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AskTP – So Much For Goals

March 24, 2015

Well, so much for answering questions as they were asked. It’s good to have goals. It’s better to achieve them, but maybe I’ll do better next time around.

This past week has seen an unprecedented amount of traffic to the FLB, and it’s coming from all sides. We’ve got farm advocates, animal rights folks, small government backers, ethical omnivores, and a whole lot more. It’s really amazing to see how this incident has brought together opposing sides of multiple issues towards one common goal.

Of course, it’s a lot easier from the outside. Surely, despite all the support, this has been unimaginably hard on farmer Josh and his family. At least West Wind Acres’ GoFundMe campaign seems to be going well. In the first few days, donations seem to be coming in at a consistent pace of roughly $5k per day, all in small increments.

While Josh sorts this out (his hearing is tonight, if you want to get out and support him in person) things continue to move on at the FLB. There are questions that need answers. And until the legal matter is settled, I’m just going to leave questions about WWA out of this roundup. Fortunately, I have a significant pile of other questions to tackle.

So without any further ado, onto the questions.

EPT starts us off with something easy:
Please educate me CSA?

Sure. It’s an acronym for Community Supported Agriculture. Pretty much you buy a share of a local farm for the season. The farm I buy into divides its harvest into about 1,000 shares. So I get 0.1% of the harvest every week. In lean years it’s a reasonable amount of food. In lush years it’s an avalanche of biodynamic local goodness that is nearly impossible for my family of four to eat through in a week. Deanna Fox put together a great list of local CSAs a few years back. It’s worth a look.

Burnt my Fingers didn’t quite get my concern about conflating craft with cult:
I’m scratching my head as to what you’re referring to here. Are you talking about Heady Topper and Farmstead? Or Bell’s Hop Slam maybe? The first two are indeed made in low quantities and you have to go to the source to get them; the third is a seasonal that’s made in limited quantities and sells out quickly.
It adds breadth to the tasting experience to score one of these quaffs, but it’s hardly what craft beer is all about. How about looking at quality, rather than scarcity?

Maybe you aren’t seeing what I’ve been seeing. But I am indeed talking about beers like Heady and Farmstead. It’s not so much limited run seasonals as it is these super high quality, super low production operations that need to be kept in context. I have nothing against great producers who instead of cutting corners add even more corners to make a product that sparkles like a thousand diamonds.

But it’s important to understand these things for what they are. These are cult beers. Indeed, I was pushing a quality model for the definition of craft that could include larger production operations. But in every enthusiast group, there is always a segment that dismisses easier-to-find products as inferior.

Jack C. was hoping I had tried our local limited production mead:
As a side note, have you tried anything from Helderberg Meadworks in Duanesburg? I’m intrigued.

I have not. Back in November I had hoped to buy a bottle and bring it for Thanksgiving dinner. But the store didn’t have it in stock. Now I need to wait for another occasion when I’ll feel like drinking mead. Maybe the fall?

Josh K. is trying to keep ahead of the fussy little tours:
Capital Region brewery tour on the horizon?

At one point I had thought about putting together a Tour de Beer, but that looks different than a brewery tour. The Tour de Beer is a walking tour that effectively is evaluating the freshness of kegs and the cleanliness of beer lines at local area bars. I have no idea if that will ever happen, but I think it would be fun.

Jessica M. Pasko is more a cider girl than a hop head, but that’s because of celiac:
I’d really like to do a cider trade with someone one of these day. I’d like to try a Santa Cruz cider side-by-side with an Albany, NY-area cider. Anyone down?

I can’t even get a letter in the mail to my nana. You don’t want to wait on me to try and figure out how to put cider in the post. Can’t you be your own courier? And don’t you have family out here? Please tell me you aren’t hiding your cider drinking from your mother. Because I’ll totally rat you out.

Burnt my Fingers was confused about which hemisphere India occupies:
F*ck, you’re right, who knew? (Profusser, these are all questions.)

I knew. But you did make me question my knowledge for a moment there.
(Officially, the other questions were answered by another commenter).

jenh718 questions the good judgement of Good Morning Cafe:
So if the bagels are coming from NYC, how fresh will they be? Bagels are pretty much only good for one day. The day they are made.
Have you tried their latkes? I finally made it to Parkside Eatery for the first time and their latkes were killer. Even after sitting for a while.

You know, we’re not that far from NYC. A bakery in the city can make a ton of bagels before sunrise and they could be up here in the Capital Region before a place opens for breakfast. It’s true. But what I’m looking for isn’t fresh bagels. I want hot bagels. Or at the very least, warm bagels. And those you can’t get delivered.

As far as latkes go, I haven’t tried any of the regional specimens. It’s a weird thing about being Jewish. For me, they are a seasonal food, only to be had during Chanukah. There’s nothing to keep people from having cut fir trees in their house all year long, it’s just that doing it once a year provides a special feeling. Latkes are my Christmas trees.

arosoff is deli hunting
Where is Ben’s?

208 W. 38th. It’s a shorter drive than you think.

-R has identified the reason why you should stop reading immediately and find a new blog:
Daniel, are you getting soft in your advancing years? Do I sense moderation in your tone? IMO, that’s a good thing, since everything has its own time and place, Sonic and The Crimson Sparrow can happily occupy two very different niches in the gastronomic sphere.

Sigh. Yes. It’s true. I don’t want to talk about it. Something has changed, and I’m pretty sure you’ve hit the nail on the head. But I am less convinced it’s a good thing. There are still issues where I hold the line, like hummus and the bagel sandwich to name a few. But I’m totally getting softer.

chrisck wants to know when something is a treat:
Just curious: how infrequently (on average) would you eat something for it to be deemed a “treat”? I ask this of myself. Seems like treats have become almost the norm in the American diet. How many different treats can one consume before a diet is dominated more by the treats than the healthy food?

The answer isn’t a number, the answer is a state of mind. And it’s going to change person to person. Personally, I would argue that one’s entire diet should be made up of treats. A treat is something in which you delight. Treats bring pleasure and joy.

Every meal–every time we put food in our mouths–we have an opportunity not just for sustenance, but for happiness. For some that can come from the mere fact of having enough to eat. Others will require something more visually stimulating. Some might revel in new experiences. A handful of people will get intense satisfaction from meals made entirely of plants. The big trick is trying to learn how to configure your notion of what’s a treat, so that your pleasure doesn’t come at the expense of your health.

boya3706 is even more down on Dunkin’ Donuts than the Profussor:
Does Dunkin even still fry their doughnuts? Anyone actually seen a fryer there? Or do we have to assume they’re baked, or fried possibly not so fresh?

Oh, I’m sure they do. They just do their frying offsite in corporate kitchens. I am told that the fried donuts are then frozen and defrosted, but I have no reason to believe the credibility of that claim.

Dave R. had a far out idea for the Tour de Soft Serve:
Marthas in Lake George area – far from Albany, Yes; Delicious? YES!!!

Lake George would be an entirely different tour from Saratoga Springs. There are enough places up north of Saratoga Springs to justify its own circuit. But based on the attendance on the cider donut tour that took us further upstate, I wouldn’t hold your breath for an official FLB outing.

KB @ Home-Baked Happiness had a suggestion closer to home:
Martha’s is a good choice, despite the drive. Also, perhaps JJ’s Snack Bar in Ballston Spa?

That’s a much more sensible idea. I am quite tempted by a Saratoga Springs ice cream outing. I do need to get up there more, and this would be a great excuse.

Klab is asking for requests from chef Josh:
Any chance you could get him to share his Posole roja recipe?! I’ve yet to find any Mexican restaurant in this region which offers this dish.

I don’t think I can get him to do anything. Posole season is coming to a close anyhow. But I hear they have it at the Mexican Market in Albany on Sundays. It’s always best to call ahead about these things though. You never know when a place in this town will decide to take a day off. Like coming to this blog expecting a few hundred words and finding nothing but a small handful of pictures. It’s like I’ve gone native.

One Comment leave one →
  1. March 24, 2015 5:20 pm

    Is the Mexican Market even open anymore? I’ve tried to go there twice during normal hours and they were closed, and I’ve tried calling…no one picks up!

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