June 19, 2013
Elderflowers are blooming again and we’re making the ephemeral cordial that lasts only as long as the flowering bushes. It’s also strawberry picking time, which make the perfect accompaniment for the cordial.
June 3, 2013
New starts of rainbow chard and cukes. The greenhouse was a first this year and lacks proper ventilation for delicate vegetables but will be good to tomatoes.
May 1, 2013
There are lots of ferns that have a fiddlehead. It’s the Ostrich Fern that you want to looks for right now. They are one of our areas largest ferns and there is a simple way to distinguish this delicious edible from those that are not.
Ostrich ferns grown in moist wooded areas and along road sides, so driving the back country roads to a great way to look for them. In the New York area the most common look-alike is the Cinnamon fern which, while in it’s fiddlehead stage is covered to a white, gauzy fur – not something you want to eat. The Ostrich fiddlehead on the other hand is startling green and has a distinct groove down it’s stalk – much like a celery stalk.
(Cinnamon Fern) (Ostrich Fern)
May 3 2013
Common blue and white violets are flowering for the next few weeks. Look for them along the grassy edges stream beds and lawns. They’re pretty and fun to eat.
May 1, 2013
The new shoots that are found where ever cattails grow (ensure they grow in a clean water area) can be colleted this time of the year. Like leeks, use only the lower, tender white parts, as garnish and for a nice spring crunch.
April 22, 2013
We are sustainably harvesting ramps this years from 3 different large colonies around the Hudson Valley. Last week was our first trip into the woods looking for them. Very exciting to come across large groupings as these.We harvest only the stem and leaves, leaving the bulbs intact and undisturbed.
April 8, 2013
This year we we built a quick green house 10 x 40 feet from locust posts that we had (a great wood to use as they are rot resistant). We covered the structure with single layer 6mil plastic. The temp is easily 15 degrees warmer inside on sunny days.
The idea was to get a jump on greens but also to have a more reliable place to start tomatoes. It didn’t take long to fill it up. Currently we have spinach, winter lettuce, arugula, radish, shell peas and several varieties of tomato
We also have coming up of garlic, which we planted last autumn and insulated with leaves.
What is there is forage in the wild in March in the Hudson Valley – not much to me honest. The first trout lily shoots and nettles are still hidden in the cold earth. There is still snow on the ground in many places. Fiddle heads and ramps are still a month away but there are still some exciting things happening. We’ve tapped a few sugar maples – the sap is running. We’re also collecting black birch sap and twigs – the sweet wintergreen flavor will be used at the bar for spring cocktails.
We’re getting our garden in order. Our garlic that we planted last fall is coming up in our cold frames and our greenhouse is almost ready for radish, cress and microgreens……….more to come
When the sunchoke aka jerusalum artichoke, flowers are in bloom on their high stalks in late summer I always take notice because in the fall the dried stalks may be gone and so the only way to find the sunchokes is by memory.
In this case the stalks were still standing. A few shallow digs with a pitchfork in the cool (but not frozen) earth and the sunchokes reveal themselves like hidden treasures. The process is much like digging potatoes.
We also came across some burdock, which grow everywhere – be sure you dig the second year basal rosette, which often grown adjacent to the burdock stalk with all it’s burrs. You can identify the second year plant by it’s large, often wilted green leaves. These plants have the best roots because they have not converted the stored sugar and energy into sending up a stalk, so much better to eat.
It’s been about 6 six months since we got our Araucana chicks, and they are just beginning to lay their cool blue-hued eggs!