CHAUTAUQUA - The schedule for the third annual Chautauqua in June Learning Festival, May 31-June 16 now includes introductory workshops in growing hops and identifying wild edibles. An increasingly popular subject due to the growth in home and micro-breweries, the hops workshop offers practical knowledge and skills for both the casual gardener as well as the commercial farmer. Fungi, Foraging, and Feasting will help foodies of all interest levels identify and forage wild edibles. Chautauqua in June celebrates farms, food and drink with learning experiences that showcase Chautauqua County's rich agricultural heritage.
Hops, a crop that thrived in New York state over a century ago, are in high demand due to the phenomenal growth and interest in brewing. In addition, last year New York state passed the Farm Brewery Law which will require a percentage of hops and other agricultural products used in New York state labeled beer to be grown within the state. Home and micro brewers and crop farmers will be especially interested in this new hops production workshop. Held at the Cornell Lake Erie Research and Extension Laboratory in Portland, integrated pest management specialist Tim Weigle and hops specialist Steve Miller along with commercial hop growers and extension staff, will share their knowledge and experience in growing and using hops. The eight-hour workshop will include both classroom instruction and onsite experience in the Research Laboratory's hop yard, and participants will learn about what it takes to grow hops including soil preparation, pest control, irrigation and trellising.
Local brewers will also be on hand to discuss the brewing process and the growing market for hops. According to Dustin Hazer, head brewer at Southern Tier Brewing Company, there are more than 80 craft breweries in New York state alone that need the ingredients for making beer, and today's demand for locally grown hops far exceeds the regional supply. Hazer added, "there are hundreds of varietals of hops, each with its own flavor and aroma profiles and acid composition that can be combined and blended to create different beers."
In the Fungi, Foraging and Feasting workshop, chef and mushroom hunter Garrett Taylor (not pictured) and forager Harold Reynolds (front, right) will lead a tasty culinary learning adventure at the Green Heron Farm on Wait Corners Road between Panama and Sherman.
In the Fungi, Foraging and Feasting workshop, chef and mushroom hunter Garrett Taylor, and forager Harold Reynolds will lead a tasty culinary learning adventure at the Green Her-on Farm on Wait Corners Road between Panama and Sherman. Participants will learn to identify, harvest, preserve and savor at least ten different wild edibles available in springtime. These might include leafy greens like dandelions and Indian cucumbers, edible flowers like daylily buds and cattail shoots, ramps, leeks and chives, wild strawberries, and herbs. Farmer Steve Rockcastle will lead a tour of the shiitake mushroom yard and help participants make a shiitake log to take home. Then, Chef Taylor will present a sampling of mushrooms, plants and farm products while participants share a tasting menu created from the day's adventures. The foraging workshop is appropriate for all ages. Participants should expect to do a fair amount of walking.
The Chautauqua in June festival schedule also includes several returning workshops that have been successful during past festivals. For the third year, Amish Flair tour guide Carol Lorenc will take participants through the old order Amish communities in Chautauqua and Cattaraugus counties, stopping at farms and shops and gathering food, farming supplies and garden art to take home.
Certified Master Gardener Dr. Michael Jabot at SUNY Fredonia will instruct participants on establishing and managing an organic garden as well as composting with worms. Johnson Estate Winery will again offer a Sunday Morning Vineyard Walk, a two-mile walk about the farm for the morning inspection of the vineyards with Fredrick Johnson, third generation owner of the winery.