Two new workshops have been added to the third annual Chautauqua in June learning festival – Hops Production in the Lake Erie Region and Fungi, Foraging and Feasting. Both are trendy subjects expanding upon the growing farm-to-table movement while showcasing Chautauqua County’s rich agricultural heritage. The hops workshop offers practical knowledge and skills for both the casual gardener as well as the commercial farmer while the foraging workshop will help foodies of all interest levels identify and harvest wild edibles. Chautauqua in June is a learning festival celebrating farms, food and drink, May 31 – June 16, 2013. There are over 30 workshops offered and they take place throughout the county.
Hops are in high demand due the phenomenal growth and interest in brewing, and while New York State used to be the place to grow hops, today the demand far exceeds the regional supply. Last year New York State passed a 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, making the demand for locally grown hops even higher. The hops production workshop, held at the Cornell Lake Erie Research and Extension Laboratory in Portland, NY, will feature integrated pest management specialist, Tim Weigle, and hops specialist, Steve Miller, along with commercial hop growers and extension staff. Home and micro-brewers, crop farmers, and even interested casual gardeners will learn about growing and using hops through classroom instruction as well as onsite experience in the Research Laboratory’s hop yard. Topics will include 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. He explained that there are also hundreds of varietals of hops, each with its own flavor and aroma profiles and acid composition which can be combined and blended to create different beers.
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 Heron Farm on Wait Corners Road between Panama and Sherman, NY. 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 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.
Chautauqua in June is promoted by the Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau and held in collaboration with area businesses, Chautauqua Institution, Jamestown Community College’s Center for Continuing Education, SUNY Fredonia’s Center for Lifelong Learning, the Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce and the Department of Planning and Economic Development. For more information and a schedule of vacation learning events during Chautauqua in June as well as throughout the year, call 1-866-908-4569 or visit the Chautauqua County Visitors Bureau website at www.tourchautauqua.com. You can also view the Chautauqua in June Program Guide online or register for classes through the online Chautauqua in June schedule.