Fall is fast approching here at Catskill Maison Bed and Breakfast. I think this will be a great year for leaf peeping! We weren’t overloaded with rain like last year (no thanks to Hurricane Irene) but in August we’ve had a good balance of rain and sun and heat and so far this month we’ve had warm sunny days and cool nights! A perfect recipe for a great Catskills foliage season. People in the NYC tristate area are often mistaken and think that the best foliage is in the end of October and early November because that’s the best foliage time in the city, but in the Catskills we are a month ahead (or unfortunatly for us in the Spring we are a month behind)…therefore great foliage begins the last weekend of September and goes for about 4-5 weeks until just before the end of October. The last weekend of September through the first 3 weekends of October are a special time up here. We have the Autumn A Fair in Windham and festivals every weekend at Hunter Mountain and there’s apple picking and pumpkin picking and delicious cider and cider donuts. The farmers markets are in full harvest mode and the days are crisp and clear. This might be the best time of year up here!
Archive for the ‘Farmers Markets in the Catskills’ Category
September 13th, 2012 by moffett
October 3rd, 2011 by moffett
This past weekend we officially reopened our Bed and Breakfast Catskill Maison after a month of watching Windham rebuild from the aftermath of Hurricane Irene. I’m pleased to report that Windham is open for business, all restaurants (with the exception of Brie and Bordeaux) and most other businesses are open for business!!!! On the other hand the farms that we work so closely with in order to provide that local 3 course breakfast that our guests love didn’t fare well at all due to the storm. Bohringer Farm where we get the majority of our fruit has been damaged to the point where they will not be open for the rest of the year. RSK Farm in Prattsville where we get almost all of our vegetables including our incredible, melt in your mouth Carola potatoes has been very severely damaged. They are selling what they harvested before the storm at their farm-stand on weekends but have nothing to sustain themselves going forward. The product that comes out of RSK farms is extremely special. Please see my past blog posts that discuss their potatoes, corn, and farmstand quality heirloom tomatoes and greenbeans . Bob and Sandy, the owners are not only our purveyors they are our friends and their farm has sustained hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage! The farm is their livelihood, they cannot survive without it and we depend HEAVILY on what they grow on their farm. I know that there are people who are skeptical about donating to relief funds because due to the bureaucracy who knows if the farmers who need the money actually receive anything, however there is a fund set up to specifically help Bob and Sandy save and rebuild their farm. We at Catskill Maison B&B are asking our friends, customers, and neighbors to please donate a little something to help restore RSK farm. Please click onto this RSK FARM link to read about what has happened to RSK and to make a donation and please pass this information along to anyone who you know who wants to help in the relief effort for upstate New York for Hurricane Irene in a very personal way!
July 6th, 2011 by moffett
It’s finally that time of the year where the farmstands in the Catskills are up and running! No more schlepping to Whole Foods for produce from California and Chile, my strawberries are being picked by yours truly! This past week has been the last week of cherry picking. Cherry picking season is really special in the Catskill Mountains and Hudson Valley because the season is really short (about 2 weeks long). At Catskill Maison Bed and Breakfast we pride ourselves on picking our own fruit. Hector and I went to Bohringer Fruit Farm in Middleburgh to get Strawberries last week and found out it was day 1 of cherry picking season…so despite the constant threat of thunderstorms I insisted that we pick because a week later they would be gone forever. Hector, not being a fan of cherries wasn’t a happy camper about this excursion, but being the supportive boyfriend that he is, he caved into my desire to pick and rolled up his sleeves.
So the Brooklyn boy and I picked for about 3 hours and got 16 quarts of cherries! AND Hector who thought that cherries were nasty and bitter ate almost as many as he picked! Rule of thumb (and I know I preach this all the time)…local farm produce tastes VERY different from that stuff you get in the supermarket.
The Greenmarkets in NYC are chock full of local produce right now as well as town farmers markets in Westchester, LI, and NJ! Head to your neighborhood market and support the local farmers.
December 2nd, 2010 by moffett
I buy fresh herbs on a regular basis, and so often the bunch of herbs that I purchase from the farm in the summer or Whole Foods in the winter are huge and they wilt and go bad before I can either use them in recipes, make them into pesto or herb oils or freeze them. I’ve wasted so much money on spoiled herbs, and constantly fret about how to possibly use all of them before they go bad every time I buy them. The most popular herb that I use is Italian parsley. Parsley is an all purpose herb, it brightens any dish but its mild flavor doesn’t over power, and its a universal herb, pairs well with poultry, red meat, fish and veggies so I use more of it than other herbs. But regardless it still ends up a mushy wilted mess in my vegetable crisper. That is until Sandy at RSK Farm put me onto a wonderful idea; to purchase a parsley plant! Only problem is that every plant that comes within 50 feet of me has a shelf life of about 3 weeks.
Regardless, this July I finally broke down, paid $5.00 and purchased a parsley plant from Sandy and put it out on my porch in Jefferson next to my basil plant. I figured that despite the fact that I have a black thumb and every plant that I care for either withers away from being parched or ends up water logged I would end up with at least a few weeks of parsley before the plant died.
Well I’m happy to report that Mr. Parsley (yes I’ve named him as we have an intimate relationship now, he’s part of the family) is an EXTREMELY hearty plant! I used him all summer for dinner recipes as well as breakfast recipes at our Bed and Breakfast Catskill Maison, and then when I moved back to NYC in late September I took Mr. Parsley with me and left it on my mother’s terrace and watered it regularly. I never thought that it would live to see Halloween, let alone Thanksgiving, but this parsley plant is still going strong. It was in instrumental ingredient that was used in our Thanksgiving turkey, stuffing and turnips! And the picture posted here is of Mr. Parsley on the Sunday before Thanksgiving, and dude looks like he’s sprouting an Afro.
I finally took Mr. Parsley in tonight, the weather report is calling for our first freeze in the city and I don’t want to take any chances, it’s my hope that Mr. Parsley will live through the winter indoors and make his way back up to Jefferson late next spring. I’m not that optimistic, but then again I didn’t think this plant would live past August! For a mere $5.00 I’ve gotten months and months of use out of my parsley plant. I highly recommend purchasing herbs that are potted; to have the flexibility of just snipping as I go along without having to think about my parsley going bad is very liberating. Next year I might increase my little herb garden to include thyme and rosemary as well…maybe I’m getting a green thumb after all!
November 20th, 2010 by moffett
It’s about 7am on Saturday morning…It’s the Saturday before Thanksgiving so Catskill Maison Bed and Breakfast isn’t open for business right now. There is no reason for me to be up this early on a Saturday when I don’t have to serve breakfast. Sure I was planning on getting up in an hour or so because I want to beat the crowds at the Union Square Greenmarket that will surface by 11am on the Saturday before Thanksgiving; but to be up and bright eyed and bushy tailed at 7am, enough to blog is cause for concern. There are times when I have to be almost threatened by my Social Media Director Sharon to get a blog post out at all, so for me to be up right now with not even a hint of coaxing means that I have to write about something important and exciting!
I woke up this morning to an email from one of our purveyors and friends Carol Clement from Heather Ridge Farm. Carol, who owns and runs the farm and the Bees Knees Cafe which is run on the farm, sent out an eblast last night stating that her cafe, the Bees Knees is being written up in this Sunday’s NY Times Travel Section. After reading the article, I got so excited that I couldn’t fall back to sleep, I had to get the word out! For those of you who have visited us and had our 3 course locally sourced breakfast on a day when we feature the highly touted chicken sausage and on the board where we list our sources “Heather Ridge Farm” is written…this is the same Heather Ridge Farm!
Carol’s Bees Knees Cafe, which is approximately 20-25 minutes from Catskill Maison is only open on Saturday for lunch. Her farm store is open on Saturday as well, and after eating a wonderful meal made of almost 100% locally sourced ingredients (which those of you who read my blog know is very important to me, since almost every post mentions the importance of local and sustainable food); you can purchase all kinds of goodies from her farm store! I can personally attest to the fact that her “Oink and Moo Chili” is AMAZING!!! Really addictive stuff and it runs circles around the chili from Manhattan Chili Company.
Our sincerest congratulations to Carol and her team over at Heather Ridge, we are so very glad that what she is doing is being recognized and being given the kudos it deserves.
***All Photos featured on this post are a courtesy of Heather Ridge Farm.
October 29th, 2010 by moffett
Last week when we were at Catskill Maison for our final weekend at our Catskills Bed and Breakfast we went to our local farms and hoarded fall vegetables in preparation for heading back to NYC. We got loads of winter squashes, pumpkins, carrots, potatoes, apples, onions and beets. My fridge looks like a restaurant walk in! I also purchased a stalk of brussel sprouts. With the exception of myself and my Grandfather, my family really hates brussel sprouts. Problem is that I love them, and I especially love the ones from Shaul Farm. They leave them on the stalk so they stay fresh longer, and they don’t have that bitter taste that brussel sprouts are known for. In purchasing one stalk it was my plan to roast brussel sprouts and somehow convince my parents who think that they are the nastiest thing in the world, that if purchased directly from the farm instead of in the supermarket brussel sprouts are a nutty and tasty vegetable.
So the other night I preheated the oven to 425F, cut the sprouts off of the stalk, put them on a roasting pan, covered them in 2 tablespoons of olive oil and seasoned them with salt and pepper and stuck the brussel sprouts in the oven. While they were roasting I heated 1/2 a cup of balsamic vinegar to a boil with a handful of dried cranberries and yellow raisins to reconstitute (plump them). When the vinegar came to a boil I shut off the burner and let the vinegar sit. After 10 minutes I took the sprouts out of the oven, poured the vinegar with cranberries and raisins over the sprouts, coarsely chopped a handful of pecans and threw them over the sprouts, added a tablespoon of Dijon mustard and a teaspoon of Sriracha and tasted the concoction. I then re-seasoned with salt and pepper and put them back in the oven for another 10 minutes and then they were done.
My father walked into the kitchen and looked at the roasting pan and asked “what’s that?”. “Brussel sprouts” I replied cheerily. “I don’t eat those and I’m not eating that” was the response I received. “Come on Dad, just try one and then you can then say you don’t like them, just give it a try”, I coaxed. The next response was “I’m not 10 years old I don’t have to eat those” with a serious dadttitude! (I really wanted to point out to him that his pouting was exactly the behavior of the 10 year old he was claiming not to be, but I held my tongue because I really didn’t want to fight him, I wanted him to try these brussel sprouts). So when the rest of the meal was plated my mother said “put 3 on his plate”, and I did. Well he ate them all, and then said “those were pretty good!”. My mother even went so far as to say that the brussel sprouts were good enough for her to feel that she would have no problem eating them. MAJOR SCORE!!!! The only problem is that the brussel sprouts in restaurants and supermarkets don’t taste like the farm sprouts. We went to dinner last night to one of the best restaurants in Westchester County, and my father and I both ordered a veal chop with brussel sprouts as one of the accompaniments. This was a huge deal for my dad who normally would rather not order his favorite dish if sprouts came with it…I was so proud of him, but low and behold I ate one of the brussel sprouts at the same time as my father and thought “oh no, these are bitter” (which I don’t mind). I took one look at his face and said to him “You don’t like them do you”. He had a pained expression on his face and said “No”. So before all of the progress of the other night went down the drain I quickly removed those brussel sprouts from his plate.
I guess the moral of the story here is that if you or your friends or family think that you hate brussel sprouts, try my above recipe and purchase the sprouts still on the stalk from the farmers market. It might just convert you into being a brussel sprout lover. It just proves to me again that nothing compares to food that comes straight from the farm!
Brussel Sprouts, olive oil, salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar, cranberries, yellow raisins, pecans, dijon mustard, sriracha.
September 22nd, 2010 by moffett
New York State is notorious for apples and the orchards for the best apples, cider donuts and apple cider are in the Catskills and Hudson Valley. At Catskill Maison Bed and Breakfast we pick apples in September and October every year, because apples are a perfect complement to our french toast. (Though, I was hesitant about putting apples on the menu this past weekend because it would force me to admit that summer is really coming to an end.) But until we opened the Bed and Breakfast I never realized how many “species” of apples there were, and which are good for eating vs. cooking. Honey crisp apples are the best eating apples hands down, but if you need to freeze apples so you can have them for a pie in January you need to purchase golden delicious, cortland, or rome apples. Apples generally keep well in the crisper in the bottom of the fridge. I often find myself making pork chop and apple recipes well into February with the apples that I place in the crisper in October. Apples are also a great source of fiber and they definitely make you feel full. If you happen to visit us at Catskill Maison in late September or early October there will be a plethora of orchards that you can choose from in order to get your fill of apples for the season. We suggest Terrace Mountain Orchard in Schoharie because that’s where we get some of our apples…but if you are getting apples on the way home from the Bed and Breakfast as you head to the city you can also stop at Fix Brothers in Hudson NY right over the Rip Van Winkle Bridge, which is another “pick your own”. Regardless of where you go, nothing is more fun than picking apples on a bright, crisp, fall day.