Field & Fork Network

Archive for April, 2012|Monthly archive page

Western New York Land Conservancy to host 21st Annual Meeting at McCollum Orchards

In Uncategorized on April 27, 2012 at 5:35 pm


The Western New York Land Conservancy will hold their 21st annual meeting and reception at McCollum Orchards & Home in Lockport on Friday, May 11, 2012 from 6 p.m to 9 p.m.

McCollum Orchards & Home is a historic 100-acre property nestled in the City of Lockport NY. Established in 1832 by brothers Hiram and Joel McCollum, two of Lockport’s founding fathers, the farm has provided apples, pears, vegetables and even ice to WWI soldiers, historic dignitaries and generations of New Yorkers. In 2011, the sixth generation, Rich & Bree Woodbridge, returned to revitalize this unique place with new crops and renovations. The farm will re-open for business in summer 2012 and will offer vegetables and fruits, including heirloom apples and pears. Seven varieties of hops will also be offered, a crop new for the farm and Niagara region. Rich & Bree were recently selected for the Northeast Organic Farming Association-NY Journeyperson Program, a two-year program offering educational support and mentorship for farmers in their first two years of independent farming. To register, or for more information please call (716) 687-1225 or visit

The Western New York Land Conservancy is a regional, not-for-profit land trust that permanently protects landwith significant conservation value in Western New York,  for the benefit of future generations. We envision a future in which natural areas, working farm lands, wildlife habitat and scenic beauty are cherished and protected as part of the landscape and character of Western New York. The organization is one of 1,700 land trusts nationwide, including 90 in New York State, which have protected 40 million acres over the last 20 years.

Being Square is Cool

In Uncategorized on April 25, 2012 at 7:31 pm

Contributed by CityGirlCountry

Spring is the busiest time of year for the garden. Don’t let a spring snowstorm delay plans and chores, and using the Square Foot Gardening method is an easy way to transition from a empty patch to bountiful vegetables and herbs.

The Square Foot Gardening method emphasizes use of compost and hand watering. Growing a different variety of plant in every square foot would ensure that there is no diminishing supply of a particular nutrient in the soil, according to Urban Roots, a community gardening center in Buffalo, NY. The common practice in Square Foot Garden is to first make a raised bed of soil, in a 4-ft. by 4-ft. area, and then divide the raised bed into several 1-ft. by 1-ft. areas using twine or some sticks.

“The biggest advantage of square-foot gardening is that you reach all portions of the raised bed and can work each square-foot area without stepping on the oil or affecting the other plants,” said Caesandra Seawell, who recently taught a Square Foot Gardening workshop at Urban Roots.

Placing several raised beds throughout a garden, separated by some aisle space to walk through, creates a “garden island,” making this method of gardening even more accessible.

Any backyard space will due when working with raised beds. Use newspaper, coffee bags, or anything biodegradable on the bottom. Planting can even be done on a concrete slab. If getting around is difficult, plant the raised bed on wheels. This also allows the gardener to chase the sun.

To calculate how many plants per square, refer to the plant spacing on the back of the seed packet.

12 inches apart, plant 1 per sq.

6 inches apart, plant 4 per sq.

4 inches apart, plant 9 per sq.

3 inches (or less) apart, plant 16 per sq.


Water in the morning to get evaporation and warmth

Water close to the ground and pull weeds while you’re down there (suggestion, use a snake hose)

Succession planting (leaving one square blank) works well for lettuce and carrots

Corn likes to grow up next to friends, be sure they have stalks to lean on

Plant one square of Marigolds to keep out rabbits, and make iced tea with the leaves

Options for marking dividers: string, twine, slats of wood, pebbles, pennies

Prepare a planting template using a power drill and drill-hole set; these make proper spacing within the grid

Make templates from foam sheets, brown paper bags or sturdy cardboard


Basic bed mixture:

1 part Peat Moss

1 part compost (commercial bags or shredded wood manures – cow, horse rabbit)

1 part Vermiculite (or Perlite)


Recipes Start in the Garden

Salsa Garden



Onions (Spanish or Yellow)


For a little heat, plants some peppers

60-day Root Soup for Kids

Look for fast maturing, early varieties.

Leeks (best planted from transplants)

Onions (best planted from transplants)




Boil all the roots until tender and add chopped herbs for extra flavor.


For additional information, refer to The Square Foot Gardening Method by Mel Bartholomew.

A delectable evening at Burchfield-Penney Art Center

In Uncategorized on April 20, 2012 at 5:29 pm

edible Buffalo intern Katie Padowski mans the table.


Burchfield-Penney Art Center at Buffalo State College was home to a variety of treats for the senses last Friday evening. Part of the M&T Bank Second Friday series, a “live exhibition of food culture” was held conjunction with the gallery exhibition Edible Complex. Nearly twenty farms, vineyards and nonprofits attended to educate, sample and sell products.

Participants included First Light Farm and Creamery, White Cow Dairy, Arrowhead Spring Vineyards, Blackman Homestead Farm, edible Buffalo, Farmers and Artisans, Field & Fork Network, Garden of Stewardship, Go Veggies, Hill-n-Hollow, Lexington Cooperative, Massachusetts Avenue Project, Nickel City Chef, Oles Family Farm, Pelion Community Garden at City Honors School, Singer Farm Naturals, Singer Farms, Stand Fast Farm, Western New York Book Arts Center, and Winery at Marjim Manor.

After visiting with local businesses and chowing down on delicious samples, guests took in the Edible Complex exhibition, which, according to the Burchfield-Penney’s website, urged visitors to “examine our desire to consume and its simultaneous consequences on the family unit and the culture at large.” Also offered was a screening of Locally Grown: The Lexington Co-Op Story, as well as several lectures and discussions from participating businesses. The night was capped off by the final performance of the season for A Musical Feast, who performed a variety of classical and modern tunes.

Everyone from Edible Buffalo had a great time at the event meeting members of the community and talking about the magazine. If we saw you there, we hope you enjoyed the “Eat Drink Think Local” bumper stickers and pins!

Hogs & Cherries

In Uncategorized on April 17, 2012 at 4:13 pm

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by Lisa Tucker

Spring is proving itself once again as being a challenge for our local growers. Two weeks of unseasonably warm temperatures followed by a cold snap, have put tree fruit and grape vines in serious jeopardy. Apricots, the first of the tree fruit to blossom and some say the most vulnerable, were immediately affected. Singer Farms has lost about 50% of their apricot crop. I’ve heard from some of the grape growers that the first buds and blossoms have endured damage, which will adversely affect future harvest. You will recall last year’s spring season was hampered by inordinate amounts of rain that prevented growers from getting seeds in the ground at the right time which ultimately shrunk yields and prevented certain crops altogether.

As we demand more and more to know where our food comes from and how it is grown, we gain a greater appreciation for the challenges our local farmers face with regard to weather and forces outside of their control. As we connect our eating habits with eating ‘in season’, we value getting that sweet, fresh strawberry that much more because we know what it takes to grow the delicious coveted fruit.

It is important, especially in these early days of spring, to pay attention to mother nature because she largely determines the course for farmers for the rest of the year. Cherries, another highly coveted locally grown fruit, are also at risk as the topsy-turvy weather plays its tricks. In speaking with Tom Szulist at Singer Farm Naturals, I learned that temperatures are able to drop as low as 27 degrees before the cherry buds will be damaged. They are anticipating cherries to blossom about a month early this year (some time in mid to late April), which will make them even more vulnerable to extreme changes in weather as fruit develops. So far so good.

Last year, Field & Fork Network (an organization I co-founded back in 2008), started putting on Seasonal Suppers, authentic farm-to-table dinners to marry the extraordinary foods being grown here with the exceptional culinary talents of some of our region’s best local chefs. The objective was to educate our guests on the diversity of our local agriculture and to gain a greater appreciation for what we have available here in our own backyard. By coming to the farms, meeting the growers, and tasting the food, guests were getting the complete food experience, from farm to plate.

With the success of last year’s Seasonal Suppers, Field & Fork Network just announced 3 dinners for the 2012 harvest season. The first will be a Hogs & Cherries cookout at Singer Farm Naturals during cherry u-pick season. This family-oriented event will be a pig roast featuring some of the specialty crops of Singer Farm Naturals including cherries and garlic! This is a non-ticketed event and guests will be served on a first-come-first-serve basis. We hope you will join us as we celebrate the cherry harvest. The tentative date for the cookout is July 7, 2012. This date is subject to change due to Mother Nature’s unknown path this spring. We encourage folks to check our website, for the most up-to-date information. And we look forward to seeing you during the harvest season!

Lisa Tucker is the publisher of Edible Buffalo magazine and the co-founder of Field & Fork Network.

Delectable Dance at Buffalo State College

In Uncategorized on April 13, 2012 at 12:00 am

The Buffalo State Dance Program’s annual dance performance “Alternative Dimensions: A Multi-Sensory Experience” will entice all of the senses. At 8 PM April 18–21 and 2 PM April 21, at Warren Enters Theater, Upton Hall, student dancers will take the stage and engage the audience with original choreographed pieces based on the feeling and emotions from cityscapes and art pieces reflective of such scenes. The second half of the concert will be a traditional stage experience.

Prior to this interactive performance, a preshow “Docents and Delicacies – a preshow for the senses” will be at 7 PM in Bulger Communication Building. It will be a unique pre-concert event that includes a docent led introduction to the art that inspired the dances and a food and wine pairing, specially selected and prepared by Buffalo State College’s catering arts class, to reflect each of the choreographers work.

Space is limited for this three-tier event that will be unlike anything the Buffalo State College Dance Program has ever done. For ticket information, call 716-878-3005 or visit

Michelle Blackley

The Whole Hog, and more

In Uncategorized on April 10, 2012 at 4:32 pm

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By Michelle Blackley

Chef Kathleen Haggerty is the owner and proprietor of The Whole Hog, one of Buffalo, NY’s first food trucks, and she’s rolling into the hearts and mouths of Western New Yorkers.

The Whole Hog is all about supporting local farms, and is committed to running a business from farm to table. Haggerty uses meat from a heritage farm where the animals are raised humanely and humanely slaughtered. Haggerty also purchases seasonal greens, vegetables and fruits.

She just got a new hog from Boston Hills, NY and is excited to prepare it in one of her unique recipes, for example, a MANwich Barbeque Pork Sandwich or Thick-Cut Bacon Lettuce & Tomato Sandwich (both on locally baked bread); matched with a side of Fresh Potato & Parsley Salad served on a bed of Watercress and Sautéed Kale, a homegrown lunch is made. Patrons catching The Whole Hog late night just may get something off the menu. Homemade macaroni and cheese, with bacon and diced garden fresh tomatoes, dished out from the windows of The Whole Hog parked on Allen St., is a real treat.

Haggerty is proud of her mission and uses The Whole Hog as a model for inner city kids who want to be chefs, entrepreneurs and business owners.

Find The Whole Hog in Fireman’s Park (Washington St., to Ellicott St., between North and South Division Streets).

Another food truck on the scene is The Roaming Buffalo. Preserving the culture of Western New York’s food community, it is promoting tourism and heritage. Their menu selection is mouth watering, with favorites such as the Dizzle Burger, with Portabella mushroom, bacon, Drunken Onions with a choice of cheese. Be sure to wash it down with Western New York’s own Crystal Beach Loganberry.


Read more about Western New York’s food trucks in the spring issue of Edible Buffalo.

Flying Bison Aviator Red BBQ Sauce

2 qt ketchup
2 bottles Flying Bison Aviator Red beer
1 pt apple cider vinegar
1 cup Worcestershire sauce
8 oz molasses
6 oz brown sugar
8 oz yellow mustard
4 tbsp garlic powder
2 tbsp dry mustard
1 onion, minced
2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp Cayenne pepper
4 tbsp Franks Red Hot Sauce

Sauté the onion in a small amount of olive oil, until it’s caramelized. Deglaze the pan with beer and let reduce by a half. Add molasses and let simmer for 3 minutes. Add all of the remaining ingredients and let simmer uncovered until it reduces by half.

Yields 2 quarts

Courtesy of The Roaming Buffalo


Wine Pairing

2009 Zinfandel

Spring Lake Winery

Rich with black cherry tones and a smooth delightful fruity finish, this Niagara Wine Trail Zinfandel bodes well with BBQ.

Michelle Blackley is the editor of Edible Buffalo.

A Recipe for the Weekend: Risotto with Asparagus

In Uncategorized on April 7, 2012 at 11:02 am



1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 large shallot, chopped fine
1 1/2 cup arborio rice
1 cup white wine (one you would actually drink!)
6 – 8 cups vegetable or chicken broth (preferably homemade)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 tbsp butter
2 cups fresh asparagus (slightly cooked and sliced diagonally into 1″ pieces)


For broth and asparagus –

Heat broth is a sauce pan until hot but not boiling. Once the broth is hot, place asparagus in a sieve that can span the width of the sauce pan so that asparagus can cook in the broth while you’re stirring the rice in another pan (see photo below). Remove asparagus once it is tender but still al dente. Set aside until you add it to rice later on.

For risotto –

Pour olive oil into a large, shallow, heavy-bottomed pan and heat. Add shallots and saute until soft. Add arborio rice and stir constantly until all the grains are well coated with oil (approx. 1 minute). Using a ladle, pour broth into pan that contains rice, olive oil and shallots in batches and stir until all liquid is absorbed.  Continue adding broth and stirring until rice is tender but still al dente (approx. 30 – 40 minutes). Once rice is tender, turn off heat and add risotto, parmesan and butter. Stir together until cheese melts and is fully incorporated into rice. Serve immediately.

Serves 4.

Recipe from Tracey Ryder at the edibleStoriesBlog.

And So We Sow: Planting Outside in Cold Weather

In Uncategorized on April 6, 2012 at 6:00 pm

Illustration by artist Alix Martin

By Amy Ludwig VanDerwater

 I waited for Hope, Georgia, and Henry to arrive home from school. Today was the day! Only February, but it was time to plant. Our Pontiac was filled with bags of soil and peat, and we’d been saving milk and juice jugs for weeks. There was a bit of snow on the ground, and Henry had just started tapping our sugar maple. Spring was almost here, and we were about to welcome it with an industrious hug.

Looking through the window at our porch, Christmas lights still twisted through grapevine, I thought about this unusual preparedness. Usually you can find me in June, worriedly hurrying through the East Aurora Farmers Market, hoping to scrounge up a few pepper and cucumber plants for our humble garden. Not this year. Thanks to Kristen Przybyla, who offered to teach our 4-H club about winter sowing, Heart Rock Farm is growing its own hardy little plants. This year, we’re a season ahead. And we can keep winter sowing through April, as long as the nights are chilly enough to keep us wearing wool.

“Have some popcorn, and then let’s get out there!”  I said, thumping a spaghetti pot full of popcorn on the table. The children started to eat as I brought out the clear jugs, lots of clear jugs. Hope, Georgia, and Henry crunched their snack as I cut each plastic container into a clamshell. The jugs looked, as Georgia said, “like mouths.”  Soon we had a table full of eyeless plastic puppets.

Working as an assembly line for a bit and then on the same jobs together, we punched holes in jugs, chose seeds, mixed peat and soil, and scooped dirt with mugs used for coffee and tea the day before. An article I read recommended sowing several containers each week–spreading out the joy of working in dirt. We each chose a seed to sow for this first day.

I chose basil, thinking back to every summer’s bounty of fat green plants. For no matter how remiss I am in garden planning, we always have basil.  We always have pesto.  Sprinkling seeds atop soil, I remembered 2005 when I taught 7-year-old Hope to use the food processor. We still refer to that year as “The Bloody Pesto Year”.

Hope chose parsley, something she’ll safely snip all season long. We’ll put it in soups, cut little bouquets for visitors.  Parsley is the everything-herb, and now we will be prepared for everything.

Georgia chose lavender, and as she planted, I thought about buying more lavender seeds: lavender for sachets and lavender to place in small vases, lavender to make our yard violet and lavender to tuck into favorite poetry books. Note to self: drink more orange juice and milk. We need containers!

Henry chose cilantro, perhaps dreaming of salsa and guacamole. And in our few extra containers, he planted hollyhocks, a favorite around here for its height and for the sweet hollyhock dolls we like to make.

As our hands grew colder and colder, we helped each other twist wire through the holes, closing each container, marking two mystery jugs with question marks. Looking at Georgia’s pink cheeks, I thought about these freezing temperatures, about the pinpricks of life we were about to leave in snow, as we kept warm by wood fire. But I knew that what I read was true.  Seeds that grow outside are hardier because they grow through harsh conditions.

I explained this to my children, “These seeds will grow well in the same way that people grow best. They will be strong because life will not come easy to them. They will be tested.”  In my heart, I recommitted to not make life too easy for Hope, Georgia, and Henry. I vowed to allow that bit of cold, bit of difficulty, to toughen them up for all weathers of life.

In the weeks to come, we will plant more seeds. Tomatoes will be last, because we always have tomatoes. Mark’s dad is an organized planter, a man with a basement and lights and wonderful varieties of tomato that he generously shares with us each year. We can count on tomatoes. Perhaps this year we will share with him: small eggplants or sunflowers, Brussels sprouts or petunias.

Once the seeds were tucked safely into their dirt beds, we nestled each jug into fading snow.  Our two dogs bounded around the tiny greenhouses, roughhousing in the brightness of almost-spring-sunshine, making us laugh.  As Sage and Cali tumbled into each other, I thought about growing: growing seeds, growing puppies, growing children, and growing me.

Will all of our seeds grow?  Probably not, we are new at this. But we will water, and we will move jugs around, caring for the basil and lavender and pumpkins as if they were little pets.  We will feed these seeds now.  And these seeds will feed us in the months to come.

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Slideshow photos provided by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater.

For More Information About Winter Sowing:

Amy Ludwig VanDerwater is a writer and writing teacher living at Heart Rock Farm in Holland, NY. Her first children’s poetry book, Forest Has a Song, will be published by Clarion (2013) and her second book, Reading Time, will be published by WordSong.  You can read more of Amy’s work at her blog,