With spring finally in full swing here in the North Country, our food thoughts are turning, hopefully, to locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables.
Many of us are fortunate enough to have our own gardens, and despite the lingering winter weather this year, many of the early crops are already growing strong.
If you don’t have space for a garden or just don’t have the time or inclination to cultivate a green thumb, there are myriad other sources for local food.
By the time you are reading this article, the 2014 local food guides should be hot off the press.
Up here in the northeast corner of the state, Adirondack Harvest and the Cornell Cooperative Extension offices in Essex, Clinton and Franklin counties work together to produce two local food guides.
In Essex we have small, glossy 24-page guide that lists farmers markets, farm stands, community gardens, food pantries and stores and restaurants that are members of the Adirondack Harvest program. It’s a pretty slick publication and very portable for the traveler around Essex County.
For a broader coverage of the region, however, we also prepare a “Tri-County” guide to include Clinton and Franklin counties as well as Essex. This guide is larger and breaks the area up into color-coded regions. The farmers markets are listed as well as farm stands.
Speaking of farmers markets, we’ve completed our list of 2014 North Country markets. The tally topped out at 62 venues this year, which is much the same as the past few years.
The popularity is still very strong, but I think we’ve reached a critical market to farmer ratio.
Although many communities are still eager to have a market in their midst, the reality is we do not have enough farmers to support more markets. Plus, having markets in many neighboring towns tends to dilute the attendance. For a complete list of markets, check out adirondackharvest.com/farmersmarkets.html — find the markets you like and shop regularly when possible to support these hard-working folks.