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POV: Keeping summer spirit is no pickle

The author is the District 8 promotion and education representative for New York Farm Bureau representing Albany, Fulton, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, Schenectady and Washington counties. Her family owns and operates a 400 acre dairy farm in Montgomery County. In addition, she works for the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York where she connects farmers and others within the food industry to the Food Bank, helping alleviate hunger in Eastern New York.

This summer will go down in the record books as one of the hottest and driest on record. We’ve been lucky in New York. The worry of drought damage hasn’t disappeared, but the summer storms have finally hit parched fields. In my farm family at least, people are breathing a little easier. And while analysts and economists predict a rise in food costs come fall, I’m currently focused on savoring the taste of summer for as long as possible – well into winter.

Summertime is the peak for New York vegetables and right now farms are ripe with edible possibilities. My family owns and operates a dairy farm. This means that the fields are full of corn and soybeans, both crops intended solely for the animals we keep and care for. However, our garden is pretty pathetic, thanks to a fertilizer mishap by my father. Luckily, we are still able to reap the bounty of fresh veggies summer offers.

Anyone can easily enjoy the delicious harvest New York farmers provide. Local farm stands, farmers markets and produce auctions are great resources for fresh, local produce – either a few ears of sweet corn for dinner or a few bushels of beans to pickle, can or freeze. My father and mother spend Saturday or Sunday afternoons doing the latter. Freezing farm fresh veggies is an economical, convenient and amazingly delicious endeavor. One afternoon’s labor and $25 or so provides green beans as a side dish for nearly a year. And don’t get me started on the corn which tastes just as sweet and summery in January as it does right off the cob in July.

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