Senseless vandalism in the form of tree gouging has been taking place on several of our Catskills 35 bushwhacks in the past month shocking local hikers. Polite members of the Catskills hiking community are calling the hand-sized marks “blazing”, but they are not just your average grazing or marking of the bark with a pocket knife. They are distinct, deliberate, firmly removed chunks of tree that are a couple of tree-rings deep, accomplished expertly with a well-sharpened tool. On one bushwhack, hikers reported as many as 50 trees affected, so sadly, it looks like hikers doing the trail-less peaks have been marking their way by chopping at the trees like lumberjacks gone rogue.
The cluster of old A.H. Todd & Son barn buildngs between the school on Wagner and Bebert’s Cafe on Main Street in Fleischmanns were demolished last week. The picture above might be the last image of the buildings standing. Update on this to come.
Fleischmanns is having a Memorial Day street fair on Saturday, 10am to 4pm.
If you come to visit, don’t forget to pack up your trash and take it with you. Last year, the Blue Hole, Peekamoose’s swimming hole was strewn with rubbish. Days and weeks later, hikers were still bagging litter on their way home. Jeff Vincent highlights this problem in his piece in this week’s Watershed Post. As a mountain guide, he regularly carries out rubbish on his hikes. This year, the DEC has issued new rules for enjoying the area.
If you have any weekend links you would like to suggest, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
To your average British immigrant fish and chips is the ultimate comfort food and Arkville Bread Breakfast’s version last Saturday was perfectly fried and, although not specified, tasted like haddock that was steamed to perfection in a beer batter. It was a distant memory even at the time because it disappeared down my gullet quicker than you can say pudding. Accompanied by tartar sauce, delicious mushy peas and jacket wedges, it was so delicate it almost slipped through my greasy, quivering fingers. Quite possibly the best fish and chips in the Catskills.
If you like a proper British slap-up meal, this Saturday and Sunday May 21st and May 22nd, Arkville Bread Breakfast, home of the best fish and chips in the Catskills will be serving it up. On both Saturday and Sunday mornings, full English breakfast will be served. Plus on Saturday, a full British lunch too. ABB is open until 2pm Saturday and 1pm Sunday.
Full English Fry-Up
Bangers & Mash
Sides include Bubble & Squeak, Heinz Beans, Black & White Pudding
43285 State Rte 28 (on the other side of the tracks at the crossroad of Rte 38)
Arkville, NY 12406
We’ve waited all winter for a lot of things and Pizza Night at Lazy Crazy Acres Farm in Arkville is one of them. You can’t spit in the Catskills without hitting good pizza and Lazy Crazy Acres’ delicious pies are up there with the best, hand made right in front of you in their outdoor oven. Lazy Crazy Acres is a picturesque, rural homestead nestled in Rider Hollow by a roaring brook, with chickens, kittens, a barn, maple syrup for sale ($10 a pint), a kids’ play area, a rhubarb patch and hay rides up to their ridge above the farm that boasts stunning 360-degree views of the Catskill Mountains.
It’s no secret that increasing numbers of people here in the northeast are turning to farming in order to have more control of their food supply and their economy. The average age of the American farmer was quoted as being 54 years old, but that’s bound to lower significantly as young people return to the profession in droves. Not only is the Catskills being enriched by new farmers, but also by entrepreneurs, innovators, producers and artists, all contributing to the local economy in meaningful ways. New Yorkers are moving up from the city to have more space, breathe fresh air, eat better food and re-connect with nature. Laura Silverman and Juliette Hermant moved from New York City to the Catskills, in 2009 and 2012 respectively to do just that. The two met when Silverman “was poking around” in Hermant’s store in Narrowsburg. “I bought a large, 1920s brick building and breathed new life into it,” says Hermant, a painter and photographer. “I filled it with antiques and vintage pieces, 90% of which are local to the Catskills. I set about trying to engage with the community to work on revitalizing the area.”
If you let your rhubarb go to seed every year for two or three years without harvesting, it’ll become so strong and well established that you’ll end up with robo-barb: a fat, thigh-high bush with stalks as thick as broomsticks. It will be worth the wait to eat rhubarb from a three year old plant. I’ve tucked a little one-ounce shot glass from Amsterdam to help with the comparison here (pictured above). Pick stalks that are ten inches long at least. The shorter one here pictured above was taken by accident. Take only half the plant, as you need your rhubarb plant to go to seed before the winter. The best thing about rhubarb is that the animals hate it more than the asparagus, so it goes untouched year after year. Its season varies from April to June and although it’s considered a vegetable, it’s used like a fruit. It can go to seed as early as a month after the first harvest. Some brave souls eat the stalks raw. However, the leaves are poisonous, containing oxalate, so cut them off with at least an inch of the stalk and discard immediately.
If there’s anything quite as satisfying as foraging for your lunch, apart from growing your own food, I’d like to know what that is. Wild leeks, otherwise known as ramps, are having a good season here in the Catskills and many residents have them in abundance on their property this year. Don’t pick too many to ensure that your ramps continue to return every year. If you pick your whole crop they may not grow back. They require literally no maintenance, but you can enjoy them year after year if you take no more than a third of the crop. They smell like onions, have bright green leaves, red stems and you can eat the whole plant. A large ramp about 18 inches in length like the ones pictured below is enough for a two-egg scramble. This recipe calls for the ramps to be mixed in with the eggs.
Wild Leek & Scrambled EggsServes 4
10 small eggs
4 large wild leeks
1 large tablespoon of finely grated parmesan
1 tablespoon of butter
1 tablespoon of oil
Half a cup of milk
Salt & pepper to taste
Take the leeks, cut the leaves off and put the leaves to one side. Chop the stems finely. Heat a skillet with the oil in it and sautee the stems until soft.
Separately beat the eggs and milk in a bowl until thoroughly mixed and then, add the chopped leaves and parmesan and beat for a few more minutes until mixed. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Add the butter to the sauteed stems, allow it to melt and mix in with the soft stems. Add the egg mixture to the stems and cook lightly until scrambled.
Spring is here and we’re seeing a start to the greening of our mountains with the help of some much-needed rain that will cool off recent brush fires. Here are some weekend links as we mountaineers ramp up for spring, no pun intended.
Support your local bookstore: Catskill Made’s blog highlights their favorite Catskill local bookstores.
A pop-up library at the Catskill Center, where you can borrow books and give them back to any Delaware County library when they’re due.
Foragers like Marguerite have been busy in the last few weeks with ramps, fiddleheads and more. Another foraging walk here.
Life drawing classes and yoga at Willow Drey Farm in Andes on Thursdays 6 – 9pm throughout May. For more information call 917-859-5397.
Tomorrow, May 4th at 11am, join us at the Roxbury Arts Center for a talk arranged by The MARK Project on the $500,000,000 grant that Governor Cuomo has ear-marked for the Southern Tier of New York State.
Come celebrate the Catskills with us at Union Grove Distillery in Arkville at the opening party of the Daily Catskills Exhibition on Friday May 20th at 6pm.
If you’re only just joining us, Upstate Dispatch is a website started in September 2014 by J.N. Urbanski, focusing on the Catskills featuring interviews, memoir, photography and reviews of food, art, farming and the local economy.
Every day, for a period of 18 months, Upstate Dispatch published an image of the Catskills taken on that day. This exhibition will start at the distillery and continue throughout the Catskills at various locations over the summer. All prints are available for purchase, framed or unframed. For the last month, we’ve been editing, printing, packing, matting (and picking out a nice print for Larry who probably is wondering where his free 11 x 14 print is).
Union Grove Distillery is a local distillery and tasting room currently brewing their third batch of local vodka from wheat and apples named Vly Creek Vodka.