On the Cover
Nikita Home Furnishings of Saratoga Springs is a New York manufacturer of high quality, comfort furniture for the places we like to spend time in – the deck and den. Manufacturing in New York is becoming a rarity, and furniture manufacturing has all but disappeared. Defying the odds, Nikita Grigoriev has found a way to not only manufacture furniture, but do it in a way that utilizes regional woods using end cuts with virtually no waste. This maximizing the use of their raw material Nikita likes to refer to as “hyper-efficient.” In fact, any wood residue leftover is used as fuel for the stove that heats the woodshop in the winter, and the sawdust goes to a local farm for animal bedding. Utilizing practically all the wood into their unique designs allows Nikita to price their products competitively with the imports that are now ubiquitous in the furniture industry. And, with Nikita, you get better quality and the innovative design that allows you to “just lean back,”being fully supported in any position.When looking for a new location to set up shop, Nikita chose Broadway in Saratoga Springs, preferring a downtown location to the typical suburban locale that is the destination for furniture stores today. Their location on Broadway is a welcome complement to the already eclectic offerings downtown. Obviously going against the grain, (no pun intended) Nikita Home Furnishings has always been about producing quality, original designs that integrate local resources and labor. Because of their commitment to localism and environmental responsibility, we are proud to honor them as the eco-localizer for the Summer 2010!
INSIDE THIS ISSUE NEWS and VIEWS……………………………………………Page 6 THE WELLNESS DOC……………….…….…………………Page 8 ASK THE ENERGY EXPERT…………………………………Page 9 MONEY MATTERS…………………………………………Page 10 NIKITA INDOOR/OUTDOOR Rethinking Furniture………………………………………Page 12 ECO-LIST……………………………………………………Page 15 ADIRONDACK AMBIANCE Fruits of and Old Farm……………………………………Page 18 BIBLICAL COMMUNITY Creates Alternative to Consumer Society…………………Page 20 ZOLA KIDS Green for the Next Generation……………………………Page 24 HONEST WEIGHT FOOD CO-OP A Treasure Trove of Locally Made Cheeses………………Page 28 4 ecolocalliving.com
Summer 2010 The big news of the Summer of 2010 is no doubt the continuing tragedy of the oil gusher at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. An entire ecosystem is being destroyed;a way of life has been uprooted for at least a generation. It’s easy to play the blame game – BP was negligent, the Federal Government was slow to act….everybody is pointing fingers. I even saw a car pass me on the highway with a hand painted sign on their rear window that stated “BP SUCKS!” Certainly,BP,as the operator of the oil well that exploded,and is now leaking, is culpable for the subsequent pollution and eco-system damage. But BP did not intentionally blow up the oil well – it was a tragic accident.An accident that came from their desire to produce a product that we all want and need – gasoline. Shouldn’t then,some of the blame be pointed inward, at ourselves? After all,BP would not be drilling for oil out in the Gulf of Mexico if nobody wanted their product. But the fact of the matter is,we all want,and need, what BP sells. And everything we do, from driving our cars, to eating our food, to our summer vacation enjoyment is reliant, dependent on the product that BP produces and sells – gasoline! It is our insatiable demand for gasoline and other oil derived products that drives companies like BP to search the world over to find the oil that we all need, want and desire. But now,like Big Finance,Big Oil is too big to fail. Unfortunately,we now have the consequences of its failure….a huge mess! And this mess affects us all. All of humanity. Because all of humanity is reliant upon clean oceans,clean air,and clean soil for our very survival. Despite this tragedy in the Gulf, BP and the other oil companies won’t stop trying to find, produce, and sell the oil products that we all want, need and desire. And there will be another accident. And we will start the blame game all over again. Well, the blame lies within all of us.Until we change our behavior as a society, and choose to live a different lifestyle – a less energy dependent lifestyle,we will continue to soil our nest,pollute our planet,and kill ourselves. The change that needs to be made begins with each of us,in our choices,habits and actions. If each of us uses less energy,then collectively the demand for oil will drop,and BP and the other oil companies will be less likely to drill in deep oceans,build bigger tankers, or compel our governments to engage in warfare. A reduced energy lifestyle is not just for those environmental wackos,it is for all of us. It’s a matter of making new choices. It’s a matter of creating new values. And it is simple to do. The first step is to become aware of how you use energy,and how the things you buy and consume use energy. Some of the options are right here in this Summer edition of eco-LOCAL Living. We can choose to buy locally, reducing transportation miles. Our cover story features Nikita Home Furnishings. Their “hyper-efficient” manufacturing process utilizes every bit of wood to make their unique sofas (don’t use the F-word, they are so much more than futons). Nikita has proven that innovative USA made furniture can compete with imports, creating local jobs with environmental accountability. Also in this issue, we take a look at the unique lifestyle of the Twelve Tribes Community in Cambridge. These people have eschewed the consumer culture of modern America and have instead chosen to live simply and to love each other. They are living the lowenergy lifestyle, and, while not for everybody, their example points to a way to escape the insanity of the modern world. Up in the southern Adirondack town of Thurman, the Rohe family has found their peace with the earth – Ann paints the local landscape and Al makes furniture from the local woods. Inspired by the natural beauty that surrounds them, the Rohes create artful objects that other people enjoy, and somehow, it provides a living for them. They are not living large,but they are living right. These are the stories of the new paradigm of local living. It’s a lower energy, lower density way of being. And while it may seem a bit odd to live simply in a world of wireless mobility, instant access and 24/7 information, those that choose the simple path seem to have a smile on their face more often. Maybe they’ve found something in being quiet, in being local. In being eco-local!
- David DeLozier, Publisher
Summer 2010 â€˘ Issue 15 PUBLISHER / SALES / MARKETING David Delozier 518-858-6866 firstname.lastname@example.org
DESIGN / PRODUCTION Centerline Design 518-883-3872
PHOTOGRAPHY Tom Stock of stockstudiosphotography.com, Tracy Frisch, Stacy Morris, David DeLozier
CONTRIBUTORS Kathleen Quartararo, Patrick Maloney, Harry Moran, Amy Stock, Persis Granger,Tracy Frisch, Stacy Morris, Nancy Muldoon & David DeLozier
ADDRESSES 38 Tamarack Trail Saratoga Springs, NY 12866 ecolocalliving.com By reading and supporting Ecolocal you become part of our team - and help the greater community of the Upper Hudson Valley become a healthier place to live, work and play. Please tell our advertisers you saw them here. Ecolocal Living is published bi-monthly & distributed free of charge to over 300 locations within a 50 mile radius of Saratoga Springs, NY. Ecolocal Living does not guarantee nor warranty any products, services, of any advertisers nor will we be party to any legal or civil proceedings to do with any advertisers. We expect advertisers to honor any advertised claims or promises. Ecolocal Living will not knowingly accept any advertisement that is deemed misleading or fraudulent. We reserve the right to revise, edit and/or reject any and all advertising with or without issuing a reason or cause. We will not publish any article or advertisement that is contrary to the best interest of this publication. We reserve the right to edit articles if needed for content, clarity and relevance.
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News and Views Washington County Fair Touted by IAFE for Being Way Ahead in Recycling Efforts The International Association of Fairs and Expos praises local fair’s biodiesel production What do you do with a 1,000 gallons of used cooking oil? If you are the Washington County Fair you convert it into biodiesel and use it for heating and operating equipment. This was the spotlight of an article in the March -April 2010 issue of Fairs & Expos, a bi-monthly magazine published by the International Association of Fairs and Expos.
The article even states that during the conversion process, glycerin results as a byproduct and that Washington County Fair uses this in composting. This is the same product that can be used to make soap.
their biodiesel. Compare that to the current prices for fuel oil and diesel and you have substantial savings.
All employees and volunteers are regularly trained in the storage and use of the biodiesel. Material Safety The fair’s manager, Mark St. Jacques, Data Sheets are up to date and local said that the decision to take this fire codes are followed. The fair’s waste product and convert it into operating procedure for safety usable fuel was a response to the compliance has been reviewed by a The article, aptly named ECO SPOT, increase in fees from the rendering New York State certified inspector. Biodiesel: From Waste to Fuel companies and the high cost of describes the Biodiesel Production diesel. St. Jacques says that the cost Last year a display was created at the Cycle in detail and exclusively to build the unit was $2,500 and that fair to let fair guests know the steps features the steps taken by it processes 40-gallon batches. The taken to reduce and reuse waste Washington County Fair to build and fair manager has also calculated the products. This tent was staffed by operate its biodiesel processor unit. cost to be $1.30 a gallon to produce more than 20 volunteers from the Greenwich Citizens Committee, Inc.
Why Wonder? By Kathleen Quartararo I wonder if we could let the little ones remind us of how great it feels to wonder again... instead of always knowing. No-ing. Knowing. No, no-ing as we often do. Pondering without judgment, anger or frustration. Just to be with what is for the moment we are in it, exactly as it is in front of us and wonder about it... I wonder if I’ll like that I wonder what happened I wonder what he means I wonder why she’s mad I wonder why he’s distracted I wonder what she meant I wonder if he’s tired I wonder where she’s going (so fast!) I wonder where this road will take me I wonder if he saw me I wonder if she’s hurt I wonder how that works I wonder when we’ll get there I wonder who will be there I wonder what I’ll find I wonder who is calling There is something about the word wonder that is magical. Calming... easy... accepting... gentle.
Stopping to wonder gives us time for a break - a breath - a possibility that there is more to the story. Or something unexpected and exiting ahead. No anger in the assessment of the situation. No attack. Just curiosity. Curiosity - another great feeling. Just say it - that’s curious! I am so curious about that! You can’t NOT relax when you say that! To start with “I wonder,” can change your mood, change your day... change your life. I wonder why he is still stopped now that the light is green I wonder if he is distracted I wonder if the driver is OK I wonder if he is having car trouble I wonder if….. aahh… the ducks are crossing... hahahahaha I wonder gives us the chance to take a minute or two to appreciate whatever if is were are surrounded by when we get stopped in our very fast tracks. Kathleen Quartararo is the owner of Virgil’s House, 86 Henry St., Saratoga Springs.
Fairgoers were encouraged to take the “How Green Are We?” selfassessment quiz. The display will be back this year. The Washington County Fair runs August 23 thru August 29, 2010. The fair will be celebrating its 50th anniversary at its current location in Easton, NY. Fairgoers can enjoy free entertainment and support the county’s agricultural heritage by visiting the many farm families that exhibit at the fair each year. For more information on The Washington County Fair call 518-692-2464 or visit www.washingtoncountyfair.com.
The Wellness Doc By Dermot Connole Jinks, D.C.
Good Posture = Good Health Remember Mom saying “Sit up straight”? It's so commonly used it must be part of 'Basic Mom Manual 101'. But the concept - good posture is common sense for anyone over the age of 18. But what is posture? Dictionary.com gives the following definition - pos·ture: [pos-cher] -noun 1. the relative disposition of the parts of something. 2. the position of the limbs or the carriage of the body as a whole. So posture is how different parts of the body relate to one another resulting in good posture or bad posture. But why is this so important especially, in children.
GOOD POSTURE PREVENTS ARTHRITIS Good posture allows proper mechanics of the joints of the body. A misaligned joint will not work properly. Over time, this will lead to breakdown of the joint. This process of breakdown results in arthritis or osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis with over 20 millions Americans being affected... and the number is growing. Common signs of osteoarthritis are thinning of the cushions in a joint (cartilage), bone spurs and restriction of joint motion. The more out of alignment a joint is - the more problems that joint will have. The amount of misalignment correlates with the onset & amount of arthritis/joint breakdown. Important: Osteoarthritis is caused by joint misalignment and problems with movement. Only after this occurs can it develop - arthritis is not a normal occurrence with age. However, once the joint is misaligned THEN time becomes a factor. The longer a joint works improperly the greater the incidence of breakdown/arthritis.
OTHER BENEFITS OF GOOD POSTURE. Healthy posture promotes: • Healthy blood flow - venous return of blood
can add up to thirty (30) pounds of abnormal leverage on the spine, reduce lung capacity by as much as 30%, which can lead to heart and blood vascular disease. He determined a relationship between forward head posture and the digestive system as well as endorphin production affecting pain and the experience of pain.) • Bone Density (poor posture accelerates damage to bones and increases & accelerates development of osteoporosis) • Even Life expectancy (Hyperkyphotic Posture Predicts Mortality in Older Community-Dwelling Men and Women: A Prospective Study. (how the blood gets back to the heart) depends Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. on the body movement - if you have poor 52(10):1662-1667, October 2004. posture - you can not move through a full range of motion and blood flow is affected. GOOD POSTURE • muscles ability to contract and RELAX (ever So as we come into the warmer months and think poor posture caused those tight muscles in wear fewer clothes, pay attention to your and the shoulder/neck, mid back or lower back?… your family's posture. A good posture will make think about it) you look tall, confident and proud - attractive • healthy nerve function (did you know that characteristics for both sexes. Correct body 90% of nerve and brain activity is spent on posture is having head, shoulders, chest, adapting to your environment... joints are hips/pelvis centered and level. From the side the constantly 'feeding' the brain neurologic head should be over the shoulders and the information to help in this effort) pelvis/hips should not be forward of the knees. • proper development of muscles, bones and As a chiropractor these are fundamental tools nerves in children -which is why Mom was so used to identify the cause of problems in the concerned about the way you sat and stood. body and then fix them. • Other systems of the body that are It never ceases to amaze me how concerned influenced by posture include: we can be with the proper alignment our car and • Balance and coordination are influenced by teeth, yet miss the importance of nerves found in joints - poor movement in a joint alignment/posture and our health. After all, isn't from poor posture = poor nerve information to the most important 'machine' God gave us our brain. body? • Cardiovascular (Rene Cailliet, M.D. the Director of the Department of Physical Medicine For more information on good health visit our and Rehabilitation, University of Southern website www.aacfamilywellness.com. Follow California, concluded that forward head posture AAC on Twitter and Facebook. Be Well!
Ask the Energy Expert By Patrick Maloney l Aquila Design
Stay Cool and Increase Energy Reduction Well, cooling season is upon us, at least I hope so. We talked last time about various ways to use landscaping to increase energy reduction. In this column we'll focus on ways to stay cool, with efficiency in mind of course.
mentioned in the previous column are better choices. If they are not feasible for your circumstances there are solar screens and thermal shades on the market. A great product is the Advanced Energy Panel made by WindoTherm and manufactured right here in Albany! It carries the ENERGY STAR label and will save you lots of money in the winter too.
As usual I'll emphasize that air sealing and insulation are the top priority, but enough said on that, let's move on.
If you must have air conditioning, consider a cold climate heat pump. The technology has advanced greatly and they are becoming common in our colder climates. As always with these decisions do your research and consult with the experts.
In winter months the term â€œwind chillâ€? sends unpleasant shivers down our backs. Though not thought of very often in that term, it is a sought after experience in the hot days of summer. By using a fan you are creating a wind chill effect. We all know about opening windows on opposite sides of the house to create cross ventilation. This works best when nature provides us with a breeze. If that breeze isn't happening then you can create your own. You can produce a chimney effect by opening windows on the cool (north) side of our home and putting exhaust fans in the south facing windows preferably on a higher floor level. This will pull the cool air towards the warm areas of the home. You can also open the basement door and windows to utilize that cool source of refreshment and ceiling fans blowing down on you can bring about the wind chill effect as well. Important to remember is that fans cool people, not air, so turn them off when leaving an area. A typical fan on high uses about 100 watts of electricity. Ceiling fans use between 15 and 95 watts. A window air conditioner uses between 500 and 1400 watts, where as a 2.5 ton central a/c system uses 3500 watts. Here in the north east, with proper planning and mindfulness, air conditioners are not a necessity.
Patrick Maloney is the owner of Aquila Design. You can reach Patrick by emailing him at email@example.com.
Other ways to stay cool and save energy are to replace your old fashioned, incandescent light bulbs with CFL's. With incandescent bulbs, only 10% of the electricity used is converted to light and the rest is converted to heat. A 20 watt CFL will produce the same amount of light as a 75 watt incandescent. With this in mind, get rid of your inefficient appliances and replace them with new ones that have the ENERGY STAR label. Back up refrigerators are notoriously inefficient and dump a lot of heat into your home, so There are many inexpensive products on the market to help keep you cool without expending huge amounts of energy. Buy a Chillow Pillow for those hot summer nights. It's a water filled pillow that keeps your head cool. Most new windows today come with Low-E glass. This reflects the sun and helps keep it cooler behind the window. The problem with this is it also keeps it cooler in the winter months when we want the sun's heat. Overhangs, awnings, and landscaping as ecolocalliving.com 9
Money Matters By Harry Moran, CFP® AIF®
Slow Money & Fast Oil The second annual Slow Money National Gathering took place on June 10th and 11th at Shelburne Farms on the spectacular shore of Lake Champlain just south of Burlington, VT. In such an idyllic setting, it might've been easy to forget about the ongoing devastation in the Gulf, resulting from the BP oil spill. Spending two days with a diverse and passionate group committed to a building a sustainable model for reconnecting investors with their communities and supporting small, local food businesses, the tragic events in the Gulf were however very much on our minds. Recognizing the cruel irony that this oil spill is occurring in what is already a dead zone due to agricultural run-off carried down the Mississippi River, heightened our awareness and gave increased urgency to our discussions. Given the distance traveled by much of the produce filling the bins at our local supermarkets, our system of industrial agriculture really is, in noted food industry commentator Joan Gussow's words, “floating on a sea of oil”. The catastrophe in the Gulf is another unsubtle reminder that our current agricultural system, which is predicated on cheap oil to allow the shipping of vegetables and meats thousands of miles, is clearly not sustainable. The average American foodstuff travels approximately 1500 miles before it reaches our tables. Living here in the fertile Hudson Valley, it's hard to imagine that approximately ninety percent of all the fresh vegetables consumed in the United States are grown in California's San Joaquin Valley. While the implications of the tremendous amount of fuel associated with long distance shipping may be fairly obvious, we also need to consider the impact of the use of oil and oil equivalents in the manufacturing of inorganic
fertilizers, operation of farm machinery and irrigation. Approximately forty percent of energy used in the food system is used in the production of artificial fertilizers and pesticides. Producing and distributing nitrogen-based fertilizers require an average of 5.5 gallons of fossil fuels per acre. According to one study, a total of 400 gallons of oil equivalents are needed annually to feed each American under the current industrial agriculture and factory farming model. In a very real sense, we are eating fossil fuels. While the most obvious way that small, sustainable farms help reduce the nation's dependence on fossil fuels is by selling their products locally, sustainable farming practices also have the potential to reduce fossil fuel dependence by avoiding wasteful production practices. The USDA estimates that increasing the efficiency of all our farmland's irrigation systems by just ten percent would create annual savings of eighty million gallons of diesel gasoline spent on pumping and applying the water. Exercising proper soil conservation techniques can also help reduce fossil fuel usage. For example, the USDA estimates that no-till farming can save about 3.9 gallons of diesel fuel per acre of land by decreasing the use of diesel-powered heavy equipment.
To support this emerging sustainable agriculture community, more efficient and practical vehicles are needed to facilitate investment in local food concerns. At the Slow Money Gathering, we were treated to inspiring presentations by 25 passionate and creative small food entrepreneurs in our region who have vital, growing businesses but need more capital to achieve the level of scale needed to be competitive and prosperous over the long haul (some of these were captured on video and can be viewed at ecolocalliving.com). As this movement continues to gather momentum, individual investors will likely have an increasingly broad array of vehicles available to help accomplish this.
As consumers, we can support this community now though by buying as much locally grown and produced food as possible. Visit one of our great farmer's markets, join a CSA or grow your own. In addition, we can try to avoid purchasing processed foods and choose products with minimal packaging due to the major energy use involved in production. Eliminating or reducing our meat consumption also offers great energy savings, since meat is the least fuel-efficient food we have. Large quantities of energy are required to cultivate, harvest, and Small, pasture-based livestock farms take ship animal feed, house, transport and slaughter advantage of natural cycles: the animals feed animals, process and package their meat, and themselves on grass and distribute their manure refrigerate it until it's cooked. themselves, fertilizing the pasture as they go. While the magnitude of the environmental, Rather than fossil fuels, they need only rain and social and financial damage from the oil spill is sun to make the system work. Our factory farms hard to grasp and deeply troubling, this crisis have achieved remarkable levels of efficiency may serve as an effective wake up call that, as a and productivity but at a great cost to the nation, we need to make major changes in our environment, soil and water quality, animal energy intensive lifestyle now. This situation is welfare, food safety, workers' rights, farmers and presenting a real opportunity to make local communities. meaningful progress and supporting local food businesses is one relatively easy, tangible step we can take to help nurture a sustainable and restorative economy centered on place and on connection to our communities as we continue the transition from fast oil to Slow Money. Harry Moran helps socially conscious investors define and achieve their highest goals by aligning their money with their values. A 24-year veteran of the financial services profession, Mr. Moran has held the Certified Financial Planner® designation since 1991. He is a network member of First Affirmative Financial Network, a national professional organization dedicated to meeting the needs of the socially conscious investing community. Mr. Moran can be reached directly at Cornerstone Financial Advisors at 518-877-8800. Mention of specific securities, funds, or companies should not be considered an offer or a recommendation to buy or sell the security, fund, or company. To determine the suitability of any particular investment, please consult with your investment adviser. Remember, past performance is no guarantee of future results and no investment strategy can assure success.The opinions expressed are those of the author and may change without notice. Harry Moran is a registered representative offering securities through Cadaret, Grant & Co., Inc., member FINRA SIPC. Cadaret, Grant is not affiliated with Cornerstone or First Affirmative.
462 Route 29 West, Saratoga, NY 12866 • 518-584-WINE (9463) www.thesaratogawinery.com Hours: Mon-Thurs & Sat 11am-7pm • Fri 11am-9pm • Sun 11am-5pm
Select from 15 hand-crafted wines, including all natural Melomel – made with local honey Take the Horsin' Around Trolley from Saratoga! Call for details and weekly events!
We offer a growing selection of LOCAL specialty foods, Plus, we are available for private parties and your special events!
JOIN US FOR WINE TASTING DAILY! Gift certificates and gift baskets, wine accessories and gifts for the wine lover.
Nikita INDOOR OUTDOOR Convertible Furniture
through Efficiency & Sustainability By Amy L. Stock l Contributing Writer
Photos by stockstudiosphotography.com
If you're looking for a more “green” alternative for your indoor or outdoor furniture, you need go no further than Nikita Furniture, conveniently located on Broadway in Saratoga Springs, just south of the City Center. Nikita INDOOR OUTDOOR Convertible Furniture offers what founder Nikita Grigoriev calls “the super futon”. However, this is not your old college futon. This uniquely-designed convertible furniture has a simple high-quality contemporary look. Products range from indoor sofas, chairs, end tables to outdoor furniture, using sturdy weather-resistant fabric. All are hand-made in their manufacturing facility in Richfield Springs, NY, using local wood products. The chairs and sofas convert into horizontal foot rests or beds. The combination of a simple efficient design, quality, and versatility sets this “super futon” product line above the others. Nikita himself designed the first patented futon convertible sofa bed in 1982. The patent was granted in 1985 and it established a new product category in the US patent office.
A former aeronautical engineer and an airline pilot, Nikita quit the airline industry and began making his earlier-designed futons through Convertible Furnishings in 1983. Two years later, Nikita purchased an old building in Richfield Springs, NY and assembled a crew of three production workers and one sales representative. At its peak he was building and distributing to over 100 futon suppliers. But the market changed. He eventually sold his product license and closed his wholesale accounts. "What really killed us was China. When China got into it we got out of it." In 1988 Shaffield Industries Inc. acquired the license for the then called Simple Design futon. Shaffield grew to become the world's
largest futon manufacturer and distributor. Overextended and out-competed by the Chinese, Shaffield Industries, which had been sold to Winston Corporation, was liquidated three years later. Once the former Shaffield Industries was liquidated, Nikita, who was contractually barred from designing convertibles on his own when he sold the license to Shaffield, was freed up to create once again. He went to work redesigning his product to be one made with the utmost efficiency and reliability. In 2003 Nikita developed a new outdoor line of unique self-adjusting convertible loungers and deck furnishings, and renamed the company to Nikita INDOOR OUTDOOR.
“Our design is just pure common sense… There are no unnecessary points in the frame.” The use of four-bar linkage triangle supports makes the frame extremely stable and sturdy. Nikita designed a unique reclining mechanism that changes the angle of the seat of the back, while maintaining stability. “The key to trying to compete with China is efficiency. You have to make it (your product) with no waste of resources, energy or time.” According to Nikita their focus is on the economic bottom line and impact on the environment, “but this is how we have always been. We got this far because of our sustainable, renewable, no-waste approach.” His furniture is made to order in his manufacturing facility at Richfield Springs. With limited space, Nikita approaches furniture manufacturing with total efficiency in mind. What he calls a “hyper-efficiency design.” Says Nikita, “There are no unnecessary parts or materials.” According to Nikita, his manufacturing site and operation is highly efficient. “This is not a building where wood is piled up and you don't know where anything is. Everything is accounted for. Everything is used where you have no waste of motions or movements. There is no double-handling. There is no waste of movement and no waste of space, and so the whole operation is extremely efficient. We make it here and we don't have to ship it.” According to Nikita, that's their advantage over China.” He uses only wood grown in the region predominantly ash, cherry, and white oak. He offers many different wood finishes, most are environmentally-friendly, hand-rubbed made from linseed oil, a natural product. “This is a completely benign, non-toxic product. The wood becomes more stable and enriched.” Any extra wood left over from production is burned in a high-efficiency stove which heats the building. The remaining wood chips and saw dust are delivered to local farmers who use it for animal bedding, and after is composted and returned to the soil. According to Nikita, “This amounts to nearly 100% efficiency in wood resource utilization.” Their cushions come from a mattress manufacturer in Connecticut, one of the oldest in the country. The cushion covers are hand-sown by a local seamstress. “This is not just a product. This is a reflection of who we are. It's very personal and very interactive.” This is definitely a product to be seen and experienced! Opened since September 2009, Nikita says most of his clients are walk-ins, “We sell and
ship to people all over the country. We get a lot of foot traffic from people at the Convention Center.” “Everything is made to order. We have so many combinations of fabrics, woods, finishes. Being so small we can offer an enormous variety.” Customers can select the size, wood, and fabric they desire. Most of the parts are standardized, meaning a single chair may fold down and be used in combination with a folded-down love seat to create a larger sleeping bed. Says Nikita, “The super-futon is a whole new way of thinking about furniture.” The sleek, simple “Transitional Style” furniture has a clean, uncluttered look to it. “Some call it Danish-modern,” says Nikita. To him, it's the look of simple efficiency. This style embodies his mantra and vision to “Let the look follow the essence of a product.” He adds, “The final shape is determined by the essence of what it is and what it does. Our furniture is the essence of efficiency, simple and versatile.”
Their prices are competitive with other locally-owned furniture stores, but instead of supporting a worker in another state, buying furniture from Nikita helps support a local Saratoga business and provides jobs for people in our region. As for future plans, Nikita - a furniture maker by day, classical guitar player by night, says he's looking to open more stores and hoping to draw more business once he goes through his first full summer tourist season here in Saratoga. “Our business grows by word of mouth. We're hoping as people hear about us they will tell their friends.” To find out more, including hours of operation, visit www.justleanback.com or stop in at one of their two show rooms: Futons in Saratoga Springs, NY 508 Broadway Saratoga Springs, NY 12866 (518) 796-1887 Futons in Oneonta, NY 7 Elm Street Oneonta, NY 13820 (607) 267-4623 ecolocalliving.com 13
Courtesy of Diane from Harmony House Marketplace
Ingredients: 1 T active dry yeast 1/4 cup lukewarm water 1 T sugar 1 1/2 cups warm milk 1/4 cup vegetable oil 5 cups unbleached flour 1 T kosher salt In a small bowl, mix together yeast, warm water and sugar. Let stand until creamy, 5-10 minutes. In a bowl mix milk, vegetable oil and yeast mixture. Slowly add four cups of flour, then one tablespoon of salt. Knead dough until smooth and elastic, adding flour as needed. Transfer dough to large oiled bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size (1-1 1/2 hrs). While dough is rising... Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add fresh herbs. Add onions and garlic. Cover tightly, reduce heat to low, stirring often until onions are
Filling: 1/4 cup olive oil 1 t rosemary 1 t oregano 1 jumbo sweet yellow onion 6 plump garlic gloves; smashed and minced 1 T melted butter golden (20-30 minutes). Oil a 10x5 bread pan. Punch dough down and turn out on a lightly floured board. Roll or pat dough into a rectangle 9â€? wide and 18â€? long. Spread cooled onion/garlic mixture eveningly over surface of the dough. Tightly roll dough up. Place roll in bread pan, seam-side down. Loosely cover and let rise (45 to 60 minutes). Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake for 45 minutes. Then gently remove bread from pan and place directly on oven rack. Continue to bake for another 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Eco-list By Nancy Muldoon
Ways to Buy Local and Save Money Instead of buying a new car, buy a new used car, it will be more economical and 100% local. Garage Sales, Consignment Shops and Thrift Stores are such a wonderful way to keep your money local, not to mention all the money you will save by buying second hand. Saratoga County has many great and high quality garage sales and consignment shops. Don’t buy new appliances unless you have to, and most instances you don’t need to. Is that expensive ‘energy efficient’ air conditioner really that economical in upstate New York when you really only use it a few weeks out of the year? You can check craigslist and ebay for great bargains on appliances and other household items. Lose your long distance phone company and get a calling card. They can range from $10-$20 dollars depending how many minutes they have on them. You pay for the card up front so there is one weekend you babysit for a friend, the next no bill later on to worry about. Calling cards are weekend they do it for you. sold in most drug stores and supermarkets. Shop around for gas prices, use regular unleaded as it is always cheaper, so few cars Get rid of your cable television, all kinds of channels but not really anything worth viewing. require anything else. Rent a movie instead.
Rent movies from the public library, they have a wonderful selection of features, documentaries, and foreign films, ALL FREE!! Nancy Muldoon is a freelance writer living in Saratoga Springs, New York.
Buy groceries in bulk and try to shop only once or twice a month. This cuts down on gas costs and be sure to make a list of everything you need. Stick to the list. Now that summer is here, take advantage of Farmer’s Markets and road side fruit and vegetable stands. There really is nothing better than fresh produce that’s 100% local. If where you are going is within walking distance, walk and encourage your children to walk too, childhood obesity isn’t only caused by eating the wrong foods it’s caused by a lack of exercise. This saves money on gas and encourages healthy attitudes and well being. Reduce texting, it isn’t really necessary and it’s a waste of money, take 15 minutes of your day when you are available to really talk to people and call them personally or e-mail them. Make sure windows and doors are sealed, why let the heat or cold escape. Caulking and sealing and weather stripping are inexpensive ways to reduce energy bills and usage. Don’t cancel credit cards you don’t use, rather use them as tools to negotiate zero interest for purchases and balance transfers. Every time you apply for a new credit card there is an inquiry on your credit report, you don’t want too many inquiries. Car pool, invite your friends over for pot luck dinner, rotate houses. Take turns babysitting kids,
Thereâ€™s no better way to spend a summer day than by going to the County Fair! Our region has a rich agricultural heritage, and the county fairs are the place to see itâ€Ś Plus, where else can you see a tractor pull competition?
Altamont Fair,Altamont Aug 17 - 22 (518) 861-6671 www.altamontfair.com Columbia County Fair,Chatham Sept 1 - 6 (518) 392-2121 www.columbiafair.com Fonda Fair,Fonda Aug 31 - Sept 6 (518) 853-3313 www.fondafair.com Saratoga County Fair,Ballston Spa July 20 - 25 (518) 885-9701 www.saratogacountyfair.org
Schaghticoke Fair,Schaghticoke Rensselaer Co. Sept 1 - 6 (518) 753-4411 www.schaghticokefair.com Schoharie County Sunshine Fair Cobleskill July 30 - Aug 7 (518) 234-2123 www.sunshinefair.org Washington County Fair,Greenwich Aug 23 - 29 (518) 692-2464 www.washingtoncountyfair.com
Fruits of an Old Farm By Persis Granger l Contributing Writer
Photos also by Persis Granger
The old house that is home to Al and Anne Rohe's Adirondack Ambiance bears the marker “Circa 1804,” denoting the time it was built by Stephen Griffing, a commissioned officer in the colonial army. Griffing had traveled by wagon from Dutchess County to the newly-formed town of Thurman a couple of years earlier, moving into a small log cabin on this southern Adirondack land. Here, where periodic flooding had perhaps deposited just a little extra silt on the desperately thin layer of topsoil typical of the Adirondacks, Griffing built his home and began to farm. His son Nathaniel inherited the property in the 1840s and made major changes to the house, but most of the land has remained otherwise undeveloped, extending across the road to the river. The river is a fickle friend, in summer supplying badly-needed water for crops and livestock, and in spring scouring the land with violent eruptions of ice and water when ice jams burst free. Over decades the property has been home to many families and even has been a vacation destination for tourists who arrived by train at Thurman Station just across the road. When the Rohes returned to Thurman in 1988 after a few years' stay out of state, they moved into this house, which her mother had acquired, and opened Thurman Station Nursery, selling annuals, perennials and shrubs. Al operated landscaping and sign-painting businesses. Flowers bloomed in the dooryard, and out behind the old house a bounteous garden supplied them with food. Their two older children had gone off to college by that time, but their youngest, Amber, did most of her growing up here. Amber's passion for gardens was ignited, and her favorite reading from about age nine on was Organic Gardening, which she grabbed from the mailbox and whisked up to her room to devour. She attended Warrensburg Central School, where Anne was a substitute teacher and an aide for students with special needs. Anne originally had been an art major at SUNY New Paltz, but soon found the skill level of her classmates intimidating and opted for a degree in elementary education instead. Jobs, childrearing and family business concerns relegated her interest in art to the back burner. “Sometimes I'd make a card for someone's birthday, or something, but mostly I was doing other things,” Anne says. One spring, flood waters and ice from the Hudson destroyed most of their tree and shrub stock, and she and Al closed the nursery. Amber 18 ecolocalliving.com
headed off to college, Anne retired from teaching, and Al built first a saw mill, and then a smaller, more energy efficient home on the hill behind the old Griffing homestead. He milled wood from the property for the structure, and hauled native stone for the fireplace. Anne's mother, now 95, lives with them most of the time, but stays in an apartment in the old house when weather and health permit. With the new home completed and the family raised, what new projects would occupy their future? And what role could be played in that future by the old farmhouse with all its charm? The land held the answer. Al decided to make rustic furniture, an interest he had long wanted to act upon. His carpentry skills and intuitive sense of style and proportion enabled him to select and combine slabs, branches and roots in intricate designs that rival the finest furniture in the Adirondack great camps. In his hands, chairs, tables and bookcases grew to life from a drying shed full of findings from trees on the property. Whimsical pieces were added to the furniture like the giant fish with birch bark scales, and carved owls that practically fly out of the shop. In 2006 the old house became a rustic furniture shop called Adirondack Ambiance, and as Al's creations were placed in the near-empty rooms, it became apparent that something else was needed. Al urged Anne to dust off her palette and brushes and revisit her interest in painting. She pulled out her extensive collection of family photographs, selecting pictures of her children and grandchildren, and began capturing the scenes on canvas. Images of kids playing in leaves, balancing on a rail of the nearby railroad tracks or playing beside a pond took life in her work. “I feel so at peace when I am painting. I
love painting children the best, because their body language is so interesting,” she says. Adirondack scenery plays a close second, and the Hudson and Schroon Rivers, old barns and houses and picturesque lakes and mountains vie for attention in her growing collection. Al put his skills to work creating unique frames for them. A pasture full of tail-switching horses is fenced in by frame of barn boards trimmed with barbed wire. A pileated woodpecker drumming on a tree feels right at home in a frame dressed in bark that was pierced by another woodpecker's bill. Twigs, birch bark and almondshaped slices of branches all figure heavily into Al's frames, and both Al and Anne fill custom orders, as well. One of Al's customers needed a log railing for a porch, and another asked for a specially designed headboard. An art customer wanted to buy for her daughter a painting of sheep that Anne had done, because her daughter also had sheep. On impulse she sent a photo of her daughter's flock and asked for a new painting with those particular sheep painted into the scene in place of the original critters.
While Al and Anne were launching this new venture, Amber was breaking new ground, as well. With a fine arts degree now under her belt,
she went in quest of a master's degree in landscape architecture at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry, a program she will complete next year. She is conflicted about where she will use her newfound skills. Will she seek out creative ventures in some elaborate urban project that emphasizes plantbased design? Or will she return to the mountains, lakes and rivers of her beloved Adirondacks and try to define and implement a landscaping statement she refers to as “Adirondack Vernacular” - a kind of design that complements the character of our regional terrain and reflects Adirondack history and values using native species? When Amber's budding career takes her away from home (she'll be redesigning a park in the Catskills this summer), her dad shoulders some of her responsibilities in their garden until she's able to rejoin them. She retains her passion for horticulture, and, like both parents, unleashes her creative and artistic senses in all her efforts. “She's doing something in the garden with sunflowers this year,” Anne says. “I can't wait to see how that turns out.” A fourth generation has come to celebrate the gifts of the land at the old Griffing homestead. Each summer waves of grandchildren splash onto its shores, to be absorbed by the gardens, the household chores and the shop called “Adirondack Ambiance.” Michael, a teen, caught the gardening bug from his Aunt Amber and is equally drawn to work on his grandpa's projects. Young Leah, a budding entrepreneur, is shop opener, making sure the “Open” sign is hung properly before she sets about dusting the furniture. Her older sister Emma is shop closer, taking in the sign and securing the building at the end of the day. Adirondack Ambiance seems to be the right niche for the generations of the Rohe family, all tied together by the land and its gifts. It provides an outlet for the best of their skills and talents, and is a reflection of their passions. Adirondack Ambiance welcomes guests Memorial Day Weekend to Labor Day Weekend, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m., at 792 NYS Route 418, Thurman. For more information, 518623-3813 or 623-3600. Persis Granger is a freelance writer from Thurman, the author of two novels and organizer of Fiction Among Friends events for writers. ecolocalliving.com 19
Creates Alternative to Consumer Society By Tracy Frisch l Contributing Writer
At Common Sense Farm, a 60-member Twelve Tribes â€œcommunity of believersâ€? in Cambridge, NY, no one goes off to "secular" jobs. Instead several homegrown businesses, a home school, and the domestic sphere provide plenty of work for all. "We believe cottage industries are pleasing to God," asserts Randy, who's known to fellow members by his Hebrew name of Rashab. Twelve Tribes members see many advantages to working within their faith community. Randy enumerated a few. "We can teach our children diligence and have them with us at appropriate times. Fathers are able to go home for lunch with their families. We have freedom that a 9 to 5 job in a corporation doesn't allow." Randy is one of the two compounders (soap makers) at Common Sense hand and body care. The business, which primarily uses natural ingredients, employs ten members. Others work at the Common Ground CafĂŠ on Main Street, one of the village's only restaurants. Farming several acres in organic vegetables is the newest enterprise. Twelve Tribes members say that they're seeking to create the life that the Messiah 20 ecolocalliving.com
Photos also by Tracy Frisch
desired for people to establish on earth. Founded in Chattanooga, Tennessee in the early 1970s, the group takes its name from the New Testament Book of Acts. "There will be restored twelve tribes that will bring about promises made to Abraham." Another passage describing an early community inspired by Jesus Christ as having "no rich or poor among them" and sharing "all things in common" offered the group a vision. I was told that the original founders were reacting to the hypocrisy they observed among Christians, who were doing things that didn't reflect Biblical teachings. Today, there's a network of 55 such communities around the world. New York has three others in Oak Hill, Ithaca, and Oneonta. Defining themselves as a group of believers, members are adamant that their highly structured community is neither a hippie commune, an intentional community, nor a cult. People join voluntarily and can leave if they wish. While new members are frequently young, people of all ages are welcomed, and I learn of one new resident, a member's grandmother, who's in her 70s. While the community observes traditions foreign to the society at large, it's not
cloistered. Visitors are welcome and members regularly interact with the wider world through their work and in commerce. But they do not get involved in public life or politics. Rather than influencing the world at large, they have opted to start a separate society of their own. On the afternoon of my visit, I meet Tim (Nadiv) transplanting peppers in the greenhouse. He readily shared his story. Members call this testifying. Four years ago, when he was 18 and "lost," he moved from Georgia to Common Sense Farm. He said he had been making poor choices and had stopped going to his college classes. A spiritual seeker, he had attended a couple different churches with his family growing up, and then delved into New Age teachings on his own. Yet he realized that he needed help finding his way. "What drew me was the warmth and sincerity and kindness of the community members," he said. His mother, brother, and sister have each visited him at Common Sense Farm and support his decision to join. Jonah, now called Othniel, 29, joined the Twelve Tribes as a single dad of a three-yearold. At the time he was juggling a full-time job
and a full course load at the local community college in Utica. Coming from a "broken family," without a father, he bounced among different relatives growing up, and yearned for a stable family life of his own. Initially he encountered the Twelve Tribes at a rally of the Promise Keepers, an evangelical Christian men's organization, at the Pepsi Arena in Albany. A couple years later, upon meeting the Twelve Tribes again, he went for a visit. Right after, he made the radical break with his former life. When I asked Jonah what attracted him about the group, one of the things he said surprised me. Jonah was troubled by this country's class structure and the pressures it puts on people who are not economically well off. Thus the Twelve Tribes utopian abolition of class divisions to create a more egalitarian society held great appeal for him. Cassie, Jonah's wife, stressed that to find fulfillment in this new life, it's essential to give up the old. So often, people's possessions possess them, she said. Community members pool all their income (and give the group their belongings beyond the basics). Once there, they don't accumulate individual wealth and do without most of the trappings of our contemporary materialistic world. Jonah was called to Common Sense Farm from another Twelve Tribes community in New York in order to manage the cafĂŠ. He had worked in restaurants in the outside world and spent a couple semesters at the Culinary Institute in Hyde Park. Work assignments reflect members' knowledge and abilities, according to Jonah. "Those who tend to conduct themselves responsibly are noticed."
Last year, Jonah took on the job of growing vegetables as well as the cafe. He found a partner in the member who runs the farm equipment on the 110-acre property. At this point, Jonah aspires to bring greater food self-sufficiency to the community, rather than generating much income from the crops. They sell surplus vegetables at their new farm stand, as well as the local food co-op, and other outlets like the regional wholesale market in Menands. Unlike many a new farmer, Jonah doesn't have to face an overwhelming workload alone. Various residents, including children, pitch in, and once a week, the whole community comes for a work party at the gardens. It's enjoyable and allows massive projects, like weeding or transplanting hundreds of tomato plants, to be completed in no time. On the first floor of the soap building, an attractively converted old horse barn, I meet Randy, the soap compounder. On his guitar, he's serenading a packing line worker while he finishes up for the day with rousing devotional songs. The community derives its name from the soap business, which was started as a homeschooling project about 25 years ago by one of the original Twelve Tribes members ("a pillar"). After a good friend of the first soapmaker applied his business expertise to the enterprise, it took off. Members of the Twelve Tribes "clan" in Rutland, Vermont, relocated it to Cambridge in 1997, after it had outgrown the old workshop. Now, in place of a single pot and burner, the production area is equipped with "multithousand dollar" tanks. They look like giant soup kettles on stilts. Some have metal stairs. Soap making resembles cooking so what better set-up than an oversized kitchen? The day I visited Randy had made castile soap. The process is closest to the ancient method and uses the principle of saponifying oils. Olive oil, and lesser amounts of coconut, palm, and castor oils, are mixed with a lye water solution while being heated. Since oil consists of fatty acids and lye is intensely alkaline, two things on opposite ends of the pH scale, a chemical reaction occurs, yielding a new molecule. At this stage it's a "harsh" paste that must be diluted with water to make this traditional, gentle liquid soap. Essential oils are added for fragrance. Randy explained why soap works. One pole of the molecule is water loving, while the oil end grabs dirt and grease. This dual attraction explains why washing with soap removes dirt. His favorite process is making their Balm of Gilead product. The recipe calls for steeping various herbs, propolis from honeybees, and
root extracts in extra virgin olive oil over mild heat for one to two weeks. Common Sense used to exhibit at trade shows but they no longer need to do this type of promotion. Four or five years ago Common Sense began getting private label contracts, making products for other businesses, thanks to referrals from a friend at a fragrance company. Asked what keeps him interested in the work, Randy answers with enthusiasm. "I believe it's what Yahshua (the Hebrew word for Jesus) wants us to do. I know the founders. I know their hearts. I just see how it's important for our community." Jonah's wife Cassie (Yasheva) has lived in Twelve Tribes communities since she was twelve, when her whole family joined, after meeting a few Twelve Tribes men in Florida, where they lived. Their stories especially interested her mother, "a strong Christian." Her father decided to take the family on a trip to visit nine different Twelve Tribe communities in the northeast. Then he sold his brush clearing and trash removal business and they all moved to a community in Hyannis, Massachusetts. Cassie said that, at a young age, because her family "went through a lot" with divorce, she already knew that secular society was not for her. Of her whole family - parents and three teenage sisters - only her stepbrother has left the Twelve Tribes. The family unit is central to everything in the Twelve Tribes, and most members marry and have children. Big families are the norm, though the typical size has dropped from six or eight kids to four or five. ecolocalliving.com 21
Wednesday afternoons. Since women (and girls) have a prescribed type of dress, it falls on them to sew their own clothes. (If time permits, they also sew pants and shirts for husbands, sons, and single men, but they can find suitable attire for them at second-hand shops.) Feminine clothing must be modest and loose flowing, covering the arms past the elbow and the legs below the knee. The neckline should not be much below the collarbone. They get fabric through a woman in the Oak Hill community who purchases it in bulk for the Northeast "tribe." They have a penchant for blends of linen, rayon, and/or cotton and muted colors. - continued on Page 26
In the Common Sense community, residents have bedrooms in one of three houses on the farm or a fourth downtown in the village. They live with their families, or if they're single, in a same-sex dormitory. Members follow a predictable, yet varied, daily and weekly schedule devised to provide for strong parental involvement with their children, twice-daily worship, and a full day of rest and leisure on the Sabbath. Couples with children have a night out with childcare provided once every two weeks. Like Jews and Seventh Day Adventists, the Twelve Tribes celebrate their Sabbath on Saturday. To get ready, on Fridays the women take on a double workload. They clean the entire house "from top to bottom," according to Cassie, and cook meals for two days. Saturdays give families long stretches of uninterrupted time together. People go for walks, swim in the pond, enjoy volleyball games (Common Sense Farm has two outdoor volleyball courts), and even take the goats out to play. Twelve Tribe members are not churchgoers. Instead they hold household-wide spiritual gatherings every day at 7 AM and 7 PM. They prepare for these gatherings with their families, by reading and studying the Bible or a Twelve Tribe newsletter or telling their children a story. 22 ecolocalliving.com
Not surprisingly, as a consequence of the commitment to a way of life portrayed in the Bible, the Twelve Tribes adhere to strict gender roles. Men tend to predominate in the cottage industries that provide cash flow for the community, while women are largely responsible for the daily chores that keep community fed, clothed, and clean. It's women who cook for everyone in their house. The women also can and preserve food, make clothing, and care for flower gardens. Occupied with caring for their little children, the younger women mostly stay close to home. Older women, whose children are older, take on other jobs, teaching, bookkeeping, or working in the restaurant. Cassie has a few other special jobs, like tending to the health of a small dairy goat herd and doing several shifts of barn chores. (The farm also raises Highlander cattle.) She also teaches a class of four toddlers four mornings a week. Like the Amish, Twelve Tribes children end their schooling as soon as state law allows and begin apprenticeships. As a teenager, Cassie apprenticed with an experienced teacher for three years, and then with a bookkeeper. Pointing to the sewing machine in the bedroom, which doubles as a sitting room and work area, Cassie told me she sews every
Green for the Next Generation Story and Photos by David Delozier
a shop dedicated to earth friendly products for young children. Zola features skin care that is natural, handmade specialty dresses, baby essentials - rattles, organic cloth blankets, cloth diapers. The cloth diapers have been very popular Wilke said. “I'm on a wait list for two different suppliers, because they can't keep up with the demands.” At Zola Kids, you'll find things that you won't find at every big box store in the country. It's the only child's shop in the region that is dedicated to specializing in on organic fabrics. But what really sets Zola Kids apart from any other kids clothing boutique is the custom made dresses for little girls. Zola specializes in girl's party dresses that are exclusive designs, and available for special
Broadway in Saratoga Springs is known for its eclectic restaurants and retail shops. It's always been a great place for adults to find unique outfits and designer threads, but what about the kids? Aside from a few stores that have a rack or two of babies and kids clothing, Saratoga's grand avenue has few options. Until now… Zola Kids, an earth-friendly boutique for kids, just opened their doors in March this year, and with little fanfare, has become a bit of a sensation on Braodway. Zola is of Italian origin which means “little piece of earth.” For owner Nicole Wilke, it's an extension of her desire to offer “green” and locally crafted clothing and accessories that don't exist at the usual big-box stores. The idea for Zola Kids came from Wilke's own two children. They both had excema, and she wanted to find natural ways to treat it. When seeking alternatives, Wilke found a whole niche of natural and organic oriented products for children, but none available locally. Incorporating these and other products into her family, Wilke was very pleased with the results, and with their earth-friendly characteristics. “I thought that more moms should be aware of these products, and when given the choice, they would choose the healthier, greener options,” said Wilke. Being “green” minded, Wilke was inspired by her discoveries and decided to open 24 ecolocalliving.com
order. The unique, on-of-a-kind items outfits give the store a very personal touch. Zola Kids has several ladies that sew the unique designs, all are home-based and made in the USA. So when you buy that great looking dress, you know that you are also helping out the American cottage industry. Linda Slezak, a Saratoga native - does the custom embroidery and dresses for “A” Babies Originals. These dresses are made to order, according to your wishes and desires, making them unique to your child. Recently added, there's American Girl doll outfits made by Slezak's 83 year old mother. According to Wilke, they're a hot seller. “The little girls like to shop for their dolls,” she said. Dresses can made to match dolls and even moms. Wilke calls that her “mommy and me”
Amelia Cooper and Ava Rae Nelson shop at Zola Kids
line. Both mom and daughter can have matching dresses, which are a hit at any gathering. “They're real popular at the track,” Wilke mentioned. Like Saratoga Springs itself, Zola Kids has become a social place. Mom's have conversations while the kids shop. Many of the racks are at kid eye level, so they can pick out the styles that they like. With such unique and fun kids clothing, Zola Kids has become the talk of the town. Wilke replied, “It really has! I had a guy who worked at Prime at Saratoga National for a wedding reception, and two little girls sisters, were running around in their Zola dresses that matched. He loved them so much that he asked the mother, “where'd you get them?” and she replied, “at Zola Kids!” So he called and asked when we were closing, and he came right over and bought a dress for his daughter.” Zola Kids carries it's custom-made and ecofriendly message into their toys and accessories, too. You can even find jewelry that matches the dresses. Hand made in Latham, the jewelry is custom made for Zola. They even have “mommy and me” matching
bracelets! Many of the jewelry items are made from recycled materials. “We have safe and natural toys at Zola Kids,” Wilke said. “Everything is made from recycled materials and even reclaimed wood - a sprig wood.” None of the toys require batteries, they're kid powered! There's a little guy that has a USB port that attaches in the cabin, so that when the child revs up the engine by pushing the toy, it lights up the little man. They even have “the fuzz that was” - plush bears made from recycled plastic bottles. They are amazingly soft and cuddly. And when the child has grown out of the toy, you can return the toy back to the company and they will recycle it back into a new toy! It never hits the landfill. It's a perfect example of cradle-to -cradle manufacturing! Zola Kids has been developing a unique angle for expecting moms - a baby registry. It's a one stop shop for unique and original items. You can get a lot of great gifts for the baby shower here too. Zola has just started offering christening dresses. Zola Kids is obviously a great place for little
girls, but there are great outfits for little boys too. Again, Wilke tries to find high quality and unique brands that tie in with her store's message. Speaking of ties, the boys can get ties made of the same fabric as sister's or mommies dress, so that they all match! It's seems that people have become very receptive to the eco-message of Zola Kids. Wilke already has plans to expand to a larger store, but right now she is just taking baby steps to get the store established. “We'd like to grow our baby registry side of the business, as well as offer more of the baby gear - like strollers and car seats that go with out earth friendly theme,” said Wilke. Zola Kids is a refreshing change from the usual kids clothing shopping experience. They give the Customer an alternative to the massmerchandising stores. Prices are competitive when comparing similar quality elsewhere and the custom items will become family heirlooms. Based on its early success, the local and earth-friendly message of Zola Kids is resonating well in the community. Zola Kids can be found at 380 Broadway, in Saratoga Springs. Call 518.583.2050
Zola Kids owner Nicole Wilke ecolocalliving.com 25
- continued from Page 26 The dress code reflects the Twelve Tribes' understanding of how the sexes should relate. Cassie explained that, given the "relatively high level of propriety between men and women," members don't date or become boyfriend and girlfriend. Marriage is sacred and a person is not supposed to gossip or complain about his or her spouse. Instead it's appropriate to confide in someone held in high esteem, who'd have the wisdom to advise. Jonah calls these precepts their traditions. "We follow the standards of the Bible," he said. "We're looking toward the spirit of the law, not the letter. We want to understand the why. "When we come in, we would surrender our own desires and submit them to the greater good of the whole community," with the goal being "the betterment of others." So rather than selfishly pursuing individual interests, they are encouraged to focus on how interests and talents can help fulfill others. As an example, Jonah mentions taking children hiking, rather than going off with buddies to indulge in adventure. Jonah believes it's "the human instinct to want to care for others, since we were created in God's image." Yet human beings also have " a fatal flaw" - selfishness, which, he says, can get the best of you if you let it. "People are in a struggle between their different impulses and it's up to us to choose." Trying to be true to the word of God requires people to deal with interpersonal conflicts. Jonah said, "If you have an issue with someone, you go to them and talk to them," he said. As the Bible dictates, "Don't let the sun go down on your anger." Another reason cited by Jonah for valuing cottage industry is that within the community, their ideals hold sway on and off the job. But when people spend so many of their waking hours away in a secular environment, other norms influence their behavior. "We want to be an example of what love is in the hopes that people will see the Messiah through us," said Jonah. Common Sense Farm welcomes visitors. Tour the soap workshop at 41 North Union Street, Cambridge, NY 12816, (528) 677-0224, www.commonsensefarm.org.
ALBANY COUNTY Albany Empire State Plaza Farmers' Market
SARATOGA COUNTY Ballston Spa Farmers' Market
Wednesday, Thursday, Friday during summer Thursdays during winter 10am - 2pm Empire State Plaza, Harriman State Office Campus
Thursdays 3-6pm Saturdays 9am-12pm Wiswall Park on Front St.
Albany Dana Park Farmers' Market
Thursdays 2-5pm St. George's Church parking lot, Route 146, 1.3 miles west of I-87 exit 9
Intersection of Delaware Avenue, Madison Avenue and Lark Street
Albany Downtown Farmers' Market Thursdays, 11am - 2pm SUNY Administration headquarters lawn, State and Broadway
Cohoes Farmers' Market Fridays 4-7pm Remsen Street Municipal Parking Lot, next to Smith's Restaurant
Clifton Park Farmers' Market Malta Farmers' Market Tuesdays 11am-2pm Dave Meager Community Center, Route 9
Saratoga Springs Market Wednesdays 3-6pm Saturdays 9am-1pm Under the Pavilions, High Rock Avenue
Schenectady, Union Street Farmers' Market Saturdays 9am-1pm Upper Union Street in the lot behind Trustco Bank
Scotia Village Farmers' Market Tuesdays 11am-2pm Municipal parking lot along Mohawk Avenue
WARREN COUNTY Glens Falls Farmers Market South Street Market Pavilion Saturday 8am-12 Noon May 2 - November 21
North Creek Farmers Market
South Glens Falls Farmers' Market
Train Depot at Railroad Place, north end of Town off Main St. Thursdays 3 - 6pm
Colonie Farmers' Market
Mondays 10am - 2pm Village Park, Spring Street
Queensbury Farmers Market
The Farmers Market at the Crossings Saturdays 9am-1pm Albany-Shaker Road across from Emerick Lane
Waterford Harbor Farmers' Market
Elk's Club # 81 parking lot, 23 Cronin Rd. Mondays 3pm - 6pm
Sundays 9am-2pm 1 Tugboat Alley
Thurman Station Farmers' Market
Delmar Farmers' Market
Wednesdays 12:30 - 5pm at the site of Historic Thurman Station, 815 NYS Route 418
Saturdays, 9am - 1pm Bethlehem Middle School, 332 Kenwood Avenue, Delmar
Warrensburgh Riverfront Farmers Market Fridays 3- 6pm Historic Mills Park, River St. (Rt. 418)
Menands Farmers' Market Capital District Farmers Market Saturdays, 8am-1pm Sundays, 10am-2pm MWF starting at 5:30am (wholesale) 381 Broadway (Rte. 32, just south of Rte. 378)
WASHINGTON COUNTY Cambridge Farmers' Market
Watervliet Farmers' Market
Fort Edward Farmers' Market
Sundays 10am-2pm Freight Yard off East Main Street
Tuesdays 2:30-5:30pm Hudson Shores Park Pavilion
Fridays 10am - 1pm Broadway Lanes parking lot on Route 4
RENSSELAER COUNTY Hoosick Farmers Market June - Columbus Day Fridays 3-6:30pm
Greenwich Green Pea Market Adjacent parking lot on Main St. Wednesday 3-6 pm
Creative Woodcrafts parking lot, 5045 SR 7
North Greenbush Farmers' Market Through October 16 Thursdays 2:30- 5:30pm Twin Town Little Fields, Williams Road
Troy Neighborhood Farmers Market Tuesdays 10:30 -1:30 Broadway at the Monument Wednesdays 3pm-6pm Hill St. between Washington and Liberty
SCHENECTADY COUNTY Niskayuna Farmers' Market
Greenwich Farmers Market Thursdays 2pm-5:30pm Former IGA parking lot on Main Street
Tuesdays 3-7pm Niskayuna Reformed Church at Route 7
Hudson Falls Farmers' Market
Schenectady Farmers' Market
Salem Farmers' Market
Troy Waterfront Farmers Market
Tuesdays 9am-1pm around City Hall and Thursdays 9am-1pm Ellis Health Center, corner of McClellan and Bradley
Saturdays 9-1pm Riverfront Park
Tuesdays 10am-1pm Sutherland Farms, Lower Dix Ave. Saturdays 10am-1pm Village Park, Route 22
Granville Downtown Farmers Market Mondays 2-5 pm Downtown Granville
Around City Hall Sundays 10am-2pm
Honest Weight Food Co-op
A Treasure Trove of Locally made Cheeses Story and Photos by Stacey Morris
Is it a cheese counter or a gourmet soiree? That’s the question that undoubtedly has crossed the minds of many a first-time visitor to the Honest Weight Food Coop on Central Avenue as they cross the threshold from the grocery aisles into the cheese department. The department’s glass embankment is a treasure trove of locally made cheeses, as well as Parmesan’s and Triple Crème’s from around the world. It is here where Ericson, the department’s manager and purveyor, regales customers with attention and food. Anyone familiar with the reputation of the award-winning voluptuary knows, he doesn’t merely wait on customers, Ericson pampers them. Even on a weekday morning it’s not unusual to see a small crowd gathered at the counter. Ericson leans forward and presents a wedge of creamy Tallegio on a wheat cracker with a watercress garnish to a woman on her first visit to the coop. She smiles and nods her approval while he reaches into the case for another cheese for her to sample. “I love feeding people,” says Ericson as he slices through a hunk of amber-colored Romano that he notes has been aged for six years. “It’s my way of nurturing the world…you gotta do that one way or another.”
Part of Ericson’s welcoming touch springs from his innate sense of hospitality, but since his department contains upwards of 400 varieties of cheeses from around the world as well as dozens of specialty foods and condiments, there’s also much information to be imparted. “I know what to do with these cheeses, how to serve them, recipes, to use them in, so I try and educate the customers, so do my staff and my member workers,” he says. “They’re all foodies to one extent or another, and they’re all happy to be here.” Honest Weight is a member-owned and-operated consumer cooperative with a mission to promote more equitable, participatory and ecologically sustainable ways of living. Ericson suddenly senses indecision in the air and rushes to the side of a customer pondering a small pyramid of Italian cheeses. “If you’re tired of Romano, why don’t you try this Pecorino Toscano or Moliterno,” he suggests. “Both are fabulous drizzled with a little local honey, which is great for the immune system, by the way.” Thanks to Ericson’s expertise and unparalleled interaction with his loyal customer base, the cheese department and Honest Weight itself
continually win ‘best of’ awards from regional publications. His epicurean sensibility gives him an almost uncanny ability to gravitate to some of the most sensual edible delights on the planet, from the piquant green olives grown along Italy’s Adriatic coastline to wheels of voluptuous triple crème’s from Normandy, or tiny glass bottles of white truffle oil from Piedmont. The Saratoga Springs native has been in the food industry for most of his adult life, working as a chef at area restaurants before attending Peter Kump’s Cooking School (now the Institute of Culinary Education) in Manhattan. The certified pastry chef operated the gourmet bistro Gustav and Elizabeth’s on Lark Street before landing at Honest Weight a decade ago. Loyalists who had fallen in love with his desserts and elegant entrees from the Lark Street days followed him and the rest is history. When he began 10 years ago at Honest Weight, the majority of the cheese inventory was imported. Nowadays, however, Ericson reports that the abundance of well made locally produced cheeses and condiments have added an entirely new dimension to the department. “Local products have come a long way,” said Ericson as he unwrapped a snow-white wheel of ash-ripened goat cheese made at R&G Cheese Makers in nearby Cohoes. “There’s a lot of mediocre cheese out there, both local and imported. If someone wants to sell here, they have to guarantee their milk hasn’t been contaminated with growth hormones or any of that nonsense.” He estimates that a third of his department is now stocked with locally made products, from hard and soft cheeses to jams and chutneys, desserts, and gourmet sauces such as the customer favorite, “Buddhapesto,” made in Woodstock. “Buddhapesto isn’t doctored with canola or vegetable oil and it flies off the shelf,” said Ericson. “They only use pine nuts, and the parsley is a nice touch, so it’s a wonderful and addictive application for pasta and sandwiches. It’s also perfect for people like me who like pesto but don’t like making it.” Other customer favorites made locally include cheese and yogurt from the Old Chatham Sheepherding Company; herb-laden chevre from Nettle Meadow Farms in the Adirondacks; fig and rosemary-infused goat cheese from The Painted Goat in Garrartsville; cheddar cheese made by the Palatine Valley Dairy in Nelliston; Tanna’s Chutney in Cooperstown; Community Harvest’s Preserves (made with New York state fruit, proceeds go to help feed homeless and lower-income residents); Dutch Desserts in Kinderhook; Pixie’s Preserves in Waterford; Miss Sydney’s Chutney in Albany; and
honeys from Big Woods Wildflower in Greenville and Partridge Run Farm in Berne. Then there are the handmade cannoli crafted by
Albany resident and Naples native Adele Bucci. “They’re addictive,” says Ericson. “She makes four dozen for us every Saturday and by the afternoon they’re gone.” If the last few years have been any indication, the local food movement is a permanent and expanding part of the Honest Weight landscape. Which is fine with Ericson. “From my point of view local is mutually beneficial financially, and creatively,” he said. “And the quality just keeps getting better, which is a crucial part of it. Something can be grass-fed, it can be organic, but if it isn’t yummy, it’s not going to move,” said Ericson. “The Kunik cheese from Nettle Meadows Farm rivals the Brillat-Saverin from Normandy…that’s how far local has come. Paired with a crusty baguette and Healthy Community Harvest Blackberry Preserves, it’s pure poetry.” Below are some of Ericson’s favorite ways to use and pair selections from his Cheese Department at the Honest Weight Food Coop, 484 Central Ave. Call (518) 482-2667 for more information or visit www.hwfc.com.
Nettle Meadow Kunik with the Blackberry Preserves from Community Harvest Tanna's Garlic Ginger and Lemon Fig Chutneys with the cheddars from Palatine Valley Dairy, particularly the extra sharp and smoked cheddars Dutch Dessert's bittersweet chocolate tarte served with lightly whipped and lightly sweetened Crème Fraiche and local raspberries Old Chatham's Camembert's warmed up in puff pastry or filo dough, as is done with Brie. Their raw bleu cheese (Shaker Blue) can be used in any recipe that calls for a robust bleu, or simply with toasted walnuts and pears. The wine jellies by Pixie's Preserves paired with soft and luxurious cheeses like that Camembert, or from similar cheeses from France or Italy. Local honeys are great enhancers of stronger aged sheep milk cheeses, especially those of Tuscany. I have been taking the simple goat cheese log from Painted Goat and marinating it for a few days in olive oil, lemons sliced paper thin and warmed up in the oil, then allowed to cool, and crushed fennel seed and coriander. Stacey Morris is a freelance writer based in Lake George. Her website is www.staceymorris.com
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