the end.
While talking with George I met Jamelleh, a local farmer’s market regular. Originally from New York City, she enjoys exploring Western New York’s agricultural scene, attending markets and visiting farms in the area. She was looking forward to her purchase of red mustard microgreens, having never tried them before.
Among the other vendors at the market was Painted Meadow Farm. Despite a snowy hour and half drive, the farmer had made it to the market with her chicken, duck, rabbit, and heritage turkeys. Her multicolored eggs were in high demand. It was only 11:30 and she was nearly sold out. I purchased a combo pack of four turkey, four chicken and four duck eggs, which I look forward to using in my Christmas baking.
New to the market this year, Dave and Donna of Gourmet Sorbet were serving up two soups made with ingredients from local farms. They also make sorbet year-round, but in the winter months they plan on enticing marker goers with their hot soup. The menu changes weekly, but this week I was able to sample both of their soups and I particularly enjoyed an Asian inspired cabbage soup with sweet, sour, and gingery elements.
At Hens Honey Bee Farm of North Tonawanda I picked up some raw organic native wildflower honey. Geri Hens has a variety of liquid, cream, comb and flavored honey. She mentioned that today’s Wintermarket had an unusually small turnout of vendors. Normally there are farmers with bread and baked goods, winter produce, soup and prepared foods, local beef, meat, honey, and wine. She anticipates that next week will have a better turnout. The Elmwood Wintermarket will be running Saturdays from 9am-1pm from now until mid-May. It is located downstairs in the Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church at the corner of Elmwood and Lafayette.
posted by Caitlin Henzler
Field & Fork Network, a local non-profit organization dedicated to connecting farmers to new economies in the eight counties of Western New York, announce their 2nd Annual Farmer-Chef Conference at Beaver Hollow Conference Center in Java, NY on January 25, 2010. Open to agriculture and culinary industry professionals, students and educators, the one-day conference provides workshops and networking forums to promote the building of a viable and sustainable local food system in our region. Conference attendees will also hear from distinguished speakers and industry experts from around New York State and Canada.
Building on the momentum from the very successful 2009 conference, the 2010 conference will include three keynote speakers; Kathleen Harris of the Northeast Livestock Processing Service Company and Currytown Farm, award-winning Chef Michael Stadtlander of the Canadian Chefs Congress and Eigensinn Farm in Northern Ontario, and Patrick Martins, owner of Heritage Foods and one of the people who really brought Slow Food USA to life, at the behest of Slow Food International’s founder, Carlo Petrini. These three notable speakers, representing different roles in the food chain, will make presentations during the morning session and will also answer questions during an open panel discussion.
The Farmer-Chef Conference also offers a roster of workshops which includes a variety of topics designed to meet the needs of small scale farmers and chefs, and to encourage thoughtful discussion around the benefits and challenges of doing business with one another. Such topics include: The Farmer-Chef Relationship: Developing a Mutually Beneficial Model for Small Farms and Restaurants, Extending Your Season – Supplying the Demand , and Re-imagining the Small Dairy – A Blueprint for Success . A complete list of workshops and the conference schedule can be found on the conference website.
The conference will culminate with a local food tasting and tradeshow intended to showcase WNY’s bounty and provide a networking forum for conference attendees and local producers. Tabling is available for $25 for conference attendees or $50 for non-attendees. Interested parties can find a link to table registration for the local food tasting and tradeshow can be found on the conference website.
The conference, to be held at Beaver Hollow Conference Center in Java, NY, costs $55 per registrant and includes admission to all of the day’s programming, unique networking opportunities, an all local lunch and educational materials. Scholarship tickets are available based on need and on a first-come-first-serve basis. Last year’s conference sold out quickly, so early registration is recommended. Links to registration and tickets are available at http://farmerchefconference.wordpress.com.
Field & Fork Network would like to acknowledge the generous support of this year’s conference sponsors – Wegmans, Lexington Co-operative Market, Beaver Hollow Conference Center, Rich Products, Edible Buffalo, Culinary Institute Niagara Falls, New York State Restaurant Association, Sodexo, and the Aroma Group Restaurants. Additionally, Field & Fork Network would like to recognize its strong partner relationships with Cornell Co-operative Extension, Northeast Organic Farming Association’s NY chapter, American Farmland Trust and NYS Department of Agriculture & Markets/Pride of NY.
Looking for more information? Read what the press had to say about the 2009 Farmer-Chef Conference here!