Local Food and Farmers’ Markets


Originally uploaded by j-co

Lodi could be considered a hub of the local food movement, only because there’s always been a local food movement in this area. It’s just never been cool before.

Of course I’m exaggerating: Lodi’s not really a hub of too much, to be honest, but there’s no exaggerating the vibrancy of local produce growers and farmers’ markets in the Finger Lakes.

There’s a lot of agriculture around Lodi, but the large industrial crops are almost exclusively soybeans and feed corn. In recent years small farms offering CSAs have boomed, and more farmers markets have developed offering people the chance to feel closer to the food they eat and who produces it.

Throughout my childhood during the summers in Lodi you could count on the farm stands that dot the country roads and highways providing much of your summer meals. With delicious sweet corn that explodes in your mouth to perfectly ripe peaches whose juice drips down your chin to the ubiquitous zucchini, there has never been a shortage of great local produce. It’s always one of the best things about being in Lodi in the summer.

The Ithaca Farmers Market has been around for years and never disappoints with the great variety of produce as well as the diverse international food vendors and live music. This summer I became enamored of the Trumansburg Farmers Market which is much smaller by comparison but is off the charts when it comes to friendliness. Almost all of the vendors, which range from a goat dairy to cinnamon buns to specialty garlic in addition to the requisite produce are happy to engage in conversation, offer advice to novice gardeners and actually want to know what you think of their food.

One of the best produce finds of the summer were the tomatillos from the Ithaca market pictured here. I had no clue what to do with them but the kind vendor offered me a salsa verde recipe which was to die for. Now I’m hooked on tomatillos and am determined to grow them in the garden next summer. Salsa verde for all!

Summer Visitors

Tomatoes from the garden for dinner

Originally uploaded by j-co

This summer has been the summer of visitors to Lodi. I don’t know why, but we’ve been lucky enough to have a steady stream of friends visiting Lodi for summer mini-breaks over the last month or so.

Most recently we had a house full of 8, including 2 kids, and we had a wonderful time lounging about the house, poking around in the barns, swimming in the lake and touring around the area.

My friends said they had no idea the Finger Lakes were so close, which I think is part of the reason people love coming here: it’s still a relatively unknown little hidden gem of a vacation spot. It’s odd because it is so close to many larger cities: only 5 hours from both NYC and Toronto, 4.5 hours from Ottawa, 6 or so hours from Boston.

I love to show my friends around Lodi and the area. There is so much family history that the stories are amazingly realistic when you can say “My grandfather’s Wallpaper store was right there, across the street”. I feel proud and happy to have the luxury of being so clearly connected to my ancestors and their lives.

Most fun, of course, is showing off the natural beauty of the Finger Lakes with the rolling hills, vineyards and amazing lake views. The wineries are always enjoyable to visit and so convenient with 20 or so within a 20-mile stretch of Route 414 near Lodi. There are fabulous restaurants featuring ingredients procured from local farmers. And there’s always the outlet mall for a little retail therapy, if that’s what you need.

But best of all is gathering together with friends and infusing this house that’s seen so much of my family history over 100 years with the laughter of children, the smells of great meals cooking with ingredients picked fresh from the garden and the enjoyment of warm, wonderful friendship.

So, when are you coming?

The Big Reno

The Master Bedroom Upstairs, Golding Farm

Originally uploaded by j-co

Over the last month we’ve been working hard in Lodi. With summer holidays and several groups of visitors we found ourselves finally pressed into action out at the Golding Farm.

The Golding Farm has a beautiful farm house and two barns that date from before 1850. No one has lived in the house for several years, and the upstairs hasn’t been inhabited for over 10 years.

The Golding Farm is a big project. There are some big picture issues like a room that needs to be completely re-drywalled and walls that look like that haven’t been re-plastered since, um, 1850.

So these things make it a daunting project and we tend to dance around the issues. But my brother devoted a large portion of his summer to working and living out at the Farm and making major improvements. Steadily over the months he’d cleaned up, re-fitted the kitchen, re-landscaped and essentially made the place livable.

Then all of a sudden we were faced with 8 visitors all arriving at the same time and we didn’t have room for everyone at the house in town. We rushed around for 3 days and managed to make the Golding Farm look half-way decent. We moved in beds, dressers, accessories and hung paintings and made it look like a comfortable, welcoming place.

This is a pretty major coup for us because we were really not sure that this house could be a viable place that people would want to be. We still have a lot of work to do, but by moving the furniture in an dressing the place up it made us realize that house is not as desperately inhabitable as we thought and has great potential.

Now we just need to win the lottery and we’ll be good to go!