The days are getting longer, the air sweeter and this past week I had a satisfying amount of time with my hands in the soil at the Ithaca Community Gardens. As I get settled in here, I am starting to make contact with some of the local farms and orchards. Little Tree Orchards about 8 miles outside of Ithaca, has been making a showing at the local farmers market and also presses cider that is sold at the food cooperative just down the street from me. They were still selling a few varieties from last years harvest including Northern Spy, which I grabbed for a snack as I perused the rest of the market this past Saturday. They also offer an "Apple a Day" CSA. West Haven Farm is located just up the road from me and grows organic apples as part of there larger market-garden and CSA program. They were also at the farmers market this past Saturday, offering some of last year's Ida Reds. Black Diamond Farm, in near-by Trumansburg or T-burg as it is called by the locals, raises as variety of heirloom apples and also devotes a section of their orchard to antique French and English apples grown for hard cider. They sell their crop at the farmers market during the harvest season.
Although I have recently come under the employ of the vegetarian classic Moosewood Restaurant here in Ithaca, I still plan on finding time to spend in some of the local orchards this summer. Come picking season I hope to find myself, at least some days, with a picking bag over my shoulders and an apple in hand.