This semester, we have hired a new Farm to Table Assistant for our staff. We welcome Andrew Cassata, who will be supporting us with our local food initiatives on campus and in our community.
Andrew is from Hilton, NY, and is currently a freshman in the Sustainable Communities and Working Landscapes B.S. program. In 2012, Andrew started his own organic produce business, called Twin Hill Farms LLC. After graduating from Paul Smith’s with his degree, Andrew plans to continue working with his farm. When he’s not busy with school, the farm, or working in our office, Andrew enjoys hiking and skiing on the VIC trails.
Welcome Andrew- We’re very excited to have you on the team!
The Wild Center in Tupper Lake hosts an annual Adirondack Youth Climate Summit. This year the summit was hosted on November 3 and 4. Each year, students from around the Northeast come together to learn about climate change, and what they can do in their own lives and school to combat the effects. The theme of the 2016 Adirondack Youth Climate Summit was “Branching out.” This years summit team consisted of five student attendees: Jack Gallagher, Erika Ochs, Josh Staquet, Dan Stevener and myself, Valerie Hoffman. Also our Sustainability Coordinator Kate Glenn, this was her sixth Youth Climate Summit. The summit was broken into plenary sessions, when everyone attends, and workshops, where students chose an area they are interested in to learn more about.
I am always inspired to help the environment and human race when I leave the summit. This being my third year attending was very exciting. I find it really exciting to see what schools (high school and colleges) did in the past year and to see their growth. There were so many cool presenters like The Alliance for Climate Education (ACE), which is an organization that has perfected presenting information in a fun and informative way. Also Rob Carr, who will be teaching Environmental Communication with Curt Stager this spring semester, gave a presentation on giving a presentation. For a fantastic presentation you need to know your audience, why it matters to them, have a main message, and use minimal words on the slides. My eyes were opened to how many opportunities are out there if you really put your mind to it. Alizé Carrère is a cultural ecologist who was able to become a National Geographic Explorer. She received a grant from National Geographic and went to Madagascar to study erosion gullies. To get a grant from National Geographic all you have to do is be between the ages of 18 and 26 and have an idea. Alizé Carrère is hosting a series on how the world is adapting to climate change. One of my favorite presenters are farmers, Mark and Kristin Kimball from Essex Farm always plan an exciting session. This year we had to find Captain Carbon, tie him up and bury him. This was to show carbon sequestration. Every year is a new and exciting skit. After all of these sessions you get to gather as a school team and draft a climate action plan. This is later discussed with every participating school at the end of the second day. Right before lunch on the second day a poster session is held for each school to show what they do to reduce their carbon footprint or promote sustainability. Each school decorated a cardboard tree with leafs covered in candy wrappers. On the leaf they wrote how their school was going to branch out about climate change. The Adirondack Youth Climate Summit will always be one of the best memories I have from Paul Smith’s College. I am proud that Paul Smith’s College has opportunities like this to share with their students.
This was my third year attending the youth climate summit however it was my first time not being involved in the planning process before going. I was very inspired as always and have a few projects i’d like to work with the sustainability office to carry out. It was great to see schools there with their first environmental clubs and to see the program is growing. Being team captain I got to sit in a lunch meeting where I learned that the program was year round and offers funding to the high schools that need it for their future projects like the sustainability office here on campus. The speakers were very informative and different than years before. I am excited to see what will happen in future summits as the program continues to expand around the world.
The Adirondack Youth Climate Summit was a great educational experience; I learned a lot and had fun. It was really impressive to see high school students full of climate change knowledge. Watching students work with each other and enjoy learning was so refreshing. These students care about the environment and want to make change, it was awesome! We got the privilege to meet Alizé Carrère a National Geographic Explorer, she spoke about her journey around the world making small changes in their communities and studying people’s culture. We also were given the opportunity to attend workshops with professors from Paul Smith’s. I personally attended Curt Stager’s seminar, we got to work together to make charts based off studies Curt has done for years. We looked at everything from salamanders, to Lake Champlain freezing over completely. Students were shocked for some of the results. The power of students coming together to make a difference is empowering itself to watch. We are the future; we can make change if we come together. I’m proud to be a Smitty, and to have been a part of The Adirondack Youth Climate Summit.
What I have to say about the Adirondack Youth Climate Summit was that it was an awesome experience. It was very informative and inspirational on what to do to reduce the issues of our climate. It was also for entertaining with the fun activities offered there as well. It is definitely worth going to for those who are into supporting the environment and reducing climate issues.
The Adirondack Youth Climate Summit was a good opportunity for students to both learn and address the problems of climate change. It is incredibly important for the younger generation to be ever increasingly aware about the dangers caused by climate change because the younger generation are the ones who will ultimately feel the most effect from it in their lifetime. The biggest key takeaway from the Climate Summit was there are lots of people around the world who haven’t given up hope and are fighting on reversing this issue even though it will be an incredible uphill battle, especially given the current political climate. I was the age of these kids just shy of a decade ago, and I don’t remember anybody in my high school taking a stand like these kids did. This alone gives me hope for the future.
Paul Smith’s College was well represented the speakers and workshop presenters. Paul Smiths alumni Larry Montague is an eco-hip-hop artist performed and ran a workshop on how hip hop can save the planet. Curt Stager also ran a workshop titled “Bringing Climate Change Down to Where You Live.” Bethany Garretson presented during a workshop called “How to Make Social Change a Reality.” Kate Glenn and I ran a workshop last year on “Community Mapping and Climate Action planning”, the worksheet and pre-summit maters every summit group used for this years summit came from that workshop.
Special THANKS to the WILD CENTER for putting on and Inviting us to such an amazing event.
From early June to November, the Center for Campus Sustainability and the students of the St. Regis Cafe have been raising pigs behind the horse barn. Black and Tan were two four legged additions to the area behind the horse barn. They spent an idyllic summer living behind the barn, eating the delectable food scraps from the St. Regis Restaurant and the Lakeside dining hall. Never as tame as the horses, one time they stampeded though the electric fence and were found rooting around Curt Stagers front yard.
Black and Tan were slaughtered last week at the Adirondack Meat Company in Ticonderoga NY. Chef Kevin McCarthy (seen above with culinary students) will be processing the 400 lbs of pork this Thursday and Friday with his students. Black and Tan may have touched many hearts of many students and been the celebrities of many Instagram posts and Snapchat stories. However their days at Paul Smith’s College were numbered, now they will be making an appearance in the St. Regis Cafe! Stop by the cafe this semester or next for some delicious hyper local pork!
Sodexo and the Center for Campus Sustainability has been working hard to incorporate local food into the PSC student diet. This week, table tents were displayed on multiple tables in the Lakeside dining hall featuring apples from Red Jacket Orchards and milk from Byrne Dairy.
Red jacket Orchards has been in the Nicholson family for three generations. At the orchard, they have grown apples and summer fruits including berries, currants, cherries, peaches, and plums. The orchard is also home to the largest Apricot orchard on the East Coast.
Byrne Dairy, a company that dates back to 1933 – where they once delivered milk with horse and buggies – has expanded beyond milk to many more dairy products as the years progress. They strive to help organizations who are in need of financial support.
It’s 6:45 AM. The fog is thick and heavy, and the grass is soaked with the Adirondack morning dew. As I walk through the row of tall white pines, the crops, our crops – all of the vegetables that I, together with the students from the summer semester Culinary 260 (The St. Regis) class – planted during the early summer, are slowly becoming visible through the dense fog.
This is my third semester being involved with The St. Regis Class. First I was a student in the class during the Fall 2015 semester and now, the Fall 2016 semester is my second semester working as the Chef Instructor’s assistant. I was honored to be offered this position, based on the work that I did in the St. Regis during my time as a student.
The St. Regis is a very special and important class. This became clear to me shortly after I started as a student. When I began to understand that the premise of the class was centered around the source of the products we would use and serve, I was eager to jump head-first into the program. We would be sourcing most of our food from local farms and dairies, and visiting many of these farms, not only learning about the products themselves, but also about the farms and the farmers who produce them. Sustainability and responsibility – that is the future of the culinary industry.
Today, the informed diner – the people who are spending money for a dining experience – are more interested in knowing that their food was responsibly sourced and sustainably produced than they are in getting fussed over. Or having extravagant food sculptures and perfect tourne cuts on their plates that were produced by wasting 20 to 30 percent of the fruit or vegetable, which incidentally may have been grown god-knows-where by god-knows-who. The informed public in modern times is far more impressed by a chef who understands the importance of sustainability and who not only sources their foods and products responsibly, but also has a healthy understanding of where and who that food has come from. It is important that we as chefs, prepare food with the same passion and hard work that the farmers put into producing the ingredients.
The St. Regis prepares students to not only know, respect, and understand the foods that we use and where they come from, but also to prepare menus based on the availability of locally-sourced products. Also, we learn both to create refined dishes of great quality, and also to apply these skills practically. Each semester, the students in the St. Regis class operate a full-service restaurant serving an exciting and modern menu based on foods grown and produced right here in our local region. Many people talk about doing things sustainably and responsibly, but few can walk the walk in the way the St. Regis Cafe does. Between the food and products that the St. Regis sources from local farms and dairies, and the food that we grow ourselves in our gardens, we are executing menus that are up to 90 percent local.
This morning, as I arrive at Gould’s Garden in order to harvest fresh vegetables that we will be served in the St. Regis Cafe later this afternoon, I think about how lucky I am. I survey the beautiful vegetables that the students have planted and cared for throughout the summer, and now into the fall, and feel lucky not only because I am gaining valuable experience, but also because I am experiencing a little piece of my dream.
I have always dreamed of owning a restaurant and inn on a farm, and of harvesting vegetables each morning from my gardens, and creating dishes and menus based on my freshly-picked produce. In the St. Regis I am getting to experience a piece of that dream and I am continuing to learn, each day.
As I walk around the garden, pride swells within me. Not only did the class that I am working with plant many different types of vegetables, but together we cared for those vegetables and produced a bumper crop that we have been featuring on our menus. I gather my baskets of zucchini and the patty pan squash that will be grilled and served as one of our entrees today, and I look across the garden at the raised beds that are brimming with colorful healthy heads of lettuce and rows of hearty dark green and purple kale. The lettuce and kale did especially well this season, and thinking of new and creative ways to use all of our kale and lettuce became an exciting challenge. Traditionally, that is how great dishes, recipes, and entire styles of cuisine are born: Creative people taking foods and products that are available locally and seasonally, and presenting them in such a way that elevates their quality while respecting their integrity.
Working in the St. Regis Cafe has by far been the most challenging and most rewarding experience of my time at Paul Smith’s College. I have realized how valuable the St. Regis experience is during recent employment experiences in the private industry. My knowledge of and familiarity with seasonal, local products has helped me immensely when I was able to demonstrate creative and efficient applications. I credit my time at the St. Regis for some of the great employment offers that I have had lately. Last winter break I worked as the chef at a historic Inn in Essex, NY, and that led to an offer to return after graduation as their permanent “Head Chef.” The offer was very flattering, and it felt good to know that I had made such a good impression by working hard, but I also know that I have a bright future ahead of me, and at the time it was still a long while before graduation; I was not ready to commit to anything, then.
On this chilly late September morning as the growing season nears an end – I’m wandering through Gould’s Garden, as I have done on many mornings over the past several months – caring for, inspecting, and harvesting our vegetables. This morning is a little bit different for me. This morning my pride is even greater and more intense as I gather all of my vegetables. I am not only experiencing a little piece of my dream through my job at the St. Regis, this time I am actually preparing to live my dream; unfolding and coming to fruition in real time, right now, before my eyes. Because of what I feel is the knowledge and experience that I have gained at the St Regis, as well as the hard work that I have done, I have recently had an amazing opportunity present itself to me: I was asked to take over ownership of a successfully operating restaurant and catering business at a beautiful Inn on a working farm in Westport, NY. After I graduate, I will be going to my own restaurant, on a beautiful farm, and I will build my dream.
This article was pulled from The Apollos. Click here to read it on their site.
Several weeks ago we were able to harvest our first batch of student grown and student harvested Oyster Mushrooms. Mushroom patches were purchased with a Paul Smith’s College Campus Sustainability Fund Grant from Fungi Perfecti.com. Everyday, twice a day, the mushrooms were sprayed with water, this helps the mushrooms grow by keeping him moist. The mushrooms are covered with a plastic bag that has holes poked into it. The mushroom patch breathes through these holes; mushrooms will also grow through these holes.
During the first 7-10 days is when we first started to see the primordia, which is the earliest stage of mushroom formation. It wasn’t until 3 or 4 days later that the primordia started to mature and reach full maturity. Once the mushrooms reached this stage we moved 4 or 5 patches “bags” into the dining room, using them as a center piece for the room. Our mission as a farm to table restaurant is to educate our customers and provide them with a visual as to where and how their food is being grown. Throughout the week we offered a special oyster mushroom dish, which seemed to be enjoyed by everyone who ordered it.
On Friday we did a special presentation of the mushrooms in our dining hall. Kids seemed to be the most “wowed” by the mushrooms. We had finished our mushroom supply that week. The cool thing about the mushroom patch is that it will regrow, even after the first harvest. As long as they are misted and maintained, we should be able to keep harvesting once the mushrooms mature again. The experience of growing mushrooms that we actually use in the kitchen has opened my mind to new ideas and uses of locally grown products.
Produced by, Tyler Hinkle-Maler
Garden Assistant and St. Regis Restaurant Student