A Pennsylvania traveler called the office yesterday, pining for the delicious cabbage and cauliflower purchased here years ago when visiting the Finger Lakes. The caller is returning to our area next week and wanted to know where more cabbage and cauliflower could be purchased.
We pointed the caller to a popular farm stand on Route 5 and 20 in the town of Hopewell, about halfway between Canandaigua and Geneva. Loaded in wagons in front of a quaint white farmhouse, this stand not only is bursting with cabbage and cauliflower, but also winter squashes, peppers, and … well, just take a look at the sign and you get an idea.
While our vineyards often steal the spotlight on our agricultural marquee, Ontario County and a large part of Western New York is cabbage country, and this time of year, the fields are full of bright, heavy cabbage heads (some weighing up to 15 pounds). A lot of this cabbage is sold directly to consumers through farm stands and farm markets, a lot is shipped to other markets for coleslaw, and a lot is made into sauerkraut at GLK Foods in nearby Shortsville.
Sauerkraut is so engrained in our farming culture here that the village of Phelps hosts the Phelps Sauerkraut Weekend each summer. (And here is another piece of cabbage trivia to impress your friends. The first successful mechanical cabbage harvester was developed in Ontario County (in Seneca Castle) in the late 1960s by a gentleman named Clifford Kunes Jr.)
September and October are the foodiest months of the year in the Finger Lakes, at least in the humble opinion of this food lover, and so I wanted to give visitors some insider tips on where to buy farm-fresh produce, either to enjoy while you’re here, or if you are traveling domestically, to take home with you (those cabbages store very well, by the way).
Farmers markets. Most of them run through late October, so you still have time to load up. Check out our 2015 schedule of Ontario County farmers markets. http://visitfingerlakes.com/insider-diaries/2015/6/what-smells-summer-and-tastes-even-better/
U-pick apples. The Apple Farm in Victor invites apple lovers to go out to the orchards and pick their own apples. After all that hard picking, you can reward yourself with some delicious cider.
Red Jacket Orchards. This Geneva farm store makes all kinds of delicious blends of fresh fruit juices, many of them made with their apples. Of course, you can also buy fresh apples and other produce here as well.
You want grapes? You got them! Pick table grapes on the scenic hills of Jerome’s U-Pick vineyards in Naples. It is just about one of my favorite things to do in the fall. These grapes smell as wonderful as they taste, and including them in a picnic spread with along with a crusty loaf of bread, a bottle of Finger Lakes wine or beer and some great New York state cheddar and you have the perfect reward for your efforts.