Plovgh is a cooperative of farmers, growers, and ranchers that sell directly to their customers.
Samascott Orchards - Kinderhook, NY
Harvesting date: August to late November 2013
The only apples native to North America are crab apples, which were once called “common apples”.
Apples originated in Central Asia and grow on small, deciduous trees. Grown for thousands of years in Asia and Europe, apples were first brought to North America by European colonists.There are more than 7,500 known cultivated varieties of apples, all having a wide range of differing characteristics. Different varieties are bred for various tastes and uses, including cooking, eating fresh and cider production. Domestic apples are usually propagated by grafting, although wild apples can grow readily from seed. Apple trees blossom in spring and the fruit matures in autumn.
In most grocery stores the only apples you’ll be choosing from often include Red and Golden Delicious, Granny Smith and Fuji. At Samascott Orchards, they grow more than 50 varieties. Here’s a taste of some they are harvesting now:
Originating from Japan, Akane apples are red with white flesh. Their skin is firm - as opposed to crisp - and juicy. Their flavor is a good balance of sweet and sharp.
Earligold apples are medium to large, round-conical apples first grown in Washington. They have a greenish, yellow skin and are a little tart.
Developed by the New York State Ag Experiment Station at Cornell, they are an easy to grow blend of McIntosh and Delicious. These apples are an intense marroon-red, overlying a light green skin. Empires are sweet with a crisp texture and bright white flesh, and are ideal because they do not bruise easily.
Gingergolds were first discovered near an orchard in Virginia. Its color, shape and long stalk are similar to that of a Golden Delicious. It keeps well and can last up to several weeks in the fridge. They have a mild sweetness that can also be a bit sharp.
Jersey Macs are a McIntosh bred variety, developed at Cornell. It is a medium sized red apple with yellow/green splashes. Flesh is crisp and juicy with a tart flavor.
A cross between a Jonathan and a McIntosh, Jonamacs are medium sized, firm, crisp and juicy. They are a dark red with undertones of green.
Mix between Gala and Akane it was developed in the 1970’s by Japanese and New Zealand researchers. It is sweet like a Gala, but has more acidity. It’s skin is russet and speckled and with a yellowish flesh.
A larger fruit with glossy skin that was developed in New Jersey. The skin is shades of bright red and light green, and the flesh is cream colored and coarse, with a crisp, sweet flavor. They are best eaten fresh from the tree when the fruits are ripe as they can lose quality quickly and becomes mealy if not harvested.
An early season dessert apple originally from New Jersey, the name “Vista Bella” comes from the Guatamalan highlands where it is also grown. The apples have light yellow-green skin and spots of flushed deep red where it is exposed to the sun. It has a summery, fruity, juicy flavor. They don’t keep as well as other varieties so it is recommended to keep them in the fridge rather than the counter.
Yes, the exclamation point is supposed to be there. These apples were bred at the University of Minnesota where they were developed for cold-hardiness. They have a sweet-tart taste and are round and deep red with undertones of yellow. The flesh is white and crisp and has a good texture for baking.
Baked apples (Food52) / Apple pancakes (Smitten Kitchen) / Beet, Apple & Fig Salad (Busy in Brooklyn) / Chutney (The Sweet Beet) / Salted Caramel Tart (frites & fries) / Vegan apple biscuits (Green Kitchen Stories)
Find Gala and Summer Treat varieties from Samascott Orchards at Foragers Market (both Chelsea & Dumbo) this week!
On Lucky Dog Farm, up in the Catskills, the crew has been waiting on the warm weather to begin planting in the fields. While some farms have gotten an early start growng a selection of crops indoors in preparation for this season, their normal schedule for transplanting them into the field had been postponed. This spring has been taking it’s time, unlike last year when the warm weather arrived two weeks early.
Agriculture is a profession that is not known for it’s predictability. Last year’s growing season was tumultuous across all regions. A warm winter in the northeast didn’t allow for the ground to freeze, which normally provides a natural defense against pests. Then as soon as the weather began to warm up, they experienced extreme temperatures which left the fall apple harvest hard hit. This was followed up in the summer by wide spread droughts across most of the midwest.
After a long winter, and with a memory of snow still remaining in some areas upstate, farms are getting a late start north of the city this year. Over the last couple of weeks it has been visible at the farmers market with the tuber and root vegetable lined tables. But what’s not short of hopeful is a basket of spring garlic, preparing us for the procession of rhubarb, asparagus and peas that are soon to follow.Also, a little heads up - we hear Richard at Lucky Dog Farm has some ramps that are being harvested this week. And we happen to know where you can find them.
I’ll be darned if I get another plastic bin of anonymous spinach that’s a little sopped from its journeys. The more you think about it, the more you want greens that are full of life. And if you want lively greens, they’d better not spend very much time out of the field.
So, go to Foragers Market, Greene Grape Provisions, and Rose Water this week to find crops that got to the city within hours of leaving the farms. Taste that Thai Basil for me, people.
Hydroponic Lettuce Mix, Thai basil, and sweet basil
Aqua Vita Farms - Sherrill, New York
Free range eggs
Fitzgerald Farms - Kerhonkson, New York
Onions, shallots, cippolinis
Glebocki Farms - Goshen, New York
Grassfed and finished beef brisket
Good Fence Farm - Fort Edward, New York
If you have any questions please get in touch with us at email@example.com.
Ah, the food system. It’s a mess, huh? Seems like farms, trucking companies, commodity brokers, even retailers that get to gargantuan scale really muck things up for everyone else. That’s why we’re excited to bring small businesses like Matthew Clancy’s into the Plovgh network. Have a look at this local transporter who got your crops into your neighborhood this week.
Transporter’s name: Matthew J. Clancy, Clancy’s Transportation Solutions
Homebase: Rotterdam Junction, New York
Years in operation: We are a newly formed business.
What do you drive? 2010 Chevrolet Express van.
What do you do? We offer the best solution to people and businesses that need something moved across town or across country. We provide our clients with a low cost alternative to the big name companies (emphasis added) with the care only a family owned small business can offer!
Why did you start this business? What’s unique or compelling about how you operate? I started this business to find a more fulfilling way to provide for my family’s quality of life. After years of working for the State of New York as a manager, the time spent away from my wife and children coupled with the fact that I felt uninspired by my work led me to leave it behind in order to focus on making Clancy’s Transportation Solutions (CTS) a success. CTS is a family owned and operated small business aimed at helping our local community and beyond. We are focused on providing custom transportation solutions to our clients that result in the highest levels of customer satisfaction.
Welcome, Matthew! The maiden voyage was a success and we look forward to many more.
We’d like to extend a hearty welcome to Mark, who drives his first Plovgh route today, connecting farms’ harvest with New York City. We met Mark through Slow Food NYC and we’re excited to fuel the movement of harvest from source to city.
Transporter’s name: Mark Jaffe, The Fresh Connection
Homebase: New York City
Years in operation: 1
What do you do? The Fresh Connection is an NYC-based company that provides transportation and logistics services for food producers who are independent, artisanal, and environmentally and economically sustainable.
Why did you start this business? What’s unique or compelling about how you operate? Through talking to people and through my own previous experience in the local and sustainable food world I saw that the groundwork has been laid in New York City for a strong local food system with many small- to mid-size farmers producing high quality product and customers eager to receive these goods. There are also many groups and individuals working to build networks for the local food system. However, these networks often do not fully address the needs and challenges of actually transporting product from Point A to Point B (emphasis added). I started The Fresh Connection with the aim of creating an efficient model for product delivery in and around NYC and providing the local food system with an affordable transportation and delivery service.
The Fresh Connection is unique in that we combine practical knowledge of the food distribution industry and the logistics surrounding it with an ideological belief that we must create a food system that supports independent producers whose products are environmentally and economically sustainable, with an emphasis on locally produced goods. We offer a flexible model and are not looking to simply replicate the traditional distributor model but to help in creating a new distribution system that addresses the needs of a local and sustainable food system.
Say hello to Mark when you see him along his route. This kind of collaboration is the beginning of the change we want to see. To get your farm on one of the Plovgh routes, or to order from the farms on Plovgh, get in touch here!
Last week the Plovgh team reconvened in Downtown Las Vegas. Aside from time spent brainstorming and strategizing, we had a chance to check out all of the projects and businesses that are beginning to grow and reshape the culture in the neighborhood. There is a unique energy there and the innovative community of folks who are taking part in the transformation are cultivating a more vibrant and sustainable vision for a part of the city that has long been neglected.
We found ourselves on a rainy Friday morning at the Downtown Third farmers market, drawn by the promise of a solid cup of coffee as well as to meet some of the regional producers responsible for growing food for the downtown community.
Growers from Nevada, California, and Arizona made up the handful of stands and the diversity of products, at a market in the desert no less, was remarkable. Pyramids of root vegetables, alongside colorful cauliflower and young asparagus filled the room. The varieties of citrus – limequats, kishu tangerines, blood oranges - were a refreshing addition compared to the bins upon bins of apples we’ve grown accustomed to at the east coast markets all winter. The highlight of our visit that day was chatting with Rosalind and Randy of Bloomin’ Desert Herb Farm about raising culinary and medicinal herbs. We learned about their farm-grown, freshly dried herbal teas and collection of seasonings, including one made with Mexican Hatch Chiles – XHot with Habanero pepper is where it’s at.
It was a great visit and one that only made us more excited to start exploring the Southwest and meeting producers there that we can start connecting with the Vegas community.
One reason we are building Plovgh is to re-connect people with the source of their food. Drawing on the relationships that once linked producers and consumers, we are leveraging technology to shift the current agricultural transaction and change how the supply chain operates.
The soil food web outlined above with the help of Dr. Elaine Ingham and the folks behind the Lexicon of Sustainability is a natural example of sustainable connectivity. It shows how ecosystems work to maintain balance and manage the interconnectedness of organisms that provide healthy soil necessary for growing food. It’s interesting to think of Plovgh in this perspective, coordinating all of the people that make up a supply chain to develop a more efficient and reliable way through which they can engage with one another. It is an alternative take on an outdated system, and one that aims to foster an approach that is more healthy and sustainable.