Saturday, April 18, 2009

Cardamon Plants and Farmstead Cheese

We made our trip to Ithaca today. Visited two of our favorite nurseries and one of the nicest Farmers Markets in the Northeast. The weather has warmed up, but it we have a cold front coming through later tonight. Spring in upstate NY-so short, so fragile.

First stop, the Ithaca Farmers Market. We haven't been there in a couple of years, partially because the parking situation has become so impossible. We were very pleased to see that a number of local meat producers have joined the lineup there. We bought some very nice cows milk cheese, locally made, from the Bronson Hill Cheesery booth ( http://www.fingerlakes-cheese.com). This is aged raw milk cheese based on Gouda. We sampled several unique types: cheese with mustard seeds, with fenugreek-but settled on a more traditional Gouda.

Next stop, The Plantsmen Nursery ( http://www.plantsmen.com.) The unique annuals I was after weren't ready yet but we bought some sedums. The workers there are very knowledgeable of their stock and several employees patiently spent time with us answering our questions.

Last stop was Bakers Acres ( http://www.bakersacres.net). In the greenhouse, I found our experimental find of the year - a cardamon plant (Elettaria cardamomum). Supposedly this is supposed to make a good houseplant in low light. The leaves are glossy, attractive and have a nice smell when rubbed. So I am going to try it as a houseplant. We'll never get the seeds and I'm not even sure we'd ever dare put it outdoors in this climate. In researching online, this plant may be mislabeled and actually be a kind of ginger but I don't care.

Last stop, Purity Ice Cream, an Ithaca landmark.

In May comes the annual Friends of the Library booksale - hopefully we can find an excuse to go back to Ithaca for that, and return to the Plantsmen to buy annuals-if I have any money left after the local orchid show next weekend, that is.

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