Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Stay Healthy This Autumn!

We hope everyone will come down to Pathfinder Village this Thursday, October 19, to get in on the freshest, tastiest fruit and veggies around.  Pathfinder Produce is open from 1 to 5 p.m., and with such a friendly staff and well-stocked market, who could ask for anything more? 

This week, I apologize for taking a veggie blog break as I’m a little under the weather.  As I was all set to get my annual flu shot this week, of course Murphy’s Law would have it that I got a humdinger of a cold last week.  But we’re on the mend, with lots of fluids, bed rest, and TLC!

As we are moving into flu season, I really hope everyone avoids getting sick.  Here’s a brief write-up from the CDC on ways to keep you and your family flu-free during the weeks ahead.  If you’d like to revisit some of the topics that Maura, Martha and I have covered in our prior posts, please visit our veggie blog site at http://pathfinderproduce.blogspot.com.

Until next time, eat and be well!


Lori

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Pumpkin Picking!

We are sailing through autumn, and enjoying all the great flavors of the season.  We hope you can make it out to our next delicious Pathfinder Produce fresh fruits and veggie market at the Village Commons this Thursday, between 1 and 5 p.m.  We’ve got some great New York State grown produce, including our Pathfinder Hoop House items, that you may share with your family.

At this time of year, many folks visit our area apple orchards and pumpkin farms as fun outings.  These excursions build lots of great memories for the kids when they are older, and it’s a great way to enjoy time outside.  In her blog entry below, Maura Iorio, our Senior Director of Education at Pathfinder School, recalls a fun day her class spent on the farm.

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Last week, Mrs. Iorio's and Mrs. Moffitt's class went on a pumpkin picking adventure! Although it's always sad to say so long to summer, there's no denying the magic of fall. Colorful leaves, crisp and cool weather, and of course--pumpkins galore! 

The great thing about having Hoop Houses on campus, where we grow our very own organic produce, is that our students can practice important skills before heading out into the community. Our class harvested pumpkins from our Pathfinder pumpkin patch and delivered them to our Enrichment Department to be used as decorations around the Village! 

Once we got the hang of finding and picking the best pumpkins, we headed to Cullen Pumpkin Farm in nearby Richfield Springs. We hiked through the “U-Pick” fields to find pumpkins that were perfect for carving, painting, and pies! As a bonus we got to explore the corn maze and enjoy the interactive play area. It was the perfect autumn outing! 

Our class can't wait to work on fine motor skills while carving, engaging in sensory play while scooping out the gooey seeds, and trying some new and healthy pumpkin treats made from the pumpkins we picked! 

Happy October! 

Maura (and Lori)

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Hot Wires and Cool Storage

We hope everyone will join us this Thursday, October 5, at Pathfinder Produce for all the great fresh tastes of autumn. Although some of our available items may change because of the hurricane's impact on growing areas in the south, our market staff is dedicated to bringing a rich variety of produce items to our customers. Plus, with our Pathfinder Hoop House Harvest in full swing, there are many locally grown tastes to try … and it doesn't get any fresher!

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Last weekend, the power went out at our house as a vehicle had hit an electrical pole. Our ever-vigilant local crews -- emergency and electrical – came to the scene to handle the downed wires, and power was restored quickly. But for the few hours we were out, it made us think about what life was like before electricity was available at every rural home.

In some areas of New York State, some areas are served by municipal power, and many villages had their own hydro-power stations in the early 1900s.  It took outlying areas longer to get power, and under FDR's 1930s rural electrification programs, these areas were served through the establishment of electrical cooperatives – membership-based organizations that are still active today.  In New York, there are four cooperatives – Otsego, Oneida-Madison, Delaware, and Steuben.  To learn more about municipal power and cooperatives, visit the New York Association of Public Power website

I remember my grandparents’ stories about living in days before electricity at their Sullivan County farm. They would use kerosene lamps at night, and would preserve food by canning or using a root cellar for storage. I think it was a high cause for celebration when my grandmother got her first chest freezer in the 1950s, as it meant an easier time of preserving the vegetables and meat they raised at their “Happy Angus Farm.”  (You can learn more about Clarence Birdseye and the advent of frozen food at the Living History Farm website).

Anyhow, I digress – back to root cellars.  Typically, it was at this time of year that root cellars would be thoroughly cleaned, white-washed, and then packed full of just-harvested root vegetables that were raised by rural families to last through the year.  Dusty Old Thing shares some great pictures and root cellar facts, and indicates how essential they were even up through WWII.

Most homes these days don't have root cellars, of course, but there are people who still store root crops using this traditional method.  This write-up from Morningchores.com shares a number of ways to develop cool, dry storage for your garden produce. Some are built into an existing cellar and use modern insulation; others are dug into hillsides or rely on tires and earth bags to create earth mounds.  Root cellars rely on the premise that below the frost line, ground temperatures remain relatively constant at 45 or 50-degrees F.  (Refrigerators are just slightly cooler than that, at about 35 F).

Until next time, enjoy the freshness of the harvest, and be well!


Lori

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Weathering the Storms

Hello, everyone.  We hope you are enjoying this wonderful weather and that everyone will join us for the freshest flavors at our weekly Pathfinder Produce market at the Village Commons this Thursday, from 1 to 5 p.m.  Our fresh fruit and veggie offerings include lots of New York state grown items … YUM!

Below, my colleague Martha Spiegel provides an update on what to expect for produce availability in the weeks ahead. 

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As the growing season in the north comes to a close, we depend more on our neighbors to the south for our fresh produce. As we have seen in the news over the past weeks, the hurricane season has hit that region harshly, especially Florida and southern Georgia, and this will have an effect on the prices and selection at Pathfinder Produce. Our market partners have sent us updates on what to expect going forward.

Some of the effects of the storms on crop production remain to be seen. Many mature crops in Georgia have survived, but the yield could be less than normal. The next month or so will be unpredictable. In the longer term, there are likely to be shortages, and thus higher prices, on crops that are typically started in plant houses and then transplanted in the fields, since many of these growing structures were damaged or destroyed.

At Pathfinder Produce, we do our best to bring you the best selection at the best prices. We ask your patience over the next several months as some items may see price increases, and some items may not be available in the usual quantities. Please consult our price lists every week for the most current information in order to plan your purchase.

The good news is that our Hoop Houses are still producing wonderful veggies that come to you fresh-picked! These items include eggplant, garlic, green beans, lettuce, sweet peppers, Swiss chard, and several varieties of tomatoes and herbs. Be sure to check these out—they are displayed with a “PV Grown” sign in the market. We are so grateful to the John Ben Snow Memorial Trust, the American Heart Association-Greater Utica Division, and the Otis Thompson Foundation, as their generous grants enabled Pathfinder Village to open two new hoop houses in the last year and increase our home-grown selection at Pathfinder Produce.

Until next time, eat well and be well,

Martha (and Lori)


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

How Do You Like Those Apples?

Hello and I hope your busy fall season is going well!  Lately I feel like I’ve
 been living on the road, with numerous trips to soccer practices, tournaments and other goings-on.  That’s why I love Pathfinder Produce … it’s convenient, well-stocked, and the prices are great.  Plus, right now the Pathfinder Hoop House grown produce is at its peak, offering even better values and tremendous tastes.


We hope you’ll come down this week to see what’s “in store” at our friendly Pathfinder Produce market.  We’re open each week at the Village Commons, Edmeston on Thursdays from 1 to 5 p.m.  Check it out!

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As I was driving along Route 8 last week, I noticed that there are lots of wild apple trees heavily laden with fruit.  I also saw one of my neighbors gathering the drops, which got me to thinking about apples.  Once you get thinking about apples you have to buy some, and so I did -- New York grown Cortlands.  Some nights after getting home late, and we’re just raiding the fridge for dinner, it’s nice to enjoy a crisp, sweet apple with our quick meals.

I’ve noticed there are several wild apple trees that are also bearing fruit just down the road and across the way from our house (not far from the eagle’s nesting spot).  I think because we had a fairly wet spring in our region without any late freezes, our apple crops are doing well. According to our friends at the New York Apple Association, they expect a 2017 harvest of 28.0 million cartons – or 1.1 billion pounds – of commercially grown apples over the coming weeks.

“New York state grows more apples than any other state east of the Mississippi River, our state is made for growing apples,” said NYAA President Cynthia Haskins. “There is no reason for New Yorkers and other East Coast buyers to look any further than their own back yard for great tasting apples and apple cider.”  She goes on to say that with our climate, New York has helped develop classic varieties, like the McIntosh, Empire and Cortland.  Apparently they’re still creating new types at Cornell University, including the recently introduced Ruby Frost and Snap Dragon.

New York’s output is slightly up from 2016, while other states have been affected by climate according to the USDA production will be down by 27% for the Northern Central States, which had a cold snap in May. Predictions from Washington vary, but are pegged as being down slightly according to growing industry sources. It’s hard to say how the ongoing wild fires out west will affect next year’s crop.

Most commercial apples are hybrids, created through careful grafting and tree-care.  If you have time and want to use wild apples, there are plenty of web sources on how to select, wash, sort, and go through wild fruit.  Home to many historic orchards, the Hudson Valley, is even experiencing a new awareness of how wild apples may be used to create ciders that are similar to historic varieties. Many of our forbearers used the wild fruits to make cider and apple butter (mmmmmmm, apple butter), which would keep through the winter months and add variety in their diets. Henry David Thoreau was a fan of wild apples and wrote an essay on them in November 1862.

Although I know I don’t have time to collect or use the wild apples near me, I ventured to see if they are palatable.  Carefully peeling back the skin, and cutting the apple in half to make sure it hadn’t been invaded by worms (yuck), I took a taste.  The small green apple was very similar to a Granny Smith … tart, firm, and they would probably work great for applesauce, cider, or other recipes.

Until next time, eat well, be well, and enjoy the fall!

Lori


Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Play with your Food!

September is in full swing, with lots of activities happening at Pathfinder Village, our local schools, and within our home communities.  With all the hustle and bustle at this time of the year, it’s important to eat fresh, nutritious fruits and veggies to keep you and your family members healthy.  That’s where Pathfinder Produce can be of help!

We hope you will stop by this Thursday afternoon at the Pathfinder Village Commons, from 1 to 5 p.m. to check out the great variety of produce at our weekly market.  Competitively priced, tasty, and served up by a great staff … what’s not to love about our community market!

Below, Pathfinder School’s Director of Education Maura Iorio explores the educational aspects of food for youngsters.  Enjoy!

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Who says you can't play with your food?

Fruits and vegetables are essential to a healthy diet, but they can help young developing minds in other ways, too! Below, we have put together a list of fruit and veggie packed activities that can help children build fine and gross motor skills. Plus, when children are able to interact with fruits and veggies, and be a part of the preparation process, they are more likely to turn to and try these nutrient-dense foods. It's a win-win! 

·      Corn Shucking! 

Sneaking in one last BBQ before fall settles in? Have the kiddos help out by shucking ears of corn! This simple activity builds hand strength and helps to develop fine motor skills.  (Plus, it’s a great way for older kids to discuss seed growth).


·      Sensory Bins!

Sensory bins are one of our absolute essential items in the classroom. They are great ways to help children interact with different textures, utilize hand-eye coordination, build fine motor skills, and learn self-calming techniques. Take a bin, or any similar container, and fill it with dried peas or beans. Hide various items in it for children to find, or give them spoons and measuring cups to explore with. 

This link for a Peas and Carrots Alphabet Bin from The Letters of Literacy is a great way to combine vegetables, sensory play, and academics! 


·      Get Your Science On! 

Grab a variety of fresh fruits and veggies and set up your very own science lab at home! Let your child explore how each fruit and vegetable feels, smells, looks (inside and out!), and tastes.  For older kids, do some research on different types of botanical facts, like how scientists differentiate between fruits and vegetables.


·      Apple Picking

Going apple picking is one of our favorite things to do in the fall. But did you know it's also a great vestibular and proprioceptive activity, too? In other words, kids get a wealth of sensory input, utilize lots of motor planning, and get to practice important skills like balance. Plus, there's all the delicious baked goods you can make with apples!

We hope you have fun testing out some of these activities! Good luck to all the kiddos who are settling into school routines this week.  J


Maura (and Lori) 

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Getting Ready and Extra Steps

Hello, everyone, and we hope that you are enjoying this last full week of summer before Labor Day. What better way is there to get the most of summer living than to stop by Pathfinder Produce for a selection of yummy fresh fruits and veggies?  Many of our Hoop House products are at their tastiest now, and everything is competitively priced.

We invite all our friends and neighbors to come to the market in Edmeston on Thursdays, from 1 to 5 p.m. We accept many forms of payment, and have some great savings through our frequent buyer program.

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Fall is upon us, as the turning leaves on the trees at Pathfinder's Kennedy Willis Center are reminding me.  These beautiful sugar maples are always the first to turn at the end of August; they post a signal for everyone to get ready for the winter to come.

This past Sunday at Graceland, we spent time doing just that.  We spent several hours getting firewood out of our woods, a process which is hampered by how the property sits along a steep slope, and has a swamp at the bottom of the hill. Afterward, all my muscles ached. It wasn’t a bad ache, like with the cold or flu, but one from doing physical labor.

Our process for firewood would be comical for experienced woodsmen, I'm sure, but it works. My husband cuts downed-but-sound trees into manageable chunks. It's my job to roll the cut logs down the slope to a staging area. My son, who swings a mean 8 lb. maul, splits the larger pieces so they dry more quickly. Then we put them into the cart, drive the load to our yard, and stack everything to air dry. Once we get more things cleared out to make a decent trail in the woods, we'll graduate to our full size tractor, which has a loader.

(Some may ask why we don't just drag out logs and cut them near the wood pile. We find that dragging gouges the hillside, and gets the logs really, really muddy. Dirty logs equal dull saws and lots of frustrating delays).

Of course rolling logs is not a predictable sport, so you often have to roll or throw the logs several times to get them to where they need to be. Needless to say, my lower back shoulders, and legs get quite the workout when we tackle firewood. (I'm thankful for our old clawfoot tub … a hot soak makes all the difference).

Just to see how things compared to my typical walking schedule, my fitness tracker (as of 11 p.m. that day) said that I had put in 11,925 steps, walked 4.9 miles, and burned 1,757 calories. During a typical day, one where I do a lot of computer work, I try to meet my daily goal of 6,500 steps, and have averaged about 6,744 daily steps over the past 30 days. (If you're interested in tracking what you do each day, there are low cost fitness trackers available, or you can even use a cell phone app to count your steps. Even my ancient iPhone 4 has one of these apps).

This reminds me of an article I read a few years ago about treating your daily household tasks as part of your fitness routine. And indeed, a quick search reveals any number of recent articles on how chores can be a great way to “feel the burn.” Weight Watchers says that tackling chores may have an added benefit because “you are more likely to stick with moderate-intensity as opposed to high-intensity activity over a lifetime.” Plus, at the end of your workout, you've actually accomplished something, which can be seen as a positive reinforcement.

Another strategy is to consciously make efforts to get more steps each day. Don't park your car as close as you can when you go to the store, take the stairs more at work, and be inefficient as you complete tasks about the house (make two trips upstairs to put away clean laundry instead of just one).  Other suggestions are available at the Prevention Magazine website. 

Until next time, keep moving and be well!

Lori