Berries are ripe for picking!

From top clockwise are mulberries, black currants, raspberries and gooseberries.

U-Pick Raspberries at: 


 Indian Creek Farm

Who: Alan Leornard and Stephen Cummins
Where: 1408 Trumansburg Road (1/2 mile past hospital
Phone: 273-9544, 592-2801 and 227-6147 I


Silver Queen Farm
Who: Gordy & Liz Gallup
Where: 5286 Stillwell Road, Trumansburg
Phone: 387-6502


Grisamore Farms
Who: Mary Ann Grisamore
Where: Goose Street Road, Locke
Phone: 315-497-1347
Web site: www.grisamorefarms.com



The Ithaca Farmers Market is definitely the “happening place” on Saturday mornings. You can still buy wintered over vegetables like parsnips and leeks but the fresh veggies are also springing up . Asparagus and spinach and lettuce greens are abundant now, as are every kind of flower and herb
Some new and many of the old favorite prepared food vendors are making the choices even more difficult. One great way to maximize the enjoyment is to have a picnic.  With a wonderful selection of wine, bread, cheese and cold cuts , you can have yourself a feast.  THE PIGGERY, which was a sometime vendor last year now have their own stall at the North end of the long arm. They are the only meat purveyor that sells fresh meat. The various cuts of pork are displayed much as you would see it in a European charcuterie. Charcuterie is the French word for both a pork butcher and the products of his labor. A charcutier takes pork and makes sausages, hams, confit, pates, terrines, etc, all of which comprise charcuterie. Charcuterie is the prototypical convenience food. A jar of pate and a baguette is lunch.
For this husband and wife team, Peggy Sanford and Brad Marshall, the Piggery is a labor of love. Brad says his work is the charcuterie business and in his hobby is taking care of his pigs. In other words he works all the time. 
Often they have little samples and I’ve tried several. The smoked sausage ("smoked grillers") are really wonderful as is the liver pate and the sliced ham. I’m hoping to see some more pates varieties made with nuts, prunes and liquors and with a little more assertive spicing.
The Piggery takes good care of their pigs. These are pasture raised heritage breeds who also get fed locally grown organic grain. Peggy and Brad are committed to sustainability and prepare their products in a specially designed off grid kitchen. 
SO….to take the European feasting one step further….buy some charcuterie from the Piggery, some cheese from one of the other vendors and a crispy baguette, and a bottle of wine and what more could you want?
FAT BOYis one of my favorites among several top notch European style bakers. Their plain and semolina baguettes are what you’d expect to find in Paris. They sell out of these treasures quickly. They also have many other varieties of bread including epi, pain rustique, mixed grain, rye  whole barley, sourdough, wheat walnut and Bavarian farm bread.   All are beautiful to behold and worthy to serve at the finest meal. Their pastries, cookies and scones are hard to pass up so my advise is to make your way through a sample of every delicacy they prepare.
And to round out your picnic, stop by NORTHLAND SHEEP DAIRY where Maryrose  Livingston makes European quality cheese. She and her partner Donn Hewes are a team; he working the farm with his team of draft horses and mules and she holding the job of  shepherd and cheesemaker. They sell several cheese varieties and always have samples to taste. I like them all and am very excited to try the Torta de la Serena which Maryrose will begin making soon. Maryrose spent part of her winter interning in Western Spain in the region called Extramadura with one of the few cheese makers left making this cheese with his own herd of grass fed sheep. If all goes well we should be sampling a young cheese in August. This is my all time favorite Spanish cheese.
The Ithaca Farmers Market is open Saturdays 9-3 and Sundays 10-3 
Check out last year’s post for some of other great food vendor tips:  ITHACA FARMERS MARKET POST MAY 08




I have been making this soup for years. And everyone loves this soup.You don’t need to worry too much about exact quantities here. Just use the root vegetables you have around. Full Plate CSA has been supplying us with great amounts of parsnips, turnips, rutabagas and carrots. I also love celeriac in this soup, and butternut squash. 
2 Tbs. butter
1-2 Tbs. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
½ pound of at least three of the following: parsnips, carrots, rutabaga, butternut and celeriac, or turnips peeled and cut into about a ¾   inch dice.
32 ounces of either chicken or vegetable
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ cup water
1-2 Tbs. corn starch
½ cup milk or ½ and ½ or cream
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup frozen green peas
  1. Fry onions in 1 tbs. melted butter in large saucepan until soft and just beginning to brown, remove and set aside.
  2. Add the rest of the butter and some olive oil and fry the vegetables one vegetable at a time over very high heat until fragrant and beginning to brown. 
  3. Combine  all the vegetables including the onions, add a bay leaf and salt and pepper to taste, and the broth and simmer, covered for 20-30 minutes or until the vegetables are soft, but not mushy.
  4. Just before the vegetables are cooked mix the cornstarch and water together and add 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring to the soup. Let it cook together and add only as much cornstarch as necessary to make a chowder consistency, stirring to avoid lumps. Simmer gently until the cornstarch taste is gone.
  5. Remove from heat and for best results refrigerate at least a day.
  6. Reheat, and when simmering add frozen peas. 
  7. When the peas are cooked, add the milk and remove the bay leaf.
  8. Taste for seasoning. This soup is good with lots of pepper.




     Mushroom heaven!  It was my good fortune to be escorted by my friend Carl to a forest bursting with an abundance of fungi.  Carl was able to identify each mushroom by its Latin name and sometimes its old Latin name and by its common name.  And we came back laden with treasures to savor later that evening.  Abby made his exquisite chanterelles risotto and I put together savory wild mushroom filo turnovers. Some excellent Chianti, and salad and what a feast we had.  That night I dried several pounds of Boletes and the house was perfumed by the wonderful musty odor of dry mushrooms. I loved it but other members of the family were not as appreciative.







     Carl had gathered many times this amount but we arranged these beautiful specimans to pose for this picture. 


     We ate samples of all these:  5 varieties of  Boletes (also known as Cèpes, Porcini or Steinpilze), 2 varieties of Chanterelles, several variety of Russula (including the lobster mushroom) and an Amanita Rubescence; one of the few edible Amanitas and my first taste of any amanita.  Carl is has assured us that he has never made any “mistakes”.  I would certainly not recommend that anyone eat wild mushrooms without the accompanying wisdom of a knowledgeable guide.  Sadly this past July a 61 year old woman died after picking some Amanita Bisporigera, also known as "Destroying Angels".  By the time she got to a hospital her liver had already been destroyed. 


     Wegmans does carry many varieties of wild mushrooms if you want to have your own feast without taking any risks.  The other day I found some excellent morels there.  Or you can buy many varieties dried.  Morels are actually better dried and then reconstituted.  And if you want to buy mushroom powder which, is usually made from Boletes, you can find this product at Regional Access.  Mushroom powder is a great addition to rich soups and stews.









Well the time has come for us all to be managing “crop abundance”. I don’t want to call it “overabundance” or any other term with negative connotation. We need to be happy, delighted, thankful for this time of abundance! My friend Beth was being extremely generous with her bounty of zucchini. I happily obliged her generosity and made some of my favorite zucchini dishes tonight. 

  Continue Reading…





White and black mulberries, red currants and wild black raspberries

A wonderful bounty of fruits are ripening around the Fingerlakes.  Strawberries are winding down and only a few farms have open picking:  Indian Creek in Ithaca and Grisamore Farms in Locke.  Cherries  are ripe now and several farms are already picked out.  It wasn’t a great year for cherries and some orchards lost their crops.  Grisamore and Littletree Orchards in Newfield have cherries and I’m not sure if anyone else has them anymoreGrisamore and Indian Creek also have U-Pick raspberries. And Littletree has cultivated their black raspberries which are great picking right now. On our land we have ripe red currants, black and white mulberries and wild black raspberries (black caps).  Jam making is in full gear.




Waid’s Honey and Candles


The Ithaca Farmers Market is in full swing! It’s a true feast for all the senses: beautiful kaleidoscopes of tulips and lilacs, wonderful sounds of laughter and music and exotic smells from all the world’s best street food. The competing aromas beckon you to their stalls, and you are left with grueling choices to make. The first vegetable crops are sold in wonderful displays: baby lettuce, spinach and other greens. Wineries and cheese makers, jam and honey vendors proudly display their wares and offer samples. And foods from Cuba, Tibet, Nepal, Greece, South America, Japan, India and China, Thailand and Laos are a representation of the feasting on hand for hungry customers. Everyone has their favorites and many vendors attract long lines of repeat customers. Over the years I have many favorites and I’ll touch on just a few here. Some of the newer offerings such as French crepes and Greek Gyros looked and smelled wonderful and are quickly attracting loyal followers. If I need to sustain my weekly craving for healthy gourmet food I’ll wait in line at Macro Mamas. There you don’t need to make a choice. They’ll sell you a platter with all their salads and hot items loaded together. Many people (and I am one of them) bring containers to bring home Macro Mamas for the rest of the week. It’s worth the visit just to feast your eyes on the huge bowls of salad and the mile high cakes and luscious desserts. My recommendation is to bring some friends and buy an assortment of goodies to be eaten in communal picnic style. That way you can sample a variety of cuisines.

 Here are some of the highlights to try:

Continue Reading…

Asparagus and Chives










Our first crops are ready to harvest!  Last night I made my first asparagus and chive meal of the season.  They compliment each other beautifully and so we had to choose between chive and asparagus omelet or pasta with chives and asparagus.  Both are simple to prepare and because I also had some mushrooms on hand I chose the pasta dish and threw in some mushrooms.  I checked what pasta we had on hand.  Fresh pasta is the best, but since we didn’t have any in the fridge, I used the campanelle instead.  I quickly cooked the freshly picked and cut up asparagus in some olive oil and butter:  frying them, and then adding some water to steam them for a few minutes.  I put the cooked asparagus aside to cook up the mushrooms.  (I’m hoping to make the same dish next week with morels but haven’t found any yet).  While the pasta cooked, I added the mushrooms and asparagus together in the frying pan with some cream and salt and pepper, cooked it up quickly and then added the cooked pasta.  Add the chopped chives, toss it all with loads of parmesan, asiago or romano cheese and you’ve got the first meal cooked with fresh spring crops.  I can’t wait for the beginning of June when Full Plate Farm Collective will start offering their CSA shares!!!