Monthly Archives: September 2020

Daily Catskills: 09/19/20

A morning full of dew with frost receding into the shadows after the overnight low plunges to 32F. A day of full sun with a blue lightbox sky and a lazy breeze. A high of 59F but still warm in the sun. The red leaves become a bit more prominent against all the green, but no fall explosion yet.

© J.N. Urbanski 5.20pm – Usage prohibited without consent

Picnic Dinners at East Branch Farm, Roxbury, NY

© J.N. Urbanski – Usage prohibited without consent

Picnic dinners on East Branch Farm continue until October 11th, 2020 on Friday and Sunday nights at 5.30pm ($25-30 per head). Friday is meat based; last Friday’s was Korean BBQ. Sundays are vegetarian. Go online to www.eastbranchfarms.com to reserve a picnic spot. Picnics take place on the farm on tables and chairs made from tree stumps nestled under the apple trees and around the edge of a huge field of six-feet-tall goldenrod you could get lost in. Bring your own picnic blankets for chilly autumn evenings. The farm sits in a wide valley with panoramic views of the Catskill Mountains on Route 30 in Roxbury, Upstate New York, but the spots are pretty private. You really don’t see anyone while you’re eating and with those magnificent views, you can watch the sunset while wrapped up in a blanket: perfect for romantic date night.

A previous version of this post contained the incorrect link to East Branch Farms. Apologies to subscribers who have the incorrect link in their original email.

A New Foraging Cookbook

Dina Falconi has written a color, hardback cookbook for foraged, wild food, beautifully illustrated by Wendy Hollender that makes a luscious, engaging read. Beginning this Fall, here at Upstate Dispatch you’ll see some of the recipes. For whatever ingredient is out of season, we’ll use a non-local ingredient to practice in the recipes in advance of foraging for the real thing next year. The author is based in Accord, NY, so this is a local book.

Fall might be a strange time to start, but we were somewhat distracted this Spring by Covid-19. We’ve all had a rough year and now we’re looking at a decidedly different winter in 2020. Cooking up a storm is a comforting way to make yourself feel better, warm up the house, feed family or friends, and also add some new recipes to your repertoire.

Foraging is a way to reduce your carbon footprint even further than avoiding red meat and air travel. By eating locally and seasonally, you’re saving the transportation costs of food that comes from far and wide, but learning the ropes of what grows in your local area takes study and dedication, especially if you’re mushroom hunting. Most mushrooms are not worth eating, or not worth the risk of poisoning, for example.

Dina’s book includes illustrated details of many local, wild edibles; plant habitat and growing conditions; seasonal harvest chart, and recipes for soups, desserts, condiments, beverages, dips, spreads, preserves and much more. This book is remarkable because of illustrations, and the way they are laid on on each page, that makes the information more easily remembered than any other foraging book. They are all color pencil sketches, and for each plant there are contrasting illustrations on the same page that simply makes it crystal clear to the reader. In some cases, there are cross sections of fruit that depict the seed inside. It’s just a noteworthy book for its clarity and ease of reference: a keeper. This copy’s going to get well-thumbed, dirty and handed down to the next generation.

There’s a page devoted to a “wild grilled cheese master recipe” using nettle and other raw greens and wildflowers. Because there are wild flowers still out there in these last days of summer, this recipe could be tried first, but we’ll see what’s at the farmers’ market tomorrow.

Catskills Air Network – New Catskills TV Station

© Jessica Vecchione – Usage prohibited without consent

Happy Birthday Upstate Dispatch! It’s been six years since the website begun and the birthday was spent filming the pilot of our local Catskills news broadcast. I’m one of the news anchors with Kent Garrett (pictured right), under my maiden name, Jenny Neal. The project is being developed for MTC Corporation, who are opening up their News Channel 10 for our weekly newscast; The MARK Project and apparently tireless producer Jessica Vecchione.

Kent Garrett and I were formerly colleagues at WIOX Radio and now we’re going to be colleagues on television.

Daily Catskills: 09/03/20

A dew-soaked morning full of mist, turning sunny for a brief while and then, in moved the clouds, light blue and creamy, like blueberry milkshake until they went all gray like dirty dishwater. Humid with a high of 75F. Dismally dull until late afternoon when the clouds dispersed into wisps until dusk.

© J.N. Urbanski 1.30pm – Usage prohibited without consent