DIY Local Foods

By Shawn Dell Joyce

Next Sunday, the Wallkill Valley will be treated to a local foods/homesteader’s delight. The Hudson Valley Food Network is sponsoring a “Seed and Skill Share” from 11 am to 3 pm at Hodgson Farm and Garden Center on Albany Post Road in Walden. If you ever wanted to grow your own foods, be a homesteader, or just look like one, it will be the best five bucks you ever spend!

A skill share, according to organizer Meghan Murphy, “is one whole amazing day of workshops and demonstrations by professional and amateur local food and farm experts.” You can learn about everything from raising chickens to getting rid of garden pests in organic gardens in this one-day intensive.

Barbara Taylor-Laino has been giving workshops for six years at Midsummer Farm, an organic CSA  in Warwick called Midsummer Farm. She will be sharing her expertise in a workshop called; “Backyard Organic Chicken Rearing.” She will review the simple steps to easily and safely keep chickens on a small scale in your backyard or small farm and with a focus on keeping them organically.

Dina Falconi of Wild Earth Programs, will demonstrate how to use local dried plants for herbal infusions and kefir soda in a workshop called; “Creating Water Kefir Sodas.” Dina is a clinical herbalist focused on food activism and nutritional healing. She has been teaching classes on the use of herbs for food, medicine and pleasure, including wild food foraging and cooking, for more than twenty years.  She is a founding member of the Northeast Herbal Association and author of “Earthy Bodies & Heavenly Hair.” If you bring a jar, she’ll share her special grains with you.

 Marc Eisenson of the Mid Hudson Mycological Association will tell you all you ever wanted to know about wild shiitake, stropharia and oysters mushrooms and the  ways you can grow them at home or in your yard. Marc Eisenson will discuss how mushrooms grow, demonstrate how to propagate your own spawn, as well as describe the equipment required.

Jay Levine of the Hudson Valley Backyard Farm Company will lead a workshop in Integrated Pest Management. This is a way to control pests or diseases that is especially useful when growing plants organically. Jay has been gardening since he was six years old. He the owner of the Hudson Valley Backyard Farm Company, which installs and maintains organic vegetable gardens and teaches organic gardening and cooking classes.

 Entrepreneur Mimi Fix asks; “Do you have an idea for starting a food business using local ingredients?” Her workshop focuses on refining and developing ideas. Get feedback on what works and learn more about what’s involved with business start-ups. Mimi Fix is the owner of Baking Fix, a culinary consulting business, and wrote “Start and Run a Home-Based Food Business.”

You can also learn the art of “Artisan Sausage Making” from Mark Elia, of Eli’s Catering and Meats. He teaches how to create your own blend of sausage from selecting meat to dreaming up new spice combinations.

Shawn Dell Joyce is an award-winning newspaper columnist and director of the Wallkill River School in Montgomery.

One Response to “DIY Local Foods”

  1. Susan Sharko Says:

    I’ll be there. This sounds like everything I have dedicated my life around. Glad to know others are carrying on in the same mode. This kind of knowledge is truly freeing.

Leave a Reply