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North Country Kitchen, by Yvona Fast

Abundant zucchini

This time of year gardeners find themselves flooded with these smooth, thin-skinned, cylindrical dark green squashes — though new varieties come in many shades of green and yellow, and some are speckled or striped. They’re plentiful and cheap at farmers’ markets because they’re easy to ...

The Box

We’re still in the middle of the pandemic. Schools are closed. So are summer camps. Restaurants are beginning to re-open with limited capacity — but many people are still avoiding eating out. As a result of the COVID-19 statewide shutdown, farmers were dumping milk and produce because ...

Summer is time for ratatouille

This traditional Provencal dish is made with the season’s abundance of tomatoes, eggplant, and summer squash, along with onions, garlic, peppers and herbs. It is usually seasoned with Herbes de Provence, a mix of basil, thyme, savory and fennel, but other herbs can be used too. Other veggies ...

Celebrate summer with fresh peas

How better to celebrate summer than with fresh peas from our local farmers? Sweet and tender, peas are one of the finest treats of our Adirondack summer (and spring in the rest of the country). All three varieties — the English shell peas, asian pod peas, and sturdy sugar snaps —are ...

Two summer superfoods: beets and chard

Once upon a time, beets were lonely outcasts, humble and reviled. Swiss chard was unknown. But times have changed. Today, these two veggies are considered superfoods. The number of beet and chard dishes on restaurant menus keeps rising. Chard and beet greens are botanical cousins — and ...

Strawberries: summer’s first fruits

Days are long. Nights are short. Farmers’ markets and farm stands are in full swing, open in spite of the pandemic. They are busting with summer’s first fruits — fragrant, red, juicy and oh so sweet! Strawberries are the first of the summer berry crop to ripen. Sure, you can buy ...

It’s summer!

It’s officially summer — and it feels like it! The weather’s warm, school’s out, and the pandemic is still among us. While Mother’s Day was unseasonably cool, Father’s Day was unseasonably hot. Summer is the time to play on the water, in the water and in the woods. It’s also ...

Create quick, easy meals with asparagus, ham and potatoes

Sunday morning it was 36 degrees. Is it spring? Summer? Or winter? This year the weather has been playing havoc —with snow in May for Mother’s Day, then really hot weather … It seems like it is either 40 or 90. Our poor asparagus came up in June rather than May. We thought we had lost ...

It’s summer salad time

Gardens and farmers’ markets abound with fresh greens — lettuce, spinach, pea shoots, arugula. It’s salad time! Salads of fresh, tender greens are a special seasonal treat. They’re easy to put together, light, healthy, and make delicious eating. At this time of global pandemic, ...

The Farmers Market is back!

The unofficial start of summer at the end of May marks the beginning of the summer Farmers Market, with local produce and other local products. Never has it been more welcome than this year, amid the covid pandemic. 2020 was the first year we had a winter market — with fewer vendors than ...

Welcome, summer

Spring was slow to arrive. Mother’s Day weekend was chilly. Yesterday was Memorial Day — the unofficial start of the summer season — and we finally have warm weather! The sun is shining and everything’s blooming, from shadbush to trilliums, from violets to tulips. For many, this is the ...

Maple syrup is sweet story of spring

“The gift of the sugar maple trees is from a benevolent Providence.” — Benjamin Rush, in a letter to Thomas Jefferson --- The maple sugaring season ended weeks ago. This year, due to the global COVID-19 Pandemic, maple producers did not open to the public for tours, ...

Eating at home is a new norm

A tiny virus has made our large world shrink. Life has become strange, surreal, silent. The entire planet is social distancing. In the midst of the chaos, uncertainty reigns. In better times, we share love by preparing food for friends and family. We offer a loaf of bread or a jar of homemade ...

Goodbye April, welcome May!

April seemed endless, surreal and strange. I’m so glad it’s May! The days are noticeably longer and temps have risen above 60 degrees F. The brown earth is transformed by green growth. Bright yellow coltsfoot blooms as it does every year. Crocuses, daffodils and scillas fill the ...

What’s new at the market? Scallions and radishes

It’s been over a month since spring officially began — and our crocuses look lovely covered with a dusting of white snow. We don’t have anything in the garden yet. Our chives are barely poking out of the earth. But our farmers’ market welcomes spring with scallions and spring ...

Earth Day: Make vegetables the center of the meal

This week is Earth Week — the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, which began with the ecology movement in 1970. This is a time to promote environmental awareness. In the past, there were marches and demonstrations. This year, many ecology groups planned week-long celebrations — but that was ...

Cooking with Kids: A World Tour

We live in a new reality. A pandemic has invaded our normal. The calendar’s blank. No meetings. No outings with friends. Even doctors’ appointments have mostly been rescheduled. We’re home. Parents are working from home and kids are learning from home. And we’re cooking at home more ...

Boost flavor and health with garlic

You may have heard that an apple a day keeps the doctor away. But did you know that a clove of garlic a day may do much better? It’s true. Garlic does much more than fight off vampires. An old Welsh saying instructs: “Eat leeks in March and garlic in May, then the rest of the year, your ...

Welcome, spring

The days are longer. The temps are warmer. The ice is out. The snow has (mostly) disappeared. We welcome spring to the north woods. This year, spring has come early. It has also come with unforeseen challenges. Life has changed radically. Our world is in chaos. Uncertainty reigns. The ...

Buy local food at your Farmers’ Park It

I love our local Farmers’ Market. In the summer, I go there for much more than food. I go to chat, meet friends, hear music. I get to know my area farmers. Hungry? Lunch is available. In winter, the market moves indoors, where there is no music. There are fewer vendors; I don’t run ...