View from the Farmshed Kitchen Window

By Denise A. Szarek | June 29th, 2011

Savory Swiss Chard Bread Pudding.

It’s been a very interesting spring to say the least, too much rain, not enough sun, and unseasonably cool days.  For a farmer in CNY that means, late crops, low yields, but high quality – a true mixed bag.

One of my favorite greens is swiss chard.  We grow a lot of it each season.  So I’m always looking for new ways to use it and then share it with our CSA members..  This recipe comes by way of one of my favorite food blogs theirishmother.blogspot.com.  My Celtic roots always come through in my cooking.  The recipe that caught my eye was for a savory bread pudding with swiss chard.  The original recipe comes from The Essential New York Time Cookbook.  But of course Margaret puts her own spin on it and I could do no less.

And of course it’s no fun if you’re not cooking with friends!  This time we are using cheese from Heamour Farm and dried Shiitake mushrooms from Fruit of the Fungi.

Savory Swiss Chard Bread Pudding

1 – Multi grain French baguette (cut in 1 inch cubes)

4 oz – Gruyere cheese

4oz – Heamour Farms Mediterranean Feta

2 oz – Pecorino Romano cheese shredded

3oz – Fruit of the Fungi Shiitake dried mushroom slices

2 cups chopped swiss chard & 1/3 cup chopped stems

½ Vidalia onion, rough chopped

3 T butter

1 large egg

¾ cup heavy cream

¾ cup milk

3 T fresh ground nutmeg

Salt & pepper to taste

Place a large pot on to boil. Salt the water with sea salt.  Take 3 oz. of the dried mushrooms, place in a small bowl and pour boiling water over them.  Let stand for 15 minutes. Combine the bread, Gruyere and Romano cheese in a bowl.  Cut the Feta cubes in ¼’s add to the bread & cheese mix.  Next melt 2 T of butter in a large skillet over medium heat.  This is where my cast iron skillet does the job. Drain the mushrooms (but save the water, this can be the base for a very delicious veggie stock later), add mushrooms to the skillet and sauté for 2-3 minutes.  When the water is boiling in the large pot add the swiss chard leaves & stems as well as the onions, blanch for 1 minute.  Turn into a colander to drain.  Squeeze all the water you can out of the chard and onions.  I just used my two clean bare hands for this job.  Add the greens and onions to the skillet and sauté for 1-2 minutes.  Add the greens and onions to the bread & cheese mix.

In a small bowl, beat the egg, set aside.  In a small sauce pan heat the milk and heavy cream to just a boil.  Take the pan off the heat.  Slowly whisking vigorously, add about ½ cup of the milk to the egg.  Then still whisking, add the egg mix slowly into the milk until blended.  Add the milk to the bread mix and stir well.  Heat the oven to 400 degrees.  Grease a baking dish with the remaining butter, turn out the bread mixture into the baking dish.  Season with fresh ground pepper and sea salt.  Grate nutmeg and sprinkle remaining romano cheese over bread mix.  Pop in the oven for 20 minutes until golden brown and bubbly.

This is an excellent vegetarian meal for a meatless Monday.

For the meat lovers out there a nice Italian sausage crumbled in here would be wonderful.

Swiss chard is an excellent source of vitamins  C, E & K, carotenes, chlorophyll and fiber, as well as a source of iron, potassium, magnesium and manganese. Also, Vitamin B6, protein, calcium, thiamine, selenium, zinc, niacin and folic acid.

As a diabetic, chard is one of my super foods, because of it unique benefit of blood sugar regulation and its ability to help pancreatic cells regenerate.

Share

Tags: , , ,

2011 CSA Programs in Central New York & the Finger Lakes, Part 2.

By Neil B. Miller | January 30th, 2011

This is the second in a series of articles Farmshed CNY is publishing over the next month that provide information on 2011 CSA programs in Central New York and the Finger Lakes. All of the CSA listings in the Farmshed directory (i.e., the iPhone app), will also be updated with this information.

In the first article, I mentioned that when it comes to selecting a CSA, the sooner you decide which program is right for you the better, and this is especially true for several of the farms listed in this article. While I greatly respect the hard work and love that all farmers put into their products, several of these farms, which I visited or I got to know in the last year, produce simply extraordinary vegetables and meats that set the standard for excellence in this region. And, as evidenced by the speed with which these farms sell out their CSAs year-after-year, I clearly am not the only consumer who feels this way.

So, I hope you will take some time and review the following 12 farms offering CSA programs in 2011, and then, if you have not already selected a CSA program, go back and review the 20 CSA programs listed in the first article. And remember, if you have additional questions, contact the farmer! They should be glad to hear from you and answer your questions.

I hope everyone will consider joining a CSA in 2011. The benefits to you, your family, local farmers and the local economy are well documented, and the risks are minimal. CSAs bring us closer to the people who grow our food, to the land itself, and to each other.

21. Three Goat Farm/Szarek Greenhouses
7443 South St., Clinton, NY 13323

Hydroponically Grown Vegetables
Bernie & Denise Szarek
Website: http://www.threegoatfarm.com
Tel: 315-853-5901
Email: sales@oldgoatfoods.com

Three Goat Farm CSA is offering 30 CSA shares in 2011. Their Full Share costs $300.00 and provides enough veggies for 2-4 people, approximately 8-15 lbs per week. Their Half Share costs $150.00 and provides enough veggies for 1-2 people, approximately 4-8 lbs per week.  Shares will be light at first and grow with the season. Full and Half Shares runs from June-Oct.

Three Goat Farm also offers a College Student/Vacation Share that costs $140.00 and is designed to give a college student or summer vacationer fresh veggies for about 10 weeks, from Aug-Oct.

Members mix & match their weekly share, and weekly pickups are at the farm, Saturday 9am-12noon and Tuesday evening 7-9pm. No work is required at the farm.

22. Schoolhouse Farms
1848 Rose Hill Rd. (Route 174), Skaneateles, NY 13152

“Eco-ganic” Vegetables
Rebecca Muir
Website: http://www.schoolhousefarms.blogspot.com/
Tel: 315-673-0744
Email: finanmorel@windstream.net

Schoolhouse Farms is offering 20 CSA shares in 2011 that will run from June through September. Free home delivery is available in the 13152 zip code. A single share costs $550.00. Schoolhouse Farm specializes in pesticide-free heirloom tomatoes and other heirloom vegetables. No work is required at the farm.

23. Six Circles Farm
1491 Caywood Rd., Lodi, NY 14860

Organic Vegetables
Jacob, Lael, and Michael Eisman
Website: http://www.localharvest.org/six-circles-farm-M18709
Tel: 607-351-3921
Email: sixcirclesfarm@gmail.com

Six Circles Farm is offering 12 CSA shares for 2011. Their CSA program runs from June through October. Full Share cost $500.00, Half Shares cost $320.00. Pickups at the farm and the Ithaca Farmers Market on Tuesday, Saturday, or Sunday, all day. No work is required at the farm.

24. Stones Throw Farm
540 Makyes Road, Nedrow, NY 13120

Organic Vegetables
NOFA-NY Farmers Pledge Farm
Brian & Megan Luton
Website: http://www.stonesthrowfarm.biz
Tel: 315-469-4225
Email: bcluton@aol.com

Stones Throw Farm is offering a limited number of CSA shares in 2001. Their 2011 CSA program will run for 20 weeks running from June 18th through October 29th. A share costs $550.00. The CSA Program will provide a “diverse mix of crops throughout the season and provide bountiful and well-rounded shares.”

CSA shares are picked up weekly at the farm on Tuesday evenings or Saturday mornings.  At times throughout the season additional items will be available to CSA members on a “you-pick” basis at no additional charge.

25. The Piggery
5948 Sycamore Creek Dr, Trumansburg, NY 14886

Heirloom Breed Pork and Charcuterie
Heather Sandford and Brad Marshall
Website: http://www.thepiggery.net
Tel: 607-342-2245
Email: sandfordheather@yahoo.com

I have to be honest, I love The Piggery’s pork products and charcuterie so much that I’ve considered moving to the Ithaca-Trumansburg area just so I could join their CSA, or at least shop regularly at their new deli in Ithaca.

The Piggery still has a few shares available for their first-ever Spring 2011 CSA program. This all-pork-and-charcuterie CSA runs 12 weeks from March 10 through May 26. Shares cost $300.00, and $600.00 for a Double Share. Each weekly box contains a variety of cuts of fresh pork or sausage, bacon or sliced deli meats, pates, lard, and/or other “treats” or “bonuses.” A Summer CSA will be announced later in the year.

Pickup options include the farm, the Piggery Deli in Ithaca or home delivery in Ithaca via Garden Gate Delivery for $3.00/week.

26. West Haven Farm
114 Rachel Carson Way, Ithaca, NY 14850

Organic Vegetables
NOFA-NY Certified Organic Farm
John & Jennifer Bokaer-Smith
Website: http://www.westhavenfarm.net
Tel: 607-279-9483
Email: info@westhavenfarm.net

West Haven Farm offers a 24-week CSA program that runs from late May to early November. A Single Share costs $500.00, although there is a sliding scale from $375.00 to $575.00 (not sure what this entails), and small scholarship fund, composed of donations from other members. A Single Share feeds 1-3 people, larger families can purchase 2 shares at a discount. A large discount is also available in exchange for “substantial help in the garden.”

Pickup is on Tuesday, at the farm from 3:30-9pm or from 4:30-7:30pm in Fall Creek. Shareholders bags their own weekly portions from a farm-market-type display. Shareholders are also welcome to U-pick flowers, herbs and other crops at the farm.

27. Wild Acorn Farm
389 State Highway 12, Greene, NY 13778

Naturally-Raised Pork
Robert & Jacqui Rayne
Website: http://www.localharvest.org/wild-acorn-farm-M20897
Tel: 607-656-7132

Wild Acorn Farm offers a year round pork CSA program. Their pigs are raised without antibiotics or growth hormones, and are slaughtered on the farm. They offer 38 CSA shares. Each share is the equivalent to 1/2 a fully-grown pig (10 months). The meat is butchered by a small custom butcher and cut and wrapped to shareholder specifications.

A Full Share (1/2 pig) costs $275.00, payable in a $50.00 deposit and 9 monthly payments of $25.00. A Half Share (1/4 pig) costs $140.00, payable in a $50 deposit and 9 monthly payments of $10.00. Members can pick up their share at the farm or local delivery can be arranged.

28. Jus-Lin Farms
1461 Route 163, Canajoharie, NY 13317

Non-Certified Organic Vegetables
Fred Dykeman
Website: http://www.localharvest.org/farms/M25267
Tel: 518-280-8904

Jus-Lin Farm is offering 40 CSA shares in 2011. Their CSA Program runs 18 weeks, from June through October. A Full Share costs $450.00 and provides enough freshly picked produce for 4 people. A Half Share costs $350.00 and will feed 2 people. Egg shares are also available for an additional $50.00 for one dozen eggs/week, and $25.00 for a bi-weekly egg share. There is also a $20.00 discount for referring new shareholders.

Pickups are at the farm, in Duanesburg, and at the Crossgate Commons in Albany. No work is required at the farm.

29. Nectar Hills Farm
393 Peeters Road, Schenevus, NY 12155

Grass-Fed Beef and Lamb, Pasture-Raised Pork and Chicken
Certified Organic Farm
Dave Dutton and Sonia Sola
Website: http://www.nectarhillsfarm.com
Tel: 607-638-5758
Email: soniasola@mindspring.com

Nectar Hills Farm is a certified organic meat producer. They offer three levels of membership in their 2011 CSA program. A Full Share receives about 120 pounds of meat, and costs $1,000.00, which is a 20% discount; a $600.00 Half Share that will receive 70 pounds of meat (a 15% discount); and a $300.00 Single Share that will receive 30 pounds of meat (a 10% discount). During the Spring shareholders may also receive honey, organic produce, apples, apple cider or vinegar, raw wool or other products.

There is no single pickup or delivery schedule. Shareholders can pick up and stock their freezers with their entire share, or they can arrange for weekly or monthly pickups. Members can pick up their shares at the farm, at the Nectar Hills farm store in Cherry Valley, or at the Cooperstown Farmers Market.

30. Crum Creek CSA
200 Crum Creek Rd., St. Johnsville, NY 13452

Pastured Elk, Beef, Pork, Chicken, Lamb & Eggs
Stacy Handy
Website: http://www.crumcreekcsa.com/
Tel: 518-568-5476

Crum Creek CSA is the collaborative effort of Creek’s Edge Elk Farm and other local meat producers. They run a Winter CSA program that runs from November to April and offers 6-month shares that provide 5 lbs of meat per month.  A 6-month beef share costs $195.00, and a 6-month beef and pork share costs $199.50. They offer an Egg Share that provides 1 dozen eggs per week and costs $97.00. They also sell a variety of 20lbs. meat bundles, as well as bulk orders and individual cuts.

Shares are picked up the farm the first Wednesday of every month.

31. The Farm and B&B
1057 Elizabethtown Road, Ilion, NY 13357

Heirloom and Heritage Vegetables
NOFA-NY Farmers Pledge Farm
Laura Knight and Michael Kirkpatrick
Website: http://www.thefarmandbandb.com/home
Tel: 315-895-0060
Email: lauraknight@thefarmandbandb.com

The Farm is offering 50 CSA shares in 2011. They grow over 100 different vegetables, many of which are heirloom or heritage varietals. Their CSA program runs from mid-June through mid-October. A Full Share costs $425.00 and provides a weekly ½ bushel box of 7-9 items that should be sufficient for 2-4 people.

Weekly pickups are at The Farm on Friday or Saturday, Café Domenico in Utica on Monday, or at the Clinton Farmers Market (Thursday) or Cooperstown Farmers Market (Saturday).

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

A 21st-Century Success Story: Wake Robin Farm, Jordan, NY

By Neil B. Miller | August 19th, 2010

Megan Schader of Wake Robin Farm, with her herd of pasture-raised Jersey cows.

I travel a lot to local farms, farmers markets and related businesses, and I do my best when visiting these locations to arrive with as few preconceptions as possible.  Ideally, I want to view each farm or business on its own terms, rather than in terms of my expectations.  Philosophers call these expectations presuppositions, and on some level they are inescapable; the process of interpreting and making an experience meaningful begins well before the experience itself.  Still, armed with this insight, I try to keep my expectations in check.

I was reminded of how difficult putting ideals into practice can be on a recent visit to Wake Robin Farm, a dairy farm and cheesemaker in Jordan, NY.  Wake Robin Farm enjoys an enviable position among Syracuse-area farms.  Their premium, natural cow’s milk products, especially their yogurts, are highly regarded by consumers and widely available at local grocery stores, including eleven Wegmans locations, Green Hills Market, the Syracuse Real Food Coop and Natur-Tyme.  This widespread appreciation and distribution, along with Wake Robin’s distinctive branding, led me to assume that they were a relatively large-scale operation, if not on par with commercial dairy farms than at least recognizably similar to them.

The first sign that something was wrong was when I drove past the farm looking for an operation that matched my expectations.  I failed, however, to heed this warning.  When I finally pulled onto the property what I saw made little sense: there was an old barn edging slowly towards ruin; and a newer, smaller building that turned out to be the farm store and production facility.  But no mountains of silage, no heavy machinery, no modern milking facility – the milk is transported in 10 gallon jugs from the barn to the creamery – and no sight or smell of the big herd I presumed I would find.

The farm store at Wake Robin Farm.

While I was sorting this out, I was greeted by Megan Schader, who along with her husband Bruce owns and operates the farm.  Wake Robin Farm, that is, is a two-person, family-run operation (three persons if you count the Schader’s son, Hugh).  While much of the land has been in Bruce’s family for generations, Megan and Bruce first began farming in 1999 and only converted to dairy production in 2006.  At present, they tend a herd of 25 Jersey cows, a smaller breed than the ubiquitous Holsteins, that produce milk with a high butterfat content and more milk solids, which makes them ideal for crafting rich, delicious whole milk products.

The Schader’s cows are pasture raised and grass fed, with grain from Lakeview Organic Grain in Penn Yan supplementing their winter diet of locally grown organic hay.  During grazing season, the herd rotates twice daily onto fresh pasture, is milked twice a day, and produces about 450-500 gallons of milk per week.  Dairy production and cheese making occur four days a week, with the milk pasteurized but not homogenized.  While the farm’s milk and yogurts are distributed regionally, their cheeses and Cheddar cheese curds are sold exclusively at the farm store and the Central NY Regional Market.

Bruce Schader in the creamery at Wake Robin Farm.

I don’t mean to give these facts short shrift.  I was fascinated by the creamery, with its stainless steel tanks and arcane technology, and barely able to follow Bruce’s explanation of the cheese-making process; how different cultures and bacteria produce different cheeses and dairy products, how the various hard cheeses – the Schaders produce four varieties of hard cheese – require specific handling, humidity, aging, etc.  But I am still hung up on the modest size of the Schader’s operation relative to the success Wake Robin Farm enjoys in the marketplace, and what this says about small-scale farming – or, more specifically, about successful small-scale farming – in the 21st century.

Bruce and his artisanal cheeses, in Wake Robin Farm's aging room.

Here, in no particular order, are a couple of thoughts:

1. Wake Robin Farm does one thing, and only one thing, exceptionally well, which is produce natural, whole milk dairy products.  Megan and Bruce initially grew vegetables and even experimented with a CSA.  But when they decided in 2006 to shift to dairy farming, they gave up growing vegetables and concentrated exclusively on dairy production.  This single-mindedness goes against a certain contemporary school of thought, which says that small, independent farmers can and should try their hand at everything: raising livestock and poultry, planting fruits and vegetables, producing honey and maple syrup, baking breads and making jams and jellies, etc.

I’m not saying this approach can’t succeed; there are any number of paths to success and every farmer or food producer needs to figure out what works for him- or herself. But there is a certain undeniable wisdom in the adage that a jack of all trades is master of none.  Those artisan farmers who by popular consensus set the standard of excellence in Central New York for a specific crop or product: Alambria Springs Farm for their salad greens; The Piggery for their pork products; Lively Run Goat Farm for their goat’s milk cheeses; Wake Robin Farm for their cow’s milk yogurts – the list goes on – dedicate themselves to, and excel at producing one product, or group of products, and are content to leave the rest of the food universe to other producers and their respective passions.

Wake Robin Farm's "Alpine" cheeses - Floradell & Mona Lisa - in the aging room.

Wake Robin Farm's Cheddar cheeses, aging gracefully.

2. Wake Robin Farm, however, is more than a small, specialized farm.  It also is a successful brand in a crowded, competitive marketplace, with an enviable reputation and readily identifiable packaging that consumers can spot well before they reach the dairy case.  Which is to say, the Schaders also are savvy businesspeople who understand the importance of brand management, marketing, and value-added food production for the long term viability of their farm.

In the 21st century, business acuity seems essential to the survival of independent farming, and by extension to the continued well being of local food cultures and economies.  Thanks largely to the popularity of CSAs and farmers markets, many Central New York farmers have already become successful direct-market vendors.  Given the relative ease of starting up an Internet business, the ready availability of local resources like Nelson Farms and the Syracuse Community Test Kitchen, run by my friend Marty Butts, and the growth of direct-market distributors like CNY Bounty, Garden Gate, the Foodshed Buying Club, and Nom Nom, many more farmers, I suspect, will also become value-added producers.

Neither I nor anyone else should be surprised, accordingly, when we come across a small family farm that has successfully developed, branded, and marketed an exceptional product.  Success stories like Wake Robin Farm, in fact, may soon become commonplace.  The cream is once again rising to the top in Central New York, and nowhere, literally, is this more evident than at Wake Robin Farm.

Wake Robin Farm is located at 177 Brutus Road in Jordan, NY.  Their farm store is open everyday from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM, April 1 to December 31.  They also can be found Saturdays at the Central NY Regional Market, in “C” shed from May through October, and “A” shed from November through April. Although their yogurts are available for sale in Syracuse-area Wegmans, the Green Hills Market, the Syracuse Real Food Coop, and Natur-Tyme, their artisanal cheeses and Cheddar cheese curds can only be purchased at the farm store and the Regional Market.  For more information, visit the Wake Robin Farm website.

Share

Tags: , ,

Jewett’s Cheese House, Earlville, NY

By Neil B. Miller | July 28th, 2010

In a very real sense, those of us who care about the Buy Local movement are playing catch up to the Jewett family, who were doing local long before most of us knew or cared about where our food came from.  Having settled in Earlville in the 1960s, by the early 1970s the Jewetts had opened their Cheese House on Earlville Road, making them one of the oldest cheese producers in Central New York.

Today, Jewett’s is run by Terri Jewett Larkin. In addition to the dozen of so New York State Cheddars made for Jewett’s by the McCadam Cheese Company of Chateguay, NY, which are stored and aged in a warehouse across the road, Jewett’s also boasts a nice selection of other cheeses, including some extraordinary goat’s milk cheeses from Painted Goat Farm, located in Otsego County.  The Jewett’s Cheddars range from 2 and 3 years old up to 10-, 12- and even 16-year-old aged cheeses, which have identifiably unique flavors and textures.  I particularly liked the 10-year-old Cheddar named “The Colonel,” which combined the XXX sharpness of aged Cheddar with a nice creaminess and a hint of granularity.

Foods and food samples are everywhere, with jams, jellies, and condiments from a number of NY State producers, honey and maple products from local farms, pancake mixes and flours from New Hope Mills of Auburn, NY, mustards from Foothill Hops Farm, which is leading a revival of New York State’s hops industry, and Nunda Mustard, along with racks of candies and snacks, bulk herbs, beans and spices, and a wall of refrigerated products.  Terri is clearly selective about what she purchases, however, because the shop is well and deliberately stocked.

We are very fortunate that the number of talented cheesemakers and boutique food producers in Central New York has grown considerably in the past few years.  And as last week’s Buy Local festivities made clear, Madison County is home to several of the region’s best locavore restaurants and organic/sustainable farms (Drover Hill Farm, which produces outstanding Angus beef, is next door to the Jewett’s shop).  There is something to be said for being one of the first businesses to think local, however, and the Jewetts have been doing local longer than just about anyone.

Jewett’s Cheese House is located at 934 Earlville Rd, just a mile or so south of the Poolville Country Store (which despite its name is one of Madison County’s top locavore restaurants), and about ten minutes from downtown Hamilton.  Cheeses can also be ordered on-line via Jewett’s website or by calling them at 800-638-3836. The shop is open Monday through Friday from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm, and most Sundays from 10:30 am to 3:00 pm (the shop is closed on Saturdays).

Share

Tags: , ,

Welcome to Farmshed

By Neil B. Miller | July 13th, 2010

Hello everyone,

Welcome to Farmshed, a free app for iPhone and iPod Touch users.  Farmshed provides a comprehensive directory of all the organic, sustainable, and direct-market farms in Central New York, from west of Rochester to east of Utica and Cooperstown, south to Oneonta, Ithaca, and the towns located along the southern edge of the Finger Lakes.

In addition to farms, Farmshed’s directory includes all of Central New York’s farmers markets, CSAs and buying clubs, produce stands, orchards, U-Pick/PYO farms, natural food stores and cooperatives, locavore restaurants, artisanal bakeries and cheesemakers, and natural, gourmet, and specialty food producers. Whew, just thinking about all these local food resources makes me hungry.

I’d like to take you on a brief tour of Farmshed, explain its key features, and provide a bit more information about the app.

1. The Splash and Home Screens.

The first thing users see when they launch the app is the Farmshed splash screen, which displays the Farmshed logo and our slogan, “Go Mobile, Buy Local.”

I know, it’s damned sexy, right?

The next screen is the app home screen, which lists the various categories of farms, food producers, and related businesses currently in the directory.  Most of these categories are self explanatory, but it’s worth pointing out that the Farms category lists only direct-market farms, which means farms that sell their products direct to consumers at farmers markets, farms stores or farm stands.  Commercial farms and dairies that wholesale their products to other companies are not listed, and CSAs – short for Community Supported Agriculture, but you already knew that – are listed as a separate category.

All of the restaurants listed in Farmshed are locally owned, locavore establishments that source at least 10% of their ingredients from local farmers and food producers.  We’re debating whether to broaden the Restaurants category to include all locally owned restaurants, and we’d like to know what you think about this.

2. List and Map Views.

The list and map screens take us into the heart of Farmshed.  Each list displays all the businesses in that category that are located in your area (more on Location Settings below).  Right now these lists display alphabetically, but we are already working on an option to display lists by name (A-Z), distance (closer-further away), and town, and will add this feature when it is completed.

Both the list and map screens allow users to view detailed records on individual businesses.  In the list view, selecting a farmers market (or farm, or restaurant, etc.), takes you to the record for that business.  In the map view, tapping on one of the green location pins displays a pop-up banner with the name and address of that farmers market; tapping the green arrow or “chevron” displayed in the banner, in turn, takes you to the record, or detail view, for that market.

3. Detail Views.

For this tour, we selected the Pittsford Farmers Market outside of Rochester as our example.  Each farmers market record lets you know the day and hours that the market meets next, the market’s schedule for the next two weeks, and the distance to the market from your current location.  You can also see what products are available for sale, the local farms (“Vendors”) that sell at the market, and view additional information about and photos of the market.  If the market has a website, you also can link directly to it.

The records for other categories, such as Restaurants, provide telephone numbers and e-mail addresses that you also can link to directly.  All displayed websites, telephone numbers and e-mails are “dynamic,” meaning you can visit a business’s website, call them, or e-mail them simply by tapping the appropriate field.

The green chevron next to the address for the Pittsford Farmers Market takes you to a map view of that specific location.  Directions to the market, or to any specific location, can be obtained by tapping the car icon in the pop-up banner.

4. Location Settings.

What makes Farmshed more than a directory of neighborhood businesses is the Location Settings feature, which allows users to automatically geo-locate their current location, or to manually select and display information for other locations.

The Location Settings feature is intuitive and easy to use.  With Automatic location turned ON, Farmshed geolocates a user’s current location and downloads data for that location.  When Automatic location is turned OFF, a keyboard rolls out so that a user can manually enter a new location, which can be a complete address, or as little as a city/state or zip code.

The other key feature in Location Settings is the Search Radius (it’s called Search Range in the screenshot, but we renamed it), which provides user with a sliding scale for setting the radius of a location search.  The narrowest setting of a 5 mile radius – a 10 mile diameter centered on a user’s location – allows users to search for producers, retailers and restaurants in their immediate location.  The maximum radius of 50 miles reflects the growing consensus that the “100 mile diet,” provides a useful benchmark for buying local.  These two simple features – Automatic/Manual location and Search Radius – put all the local food resources in your neighborhood, or anywhere in Central New York, at your fingertips.

5. Share/Social Networking.

The Share feature, which is found in the tab bar at the bottom of the home screen, provides users with a range of social networking options for sharing experiences or information with the Farmshed community.  Right now, these options include posting content to the Farmshed CNY Facebook and Twitter pages, or publishing longer pieces on the Farmshed Nation blog.  The social networking options in version 1.0 are not as robust as we would like.  Much of what we enjoy about buying local is sharing our experiences with others, and we assume that many of you feel this way as well.  So we are already considering how to broaden these options in later versions of the app.  In time, we want users to have full in-app access to their own social networks, as well as the ability to rate businesses and publish reviews, photos, videos and podcasts to their own or Farmshed’s social networks.

I hope this brief tour of Farmshed has been informative, and that you find Farmshed fun and useful.  Please, tell us what you like or dislike about the app, and share your experiences with us and other users.  We live in a region with many wonderful farms, farmers markets, and food producers, but it is not always easy to learn about or locate these businesses.  We hope Farmshed makes it easier to find and enjoy Central New York’s local and regional food resources, and that it becomes a regular companion in your explorations.  Go Mobile, Buy Local!

Share

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,