Sustainable living practices, locally grown foods and freshly prepared meals go hand in hand during the Chautauqua in June learning festival held in the lifelong learning tradition popularized by Chautauqua Institution more than 137 years ago. More than 50 workshops pack a three week festival schedule with many promoting the theme of living green through gardening and harvesting practices, do-it-yourself projects, and appreciating local foods, wines and brews.
Green Heron Growers, organic farmers and hosts of the anticipated annual Great Blue Heron Music Festival in Sherman, NY, will hold two workshops including touring an organic farm with a lesson on preparing grass-fed beef, and Having Fun with Fungus: A Shiitake Mushroom Workshop. Owners Steve and Julie Rockcastle specialize in the art of growing mushrooms with Shiitake as their specialty. Participants will prepare and take home a mushroom log and enjoy a lunch featuring Shiitake mushrooms as well as other ingredients grown on the farm.
At Jamestown Community College, master gardeners will offer hands on workshops like building your own Vermicompost Bin, a composting bin for worms, and planting herbs in a bag for handy harvesting on a doorstep or patio. The finished items can easily be transported and enjoyed for the summer and beyond and all materials are included. If woodworking is your hobby, learn to build a solar wood dryer (kiln) in your own backyard.
Workshops on wind power as a green cost saving energy alternative and The Science Behind the Headlines, exploring topics such as global warming, wind energy, nuclear power and more will be offered through SUNY Fredonia Lifelong Learning and Special Programs. Participants will also learn about how SUNY Fredonia is using wind power at its College Lodge retreat center.
For those interested in the health of watersheds, the Chautauqua Lake Watershed Conservancy will offer a lesson in landscaping to protect the lake ecology. Led by Jamie Vanucchi, an instructor from the Cornell College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, participants will learn to select plants to create a beautiful yard while enhancing water quality and habitat functions. Identifying site conditions, and the characteristics and uses of various plant materials will be emphasized during a hands-on activity along the shoreline of Midway State Park on Chautauqua Lake.
The bounty of Chautauqua County and New York State will be celebrated with a farm to table experience as Culinary Institute of America graduate, Chef Warhol and the Athenaeum Hotel at Chautauqua Institution introduce a culinary experience using primary ingredients obtained from local and regional farmers. Participants will learn how to source, design and prepare a special culinary event at home. A selection of local wine and beer pairings with interpretation will highlight this class experience that combines lecture, chef instruction and hands on participation along with lunch and conversation.
A few workshops will highlight ways to preserve ingredients grown in home gardens. Learn to make oregano pesto after harvesting armfuls of fragrant and fresh oregano at Johnson Estate Winery. Participants will prepare leaves and make pesto with quality olive oil, garlic, and cheese. A workshop on canning your own fruits and vegetables will look at two common methods of home canning with an emphasis on food safety.
Other workshops will focus on the emerging trend of local brew pubs and beer tastings. At Ellicottville Brewing Company in Fredonia, head brewer Dan Minner will highlight the history of brewing, different beer styles and their origins, the flavor profile of EBC beers, and the reason for food pairing over a five course meal. The Southern Tier Brewery in Lakewood will demonstrate the brewing process from mash-in to knock out in addition to a beer and cheese pairing with New York cheeses presented by Wegman’s and a Hopsun Fest Beer Stations Dinner in collaboration with Webb’s Captain’s Table in Mayville.
Chautauqua in June will be held June 3 -23, 2011, with classes and workshops held in both indoor and outdoor classrooms across Chautauqua County. Participants can register for workshops online or request a program guide at www.tourchautauqua.com.