Fog hovering in the valleys at dawn. 70F by noon, humid and misty with a high of 72F. This week, we have some wild earth tones: a whole range of ochre, maroon, mahogany, brilliant orange and scarlet.
First the barrels had bourbon in them. Then they had Tree Juice maple syrup aging in them. As of 9am this morning, they contained Jenkins + Luekens apple juice, recommended locally as both tasty and well-produced, allegedly the best apple juice in the Catskills which is UV light-treated (cold-pasteurized). JL Orchards based in Gardiner, NY, have 200 acres of apples and other fruit like peaches and plums.
Now is a good time to experiment with cider making; apple season is winding down but there are still plenty of apples left. One 10-gallon barrel (pictured above) will be used to ferment the juice into hard cider that will spend its entire production life in the barrel. Perhaps we’ll go a little wild with this barrel, remove the bung and leave it to take on ambient yeast. The other barrel will be decanted into two five-gallon carboys with champagne yeast, fermented into hard cider and then returned to the bourbon barrel for aging.
This will be intensely flavorful Catskills juice. Watch this space.
A high of 65F, warm and humid. Leaves flying in the breeze.
Wightman Fruit Farms say that they’re closed on their Instagram account, but we found them open for picking yesterday from their small selection of heirloom apples and grapes. If they close this week, you can still pick apples from their cooler and put cash in the box. Wightman’s have an historic, 150-year-old tree called The King of Tomkins (pictured above) that is still full of fruit. The apples are larger than usual, crisp and juicy. They made a beautiful apple crisp.
Wightman’s charge $15 for a peck of apples, $25 for the honey crisp. If you’re still looking for outdoor dating ideas, you’re not going to get anything more romantic than disappearing amidst the rows of low-rising fruit trees, especially as the temperatures are still hovering around 60F until Saturday – the forecast calls for 70F on Thursday. Call ahead first to see if farms are open. Some farms in the Hudson Valley still operate if you pre-book an appointment, or their farm stands are open.
JL Orchards in New Paltz still had apples to pick this past weekend. Check their website for their apple picking update. Wright’s Farm in Gardiner were open last weekend and they are dog-friendly. Wright’s farm market is open year-round. Stone Ridge Orchard in Stone Ridge has a farmstead and a farm bar with pizza, cider, NYS beers and wine tastings. They have U-Pick apples now. Call them for availability.
How much more can we take of this gorgeousness? A seasonal gift to usher us through the last months of 2020. Another astonishing day with Autumn gold turning to copper with a thick carpet of fresh, brassy leaves in the forest. A high of 60F and breezy but humid, with a hazy sky.
A beautiful clear Autumn day: crisp, breezy and raining leaves. Copper, gold, sepia and umber tones shimmering in the sun. A high of 55F.
Enigmatic misty, rainy day, overcast, humid and moody. Warm despite a high of 55F. The incredible Fall of 2020 has not finished yet.
October 15th, 2020 was National Mushroom Day, but this passed by unnoticed around here because rest assured that every day here at Upstate Dispatch is mushroom day. The obsession is feverish around these parts for mushrooms of all kinds.
Mushrooms are one of the world’s most sustainably grown plant – they’ll even grow on coffee grounds – especially if they’re foraged. They’re part of nature’s fascinating underground network of information and nutrients passed between trees and other foliage called mycelium. Not only to do they give a superbly bold, earthy flavor to soups and sauces, but they’re also high in Vitamin D (unlike any other food) a notable mood-lifter in dark months. Mushrooms are a good flavorful substitute for meat and they’re high in soluble fiber. Other nutrients they provide are Vitamin C, B, potassium, copper and selenium. They’re also being used to make bio-degradable packaging and in cleaning up the environment. Here are some great resources, information and recipes on this astonishing organism.
A recipe for easy mushroom gravy.
The best book for the novice mushroom forager from Teresa Marrone and Walt Sturgeon, Mushrooms of the Northeast.
American-grown mushroom supplements and grow-your-own mushroom kits from Host Defense.
It’s raining today October 16th in the Catskills, so mushrooms should be popping up everywhere in the next 24 hours – this weekend should be a prime time for foraging.
Horseradish is a spicy root of the Brassicaceae family of vegetables (that includes mustard, wasabi, broccoli, cabbage, and radish), that looks rather like a white, gnarled parsnip. The roots run deeply into the ground and the edible leaves that are bigger than rhubarb leaves, but long and thin instead of round, can grow to four or five feet in height. It’s easy to take credit for a huge horseradish crop, but the reality is that you can never really be rid of it. Once you try digging it up out of the ground, you realize that it’s tentacle-like roots travel far and wide around your garden, so you have to stop digging at some point. Whatever root is left is sure to pop out of the earth and produce leaves the following year. If you like spicy food, it’s a really easy crop to grow because of the low maintenance, frost resistance and it’s prolific growth rate. Hot peppers are much fussier than this hardy root.
Horseradish is most commonly found in a sauce with vinegar, but vinegar plus horseradish seems a little excessive: do we really need to suffer that much? I don’t. You can make it a little gentler on the palette by grating it into a condiment like mayonnaise or ketchup, or soups, or finely grating it into a hollandaise to put over eggs for a spicy benedict. It also goes well in a creamy butter sauce for venison or steak.
Store unwashed horseradish root in the vegetable drawer of the fridge. Once washed and grated, it should be put into vinegar to preserve it, but it must be used within six weeks.
Horseradish root is high in fiber; said to improve digestion and metabolism and contains a variety of nutrients like calcium, potassium, folate and Vitamin C.
A perfect Fall day – still t-shirt weather. A high of 62F and warm in the sun. Breeze shaking the leaves out of the trees. Overcast with rolling, blue-gray clouds that cast a beautiful light over the mountains at dusk.
A dewy morning, humidity making it feel warm despite being only 45F at 9.30am. Hazy cloud and bright sunshine. A high of 60F. Leaves carpet the landscape.
A chilly morning, after an overnight low of 38F. A high of only 58F with billowing, plump clouds. A substantial amount of green remaining in the foliage despite the bare brushes becoming obvious. The range of Fall from start to finish is present in the landscape.
Fall turns crisp: a high of 57F and a distinct chill in the air despite the sunshine. Morning clouds dissipated slightly by the afternoon.
Overnight rain spills into the morning, then a slight break in the cloud cover with some sun and a high of 66F. Still humid, and bright despite thunderous looking clouds.
A high of 64F but still humid and warm in the frequent bursts of sun. Overcast with more swirling, grey-lined clouds and early morning fog. Soaked with overnight rain and a low of 52F. Schoharie County has more dazzling colors than its southern neighbors: vivid reds, plums, maroons and magentas join the oranges and yellow. A riot of color in the Catskills. A glorious Fall.
More cloud cover, mist on the peaks and a high of 71F. Humidity keeping us at t-shirt weather. Continual thick cloud cover hampers a chance at portraying the fall colors in all their glory. Early evening rain becomes more torrential overnight.