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June 22, 2018
By ANDY FLYNN - Editor ( , Lake Placid News

LAKE PLACID - Summer is the most exciting time to eat in Essex County. Not only can consumers find locally grown and produced food that's in season, but they can find it nearby at farmers markets, grocery stores and restaurants.

There is also a tradition of food at summer festivals, whether it's the Essex County Fair in Westport or the I Love BBQ and Music Festival in Lake Placid. It seems that no matter where people congregate publicly or privately, food is at the center of the social scene.

For those not acutely tuned in to the locavore scene, Adirondack Harvest can help. This group, a project of Cornell Cooperative Extension in Westport, offers a website - - that connects consumers to food producers through an online map and booklet, "The Adventurer's Local Food Guide to Essex County, New York."

Article Photos

Eat strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries throughout the summer.
(News photo — Andy Flynn)

"Today, Essex County is a national beacon for the small farm movement" the booklet states, "having inspired and attracted diversified vegetable operations, small batch creameries, grass-fed dairies and meat farms, organic grain growers and full-diet farms."

The food guide explains why Essex County has such a diverse range of produce. It's all about topography and its relationship to agricultural zones.

"Essex County has a range of microclimates from its warmest Lake Champlain Coast (5a) to highest elevation cold pockets (3b)," the booklet states.

Driving from Westport on Lake Champlain to Lake Placid in the High Peaks region, it's apparent that the county's diverse topography has a profound impact on agriculture. Westport, for example, is 226 feet above sea level, and the village of Lake Placid, is 1,800 feet above sea level.

For food producers, that means they have challenges to deal with depending on their location. In Lake Placid, where the soil is acidic and thin and the growing season is short, the only way to produce warm-weather crops such as tomatoes, peppers or eggplant is in a greenhouse. Closer to Lake Champlain, farmers can get grow warm-weather crops outside. Even grapes can be grown in some of the county's microclimates.

For consumers, this diversity in topography means there is a diversity in the food they can put on their tables, especially during the summer. We have vegetable farms, dairies, cheese producers, meat producers, bakeries, orchards and maple syrup producers. We also have a growing number of breweries and distilleries.

More restaurants are discovering these flavors and featuring local food on their menus, creating another market for producers and another venue for consumers to taste Essex County products.

As springtime ends, let the summer eating begin.


Farmers markets

-Lake Placid: 2-6 p.m. Wednesdays, Jewtraw Park, Station Street

-Schroon Lake: 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. Thursdays, town of Schroon parking lot

-Willsboro: 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. Thursdays, south of Champlain National Bank on Route 22

-Elizabethtown: 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. Fridays, Adirondack History Center Museum

-Lewis: 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. Saturdays, Bear Necessities, Stowerville Road

-Saranac Lake: 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. Saturdays, Riverside Park, River Street

-Ticonderoga: 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. Saturdays, 1114 Wicker St.

-Keene: 9:30 a.m. - 2 p.m. Sundays, Marcy Field, Route 73



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