Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas cookies!

A new friend posted this link on her Facebook page, and I can't wait to try it!

We've got a bunch of different cracker/cookie style products that don't contain high fructose corn syrup and other stuff - and a lot of Ghiridelli chocolate.  Sounds like an easy, tasty baking project!

Will post pictures if we do it!
Happy holidays!  (And thanks to Meg for posting this!)

Friday, December 16, 2011

Almost Christmas!

Still no snow, nor any chilly temps, so our ice rink is still a wading pool.  But there is caroling at the store on Saturday, starting at 5:30pm, so join us for a little holiday spirit!

First, I thought I'd re-post a piece from a lovely new book from Leda Meredith, the Locavore's Handbook.  She concisely identifies an issue that I have discussed with lots of folks: how to adapt how we've learned to cook with the reality of what's seasonal and available.  In what Meredith calls it the "reverse approach to recipes", she suggests that instead of identifying recipes and then schlepping out to purchase everything needed for that recipe, check out what looks good that day, and then plan a meal around it.  Ideally, that would mean you'd be shopping every day or every other day, looking for what's freshest.  Here it means that this is the time of year to cook with lots of onions and garlic, using apples and kale and Brussel's Sprouts and squash and potatoes.
I've always loved my German uncle's potato pancakes.  This recipe comes to us from the Locavore's Kitchen, by Marilou Susko, and seems wildly appropriate for a blustery December day in the Northeast.  Everything listed here is available right now at our store.

Laura's Potato Pancakes
(Makes about 14 pancakes)

9 large russet potatoes, washed and peeled
2 carrots, grated
2 medium onions, grated
3/4 cups matzo meal or cracker crumbs
2 teaspoons salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Dash of nutmeg
6 large eggs, lightly beaten
Vegetable oil for frying
Applesauce, to accompany
Sour cream, or creme fraiche, to accompany
Chopped chives, for garnish

Place the peeled potatoes in a large bowl of cold water to slow discoloration.  Coarsely grate, using a box grater.  Drain well into a colander, squeezing to eliminate excess liquid.

In a large bowl, cobine the poatoes with the grated carrots and onions, matzo meal, salt, pepper, and nutmeg.  Add the eggs and mix well.

Pour enough oil into a large heavy frying pan to reach 1/4 inch up the side.  Heat over medium heat.  When a shred of potato dropped into the oil sizzles and browns quickly, the oil is ready.  Place about a 1/4 cup of the mixture into the hot oil and flatten slightly with a spatula.  Fry until golden brown on the edges, then turn to the other side and fry until golden brown and crispy.  Drain on paper towels.  Serve immediately or keep warm in a 200 degree oven, arranged in a single layer on a paper towel lined baking sheet.

Serve with homemade applesauce and sour cream or creme fraiche and garnish with chopped chives, if desired.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Loving winter...

I love winter, even though it takes me quite a while to adjust to the cold temperatures.  And while it makes cooking whole foods a bit more challenging, there are a lot of hardy vegetables and wild foods, as well as dried and frozen meats that make winter a delicious time of year.

I thought this would be a lovely place to share some of the recipes I've come across, especially the ones that allow us to highlight some of our locally produced meats and vegetables.  This week, I have a lovely soup to pass on from the Locavore's Kitchen by Marilou K. Suszko.  Published this year, it is a fantastic guide to seasonal eating.

If you are interested in a purely vegetarian dish, squash is delicious and incredibly easy.  Split a squash in two, lightly oil a baking sheet and bake each half cut side down at 350 for about 40 minutes.  Allow it to cool a bit, then scrape out the insides into a serving bowl.  I usually toss it lightly with a few spices and rice vinegar.  Easy and tasty!

Farmhouse Chowder
(makes 6 servings)

3 slices thick sliced bacon
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 bell pepper, chopped
2 cloves garlic
2 cups cubed potatoes, about 1/2 inch cubes
4 cups chicken stock
2 and a half cups chopped cooked chicken (skin removed)
2 cups corn kernels
1 teaspoon dried thyme (or 1 tablespoon fresh)
1 to 1 and a half cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley (or 1 teaspoon dried)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Cook the chopped bacon (we should have fresh slab bacon in from Morning Fog this week!) in a large Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp.  Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a towel.  Set aside.

Drain off all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat.  Return to the heat and add the onion and the pepper, sauteing until soft and translucent, about 6 minutes.  Add the garlic and saute for another minute or so.  Add the potatoes and the chicken stock.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the potatoes are soft and break apart easily with a fork, about 20 minutes.  Reduce heat to medium-low and add the chicken, corn and thyme.  (We have lots of Heather Ridge Farm chickens in our freezer, too.)  Return to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes.  Slowly add the cream and heat through without boiling.  Stire in the parsley and reserved bacon.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Let stand, or "cure" for an hour.  Reheat gently, if necessary, and serve.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Some (amazing, others less so) updates

A less-than-amazing update: the damn dairy cooler should be fixed today.  Please keep your fingers tightly crossed, because this has been a source of tremendous aggravation, and a lot of inconvenience.  Some fresh milk coming in tomorrow, in anticipation of the final fix, and a big delivery on Thursday.  When you are a small business owner, these are the sorts of things that keep you up at night: will everyone be so annoyed by one dead cooler that they will swear off Medusa forever and find another spot to shop?

In other news, Randy Grippin, from Mountain Winds Farm in Berne, is putting together an amazing assortment of darker amber and light maple syrups.  Honestly, I've never been a maple syrup fan, but last year he refused to sell it to me unless I tried it.  The stuff is incredible.  We're getting in pints, quarts and half gallons, probably tomorrow.  Along the same lines, we have fresh honey coming in from Richard Ronconi sometime this week, too.

Kropp's Crops is still sending us lettuce - an amazing fresh mixture of salad greens.  They tend to go quick, though, so drop by later in the week for a bag.

More soon, as well as an email blast about our delivery from United Natural and Albert's Organics.  Oh, and if you happen to be a Medusa resident, we're sending out a flier in the mail (because everyone should use the Post Office more often!) about Halloween in Medusa as well as our Fall/Winter calendar.  If you are not a resident, I'll keep extras here at the store.

Keep warm!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Holiday challenge

Last year, one of our amazing customers, who splits his and his family's time between a local residence in Medusa and work downstate, managed to make his entire Thanksgiving dinner with products from our store.  I find this an amazing tribute to how hard we work to supply our customers with fresh whole foods, with an emphasis, where ever possible, on locally produced products.

This year, I am welcoming all of you to join him - we have Thanksgiving turkeys available from Heather Ridge Farm.  We are not taking an margin on them at all - we would just like to see folks spend a bit of the rest of their holiday budgets on groceries from our shelves.  And we are stocking up on lots of the less-fair weather pantry items - including soups and stocks, chicken, hardy vegetables and spices.  We also have a full line of conventional organic as well as gluten free baking items.  If you need something, and you don't see it on our shelves, let me know - I am constantly trying to improve our selection.

Moreover, I would offer up a daily challenge, and I'm working out ways to help you do that.  I'm going to start suggesting dinner ideas on Facebook - such as dinner serving our wide selection of pastas, Newman's Own sauces as well as Giovanni Rana tortellini and ravioli, with a few Geldner's rolls broiled with olive oil and garlic for a few minutes.  Our grocery business seems to contract as soon as chillier weather comes, which makes it hard for us to continuously supply all of the great stuff we're able to carry through the warmer seasons.

Lastly, on the heels of a fantastic meeting with Medusa playground chair Jolie Pizzagati, we're planning for a fantastic Halloween this year.  If you are a decorating guru, join us on Sunday - we'll be spicing up the village with corn stalks and pumpkins, among other scarier things - as well as (hopefully) distributing scarecrow materials for village residents.  And the Council is planning for a cande-lit village Halloween night, with fright and candy galore!

Stay tuned!!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Google places!

I need a favor - could you go write a review for me?

We're on Yelp - and, even more importantly, if you could write a Google review here: would be greatly appreciated!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Barbecue weekend!

Long hot lazy summer days are here, and it's looking a lot like it'll continue through the next 10 days or so! 

You just can never know what the weekend will bring, but so far we're planning a little informal karaoke on the porch.  The amazing Brooklyn trio will be serenading us - so bring sheet music and some instruments and we'll make a little music.  Robert, our piano man and our unofficial Medusa troubadour will return the following Saturday, this time with the rest of his band.
I'm planning to get more Heather Ridge chicken in on Friday, and we've got all of the Wild Thymes sauces shelved and ready for sale.  Salads in from Boar's Head or raw materials from Kropp's - it's shaping up to be a wild grilling weekend.  Summer doesn't last very long around here, folks!  Let's live deep!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Calling all vendors!

As I've briefly mentioned, we're hosting an end of summer festival on the 27th of August.  Really, we just can't resist a party, while also trying to avoid getting in the way of the Firehouse, who's got events planned, and to not plan anything too close to the amazing Harvest Festival happening in Preston Hollow on October 1st.  Technically, we're raising money for the Medusa Council - so we can throw even more amazing parties, as well as host some more kids programs through the fall - but even more importantly, we're also trying to get the word out about the dizzying diversity of creative growing and production ventures up here on the Hill.

A few details: It is, first, a bit of a local food festival.  Here's the plan -

If you are a local gardener, grower, processor or producer, who would be willing to make a donation of a food product, we will feature it in a delicious recipe, highlighting your product.  Between our notable beef, pork, chicken, produce, and sauce vendors, we think we'll be able to put together a wide variety of amazing salads and barbecue, as well as some unbeatable desserts.  Moreover, we are printing out free Festival programs, which will include all of the recipes as well as a short piece about your farm.  Additional advertising is available to those who don't have donations for a proportional fee.

Although I understand that lots of folks have already agreed to participate in other area markets for the season, we are also hoping get some local vendors who'd like to showcase their wares on the day.  This especially applies to our local potters, weavers, soap makers, and other value-added product makers.  If you are interested, please give me a call at the store.

We are also hosting a cruise-in that day - since we've had such a fantastic time at previous ones.  We would like to get more cars, though - so if you are a classic car enthusiast, or just think you've got a bad-ass bike, please join us.  I'm sure there will be plenty of others around who'll agree with you.

Lastly, we are hosting a number of bands that day.  Rumor has it that Wayne Orr will be joining - a Medusa legend of rock who's been holding out for that special occasion.  Perfect cruise-in music, I'm told.  Robert, our piano man, will also be holding court, showcasing older tunes and lovin' it if you'll join in.  (He'll also be playing Saturday on the Porch on the 23rd, at 6pm.)  We're hoping to also get a few other local bands - Perry Moak and Tim Zinn and their band are considering it, as well as an amazing hillbilly band from over in Berne.  Lots of talent coming out of the Conkling Cafe's Open Mic night, I'm told - which is happening *this* Thursday - and they're thinking about collaborating, too!

Last thing: we'd love to encourage more volunteers - we love doing this but could really use the help.  Specifically, if you are a local resident who knows some farms that I don't know of and would be willing to include them in our network for the 27th, please do so.  If you'd like to help with food preparation, we'll all be working at the Firehouse for several evenings vefore the event.  And if, even if you're just curious, you'd like to join us for a Medusa Council meeting,. please don't hesitate: our next meeting is on 2nd of August.  If you are a farmer, please don't be shocked to see a tall, dark-haired women with a Queens accent and a wise-cracking smile coming your way: Manny may not be from here, but she's Medusa, through and through, and has many years of community development experience under her belt.  She'll charm you into coming over, I'm sure!

More soon!!  Love to all of you!

Monday, July 18, 2011

WoooHOOO!! It's lookin' like a hot one!

Highs in the 90's all week!  Don't you just *love* summer??  (A reminder, too: we have Lake Myosotis beach passes for loan - nothing like spending the afternoon with friends near the water!)

Thanks to so many amazing vendors, local and otherwise, we are fully stocked up on nearly everything - from juicy pluots (an apricot/plum hybrid) and fresh lettuces, snap peas beans and squach from Bob Kropp to Boar's Head meats and cheeses.  New Function waters are in, as well as Humble hummus chips and more of that amazing Mt Vikos spreads.  Lots of meats, too, in case you are thinking of grilling!  Heather Ridge Farm chicken, hamburgers and hotdogs, kielbasa and sausages as well as amazing cuts, all here frm Morning Fog - and the full line of Wild Thymes sauces.

But really, I just wanted to give everyone a heads up - we've been hosting music on the porch - a new Saturday series sponsored by the Medusa Council.  This Saturday, we're honored to be hosting a great friend of the store and professional pianist.  Robert plans to bring lots of music and lots of lyrics and wants to see Medusa singing along.  It's going to be, to use a Jason-ism, PHENOmenal!

We're also having a Local Food Gathering Cruise-in Band afternoon which needs a more concise name.  Happening on Saturday, August 27th, we're interested in finding local vendors, especially processors and growers.  If you know anyone who might be interested, please have them give me or anyone on the Medusa Council a call (i.e. Pat Rice, Manny Abate, Janice Duncan, etc.).

Several other things afoot.  YOGA and Meditation at the Medusa Firehouse (as soon as we officially get permission), led by amazing Westerlo instructor and meditation leader Loretta Pyles.  We're tentatively thinking of Saturday mornings - will pass on more info about the rate and other details very soon!

And I want Bingo back.  I am totally serious.  And I don't think I'm alone.  And I think Alan Duncan is the perfect guy for the job.  I also have come across bingo equipment, used but in good shape, and I'm looking for a benefector who may want to purchase it.  Nothing brings community together than a little heathy gambling.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Weekend's almost here!

I wasn't going to start this post by pointing out that it is raining again, but it is a bit incredible, isn't it?

In spite of the weather, we have tons of fresh, organic produce arriving tomorrow!  In addition to fresh lettuce and spinach, Swiss chard and sugar snaps from Kropp's Crops, Steve Kenney, from the infamous White Knuckle Farm, plans to bring us down some special stuff, too.  (It's a secret till he gets here, though.)  Albert's Organics is sending us fresh California avocado, as well as fair trade bananas from Ecuador.  We have cases of Driscoll's strawberries coming in, plus fabulously in-season Valencia oranges from California.  We have broccoli, celery, onions and green bell peppers coming in, too, as well as .... are you sitting down?...fresh peaches!  Yum. 

And though deeply saddened that the much beloved Pineland Farms cheese curds aren't in (do we love our food, or what?!), I was talked into trying Maplebrook Farms Cheddar Bites.  They complement our Gourmet Artisan blue, feta and gorgonzola cheese crumbles that are arriving tomorrow, too.  Oh, and by popular demand, we are getting the Tribe Origins hummus back in - spicy red pepper and classic.  It's like double churned hummus - delightfully smooth without the graininess of the usual hummus.  Sweet Josh, our rep at Albert's even hooked us up with some Bolthouse Berry Boost Smoothie to try out this week.  So if your grocery list includes fresh stuff, drop by Medusa!

We also have an abundance of United Natural products coming in tomorrow.  We're restocking many of our most popular Tazo teas, as well as reigniting the craving for chocolate covered pretzels in bulk.  By request, we will have a new case of frozen Annie Chun's Chicken PotStickers - and heads up - Annie Chun's has a bunch of stuff coming up on special in July. 

Lots of soy, rice and almond milk coming in - as well as (finally!) Parmalat for my amazing part-timers and campers.  Tons of Blue Sky beverages, by popular demand and in preparation for our Medusa Cruise-In on Tuesday at 6pm. 

Lots of Bob's products getting restocked - mostly flours, and even a few gluten free.  We're trying the amaranth this time, for example.  (By the way, if you are interested in baking a bit, especially during these chilly rainy days - I make a lot of breads for the store based loosely on Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois's recipes.) We've also got Gillian's french rolls back in, as well as Food For Life Millet bread.

Clearly, the Cascade yogurts were a total flop, even though they are cheaper than the Brown Cow, so we've got 32oz containers as well as strawberry and maple single serve.  I'd still love to convince someone to open a local dairy - especially if we could figure out a way to make our own yogurts and cheeses.

We're trying a new marshmallow, because we think the last ones weren't so hot - this time the Dandie brand will grace our aisles.  (And remember - we've got decadent chocolate, Midel graham crackers and marshmallows - smores to your heart's content!) 

We eat a lot of chips around here - so I've got more Kettle for tomorrow, as well as Michael Season's chips.  There was a special price on "hummus chips", so I ordered us a few kinds to try them out.  Mary's Gone Crackers (an amazing name for the most versatile snack cracker thing ever) sea salt sticks are back in, too.  We've also got a bunch more of the Natural Nectar (where are my gluten free folks?) cracklebred - this time we're trying tomato and oregano, in addition to the original. 

For those who've been asking - and you will go unnamed - YES!, we now have prune juice.  Next week, I'll try to get us caught back up on the rest of our juices.

Another request was Purely Decadent's non-dairy frozen dessert - we chose chocolate obsession.  Of course.

I ordered lots of Woodstock charcoal, at a pretty reasonable price, I think, so you all will be all set for grilling.  And also for grilling, we have Heather Ridge's amazing chicken, in the freezer waiting - both halves and wholes.  We also have a sweet deal on Morning Fog Farm hotdogs and kielbasa - $7.99 per for the hotdogs and $8.49 each for the kielbasa. 

Ignore the rain, it's going to be amazing by the weekend.  Really, the mist out there now is kinda cool - plenty warm and no bugs!

I have a hot sheet order going in on Monday - I'll post some specials here tomorrow!  
Much love,

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Council meets...

First, nothing like a controversial blog post to spice up the weekend - thank you to everyone who gathered these last few days, with support and with feedback.  It's been a whirlwind of a weekend!

Last night was equally exceptional - the Medusa Council met, with vigor and tremendous plans.  I plan to publish, sometime in the next few days, a complete calendar of upcoming summer events.  But for now, a preview:

We're planning several cruise-ins over the next few months.  This Tuesday, the 28th, we're having a cruise-in - Dan Yolin and Bruce Barker will be playing on the porch for us, and the Medusa Firehouse has generously offered their parking lot and field.  Morning Fog Farm will be offering their home raised hotdogs and hamburgers - grass fed, local grain finished amazingness - for a sweet price.  We're planning another one for July 12th, and we're hoping that the GreyFox crowd might want to join us then for a bit of bluegrass - you know how we locals just love music.

We've got a gallery opening on the 2nd of July - this time Angela Cappetta is showing her photography, hopefully with a bit of music, too.  We were originally planning a barbecue that day, but the Council overwhelmingly decided that we'd rather hold a local foods event towards the end of August, in the hope that we can have more of our local vendors join us - in sort of an open air market that day - and to sponsor some local dishes for the public.

We have Community Walks to combat cancer in July and September as well, and the Medusa Firehouse is planning their Horseshoe Tournament on the first Saturday in August, and the village yard sales is on the second Saturday.

Lots coming up - lots of good reasons to visit Medusa.  With a little luck, we might get into Eco-Local this summer, too!

Love to all,

Friday, June 17, 2011

Making better choices

It's rainy again - and I'm not in a terribly good mood, so hopefully you'll forgive me if this sounds a bit more strident than usual.

When we opened the store, we assumed that we could make it through the early years by relying on the support of our fairly large extended families and network of local friends.  That turned out to be a huge miscalculation, as we rarely see family or old friends shop at our store.  A few drop by for an occasional loaf of bread or quart of milk, but it's infrequent, at best.  The upside to this is that we have met an astounding array of folks, from all walks of life, full time residents and not, who are committed to the idea of localism, and support what we are trying to do in Medusa.  Their influence has shaped the kind of place the store has become, and continues to guide us as we plan for the future.  Most days, to be lucky enough to be a part of this, is exhilarating.

Still, on the heels of a pretty rough week, I'm feeling like it won't offend too many if I point out some hard truths.

How this place exists, how we get by from day to day, remains a bit of a miracle, if you can picture a miracle in my agnostic, fuzzy way.  When you ask me how the business is going, I usually smile and cheerfully report some good news.  The truth is, which doesn't come to any surprise to our closest friends and supporters, is that it is a daily struggle.  One of us is here every day, every hour we are open, which is pretty close to being every waking hour.  Frankly, I think Jason and I can count on one hand the times our whole, little family has been together, not at the store, in the past year.  The Medusa General Store has meant a lot of sacrifices, and sometimes it is just plain hard.

I am telling you this because when I insist that you shop local, it isn't because I think it is some vague idea - it is reality to us.  And I am not so much complaining, as trying to explain that this is a labor of love, a public service more than a profit yielding enterprise.  I have a PhD - and not a mail order one; one that took me 11 long years, through the births of three children, to complete, in a competitive, high-demand program - and Jason is skilled in a number of technical fields, and has been involved in a dizzying array of projects and ventures for many years.  We could be doing lots of other things - and it wouldn't be hard to make more money than what we're making here.

And what we are doing is as important as how and why we are doing it - I don't call us western Albany County's whole foods corner store for nothing.  We are trying to be your source for local and organic fresh, frozen, and dry goods groceries in the Hilltowns, filling a gap left by the Rensselaerville co-op.  So when I hear local folks insisting that they can only get good quality organic products by driving into Albany, I admit to finding it deeply frustrating.  Do you know that the Albany whole foods stores get their products from the very same distributor (and often on the very same truck!) that we get ours from?  And really, you have a much better deal here - not only do I happily pass along any sale prices I can get, I also am willing to try any product you request, and we'll do 15% over cost for case orders through United Natural.  It's a bit hard to beat that.

Moreover, supporting my store does a whole lot more than just provide high quality groceries and deli items to your family - we employ local folks and we support a number of local vendors.  So when you purchase something in my store, odds are good that a good portion of those dollars are staying right here on the hill.  I sell chicken from Heather Ridge Farm in Potter Hollow, and beef and pork from Morning Fog Farm in Berne, for example.  In my 20 minute drive in this morning, I heard at least two different commercials for stores that promise you the lowest price at the highest quality.  My vendors open their farms to me - we can visit their animals, consider the quality of their operation - choose to support them with our dollars.  You aren't getting that from the Deli Warehouse, nor are you getting it from Price Chopper.  Is the price higher?  Absolutely.  The quality is incomparable, though.

And sometimes, yes, I have to also insist that you take the higher ground.  You can buy milk and beer cheaper at Rite Aid, in Greenville.  Probably cheaper at lots of other places.  But did you know that Rite Aid, in particular, sells milk and beer for just over cost, because they take such a high margin on their pharmaceutical products?  This hurts small businesses, encourages folks to needlessly drive, and highlights the overpriced nature of drugs in our country.

Localism is all about choices.  I don't think it's always easy - there's probably lots of times that I won't have exactly what you were hoping for - but I do go out of my way to help you find an alternative.  I am not a huge co-op, nor am I a department store.  But when you come through my door, I'll greet you with a smile, and remember your kid's names.  I know what kind of beer you like best and try to get your favorite gluten-free muffin.  And unlike the big places, it really has little to do with your money - I do this because you are my neighbor, and together, I think we are building something amazing.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A few things

The briefest of updates...

We have another Community Cancer Walk - seriously, for lack of a better name - on Saturday morning.  Temps are promising to moderate by then, although there might be a few showers.  I'd love to see you all - bikers are welcome as well!

United Natural is in on Friday, with lots of fresh produce from Albert's - if you have a request, give me a shout!  We'll have fresh chicken in from Heather Ridge, as well as more Kropp's Crops lettuces as well.

More soon.  Promise.  Maybe we'll have convinced Metroland to do an article on the gallery by then, you never know.

It's been a rough week for a lot of us - much love to everyone...

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Lazy days of summer?

Not yet.  And with this rain, perhaps not ever.  But that didn't stop us from having an amazing opening last Saturday, and cooking up a bunch of plans for the coming month.  Jessie Mann's work will be here all month - and Angela's documentary photography will be up for a July 2nd opening.

While I don't have any kid workshops in the works (yet!), we are going to start taking pre-orders for Independence Day chicken dinners soon.  So far, we're planning to sell halves of Heather Ridge Farm chickens, with several side dishes.  I think we'll give folks an option of several different Wild Thymes barbecue sauces - think about your favorite and I'll have a pre-order sign-up available, starting this weekend.

I'd like to introduce several more specialty sandwiches this early summer - one that has been short-listed is a grilled barbecue chicken with shaved celery and blue cheese dressing.  As soon as we get an oven here, it would be great on some lightly toasted artisan bread.  We're also adding another vegetarian sandwich - we've been experimenting with some sprouts.  It's screaming for the perfect Wild Thymes chutney...

In fresh news, our own local Kropp's Crops is back!  We got our first delivery of lovely red and green leaf lettuces on Tuesday, and another one is coming today, in preparation for a lovely June weekend.  They inform me that they've got more specialty lettuce mixes coming soon, as well as snow peas and sugar snap peas.  Albert's has a huge order coming in tomorrow as well - Braeburn apples, fair trade bananas (from Ecuador), organic blueberries and strawberries, carrots, green peppers, cauliflower and celery, watermelon and cantaloupe, tomatoes and more Olivia's salad greens.  Oh, and an amazing sprout mixes!

Lots of UNFI products in tomorrow as well.  Although it did just occur to me that I should have ordered more ground Cafe Altura, we are stocking back up on our teas, and there's some nice new selections from Traditional Medicinals coming in tomorrow.  And, back by popular demand, and I suspect a vigorous summer crowd, we're getting Brown Cow yogurts in 32oz as well as the snack size.  We are also trying out some Organicville low fat ice cream and bringing some of the Julie's back, too.  Oh, and ice cream cones and waffle cones and SPRINKLES, just in time for ice cream!

Speaking of snacks - we're getting the infamous chocolate covered pretzels and almost-as-good chocolate covered raisins are back in tomorrow.  AND our long-forgotten Tamari almonds are back tomorrow as well.  And, why not?, we ordered some walnuts, too.  Can never have too many nuts in Medusa, right?

Because my amazing sister-in-law and I have recently decided that we should start naming the years like the Chinese, and this year has become the Year of the Tick, I have a lot of All-Terrain herbal repellents and itch sprays coming in.  Sunblock, too, for kids and adults.  (We think last year was the year of the tick, too - and are thinking next year might be as well.  As it could be the year of the bear - and there's isn't a whole lot of repellent that works in that case - we think it could be worse.)

Mustn't end a post without a taste of the crazy that's coming up:

*  We think that a float in next year's Greenville Memorial Day parade is a must!  Brenda Hansson-Orr, one of our amazing Medusa villagers (and mom to our amazing Danny!) has offered to help us out with design and construction.  We are envisioning a giant head of Medusa, snakes and all.  Wouldn't that be incredible?

*  We want more kid funshops - I've had tons of people asking for more.  I'm working on it...

*  We'd like to do cruise-in's - we think the Tuesday after GNH, so the fourth Tuesday of every month.  I need some feedback, though - cars aren't really my thing.

*  Oh, and mark your calendars - our June Walk for Ovarian Cancer Research is on Saturday, June 11th.  We're starting at the diner in Rensselaerville again, but I think we've got a different route planned, so stay tuned.

*We are always, always, always looking for musicians, either for our gallery openings, or just for fun.  We have a lot of folks around on Fridays and Saturdays - and nearly all of them would love to hear live music.  So come hang out on the porch, put out a hat, and play for us!

Lots of love, friends... 

Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Summer!

Jessie Mann's opening was a success, the Twelve Tribes gifted us with live music and the whole town turned out to look at the art on our walls. Most of all, thank you to Paloma for letting us take her picture in her summer dress. There was never a cuter Infanta of Medusa than she :)

Happy Summer!

Jessie Mann's opening was a success, the Twelve Tribes gifted us with live music and the whole town turned out to look at the art on our walls. Most of all, thank you to Paloma for letting us take her picture even in her summer dress. There was never a cuter Infanta of Medusa than she :)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Summer's Kick Off

Hello all! Make sure you read this nifty article about our big weekend plans. Ring in the Summer with a gallery opening at MGS Project Space. We are hanging Jessie Mann's show as we write this, and have already sold a piece off the wall. If you want to snatch up a piece for yourself be sure to make it to the opening. While your at it, grab a jar of Wild Thyme's new BBQ sauce, perfect for a Memorial Weekend bbq. Also, feel free to inquire about our May in Medusa workshops running this weekend for kids and young adults. Celebrate as only Medusa can.

See you there, children welcome!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Getting Ready for the Next Show

We are breathless with anticipation! Stay tuned here for news on the opening of Jessie Mann on Memorial Day Weekend. Jessie is gracious enough to give our Project Space the opportunity to show her latest paintings.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

TONIGHT! The Knit Wits!

The KNIT WITS!! ARE HERE tonight! 6pm - knit your heart out :) All are welcome - beginners encouraged, in an off-beat, Medusa kinda way...

Also, for sale, Kate's beautiful local wool from Sheepy Valley farm. See the projects below to see how beautifully it knits up. You'll get addicted to this stuff fast, and at $7.50 per 200 yd skein, how could you go wrong?

Thursday, March 31, 2011

This Weekend's Opening Reception

Come one come all to see Rodolfo de Florencia's show at MGS Projects. We will have live music and refreshments for all. Rodolfo is a remarkable painter, who is visiting us from sunny Cuernavaca, Mexico, where he works and makes his home. He is no stranger to the art world, he shows all over Latin American and made a series of paintings especially for us! See you Saturday 4/9 at 6pm. Kids welcome.

Mascot Time & Farm Fresh Photos

We love Medusa's own canine son, Tucker, so much, that we decided to give him some face time on the blog for all of you to enjoy. Extra large thanks to Laurel and Scott for sharing him with us.

Also, here are photos of three farm-fresh dishes made by a customer who only obtains his ingredients from the Medusa General Store. We agree  that "buying local is better for everyone!"

Monday, March 28, 2011

Warmer weather, here we come!

After a few tantalizing breathes of spring, cabin fever has hit with a vengeance.  To stave off the worst of it, the Medusa events committee has put together an amazing assortment of celebrations, festivities and galas, interspersed with the occasional funshop and get-together.  And that's not even counting the gallery openings coming up on April 9th, Memorial Day weekend, and the 4th of July!

On the heels of a remarkable 1st opening featuring the amazing Allison Nowland Ward, our MGS Projects gallery space welcomes Rodolfo de Florencia.  Spicing up our pallette with a little international flavor, de Florencia hails from Mexico and is bringing a fascinating, and brand new, series of work entitled GENIUS.  Complementing the evening, the Traditional Strings, an amazing local string band from around the hilltowns, will play for us, and the Store will provide some light refreshments.  Festivities start at 6pm - and as always, it's free and open to the public!

We're planning to celebrate Easter with a little pagan egg decorating on Saturday, April 24th, as well as an Easter Egg Hunt in the playground for little ones and a village treasure hunt for the rest of us.  With a little luck, we'd like to reinvigorate the Fall art series with a spring natural materials series, featuring such possibilites as natural clay, fairy gardens, natural dying and felting, and cap it all off with Withy Lanterns and Flaming Balloons and a kid-designed and organized Talent Show on Memorial Day weekend.

Also of notable mention in May is a Walk/Run for Ovarian Cancer Research, hopefully happening on May 7th, and the amazing MedusaFest, on May 21st!  

As hinted at previously, we are considering a 4th of July Barbecue and a Fall music series, featuring local artists, but while I'm at it, I thought I'd mention a newcomer to our calendar: movie night!  Brainchild of the incredible Laurel Herendeen, movie nights would be organized under the umbrella of the Rensselearville Library, and feature both kid and adult movies.  Tentatively, we planning for it to be at the Firehouse, starting sometime this fall.

An the Medusa Council on the Arts has a sibling, don't forget: our sustainable community initiative.  Plans are in the works to finalize our 501c3 charter as we are planning a more generalized and still nebulous GO Local! campaign, as well as some field research at Morning Fog Farm, in Berne.  And I am rapidly, and with just as much excitement as you can imagine, racking up speakers and participants for our Climate Change Conference slated for June, 2012.

Go do a spring dance for me, please.  And as always, be a believer!!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

It's still snowing...! And raining.

But we are still planning, too!  On the heels of an enormously successful first-ever gallery opening, showcasing the amazing fine arts photography of Allison Nowlin Ward, we are looking forward to several delightfully busy months ahead.

As the official events committee for Medusa is predominantly women, and we tend to think nonlinearly, in loops and circuitous maps, providing an easy road map is nearly impossible.  But here goes...

We have another gallery opening on April 9th - this time it is the work of Rodolfo de FlorenciaAngela Cappetta, our esteemed (and adorable) curator, describes him as "an international sensation".  If that seems like an unlikely fit for our sometimes sleepy village, there's also this:

"From his studio in Cuernavaca, Mexico, he creates large, heady paintings which encompass the full ancient Mexican experience. Fastidiously made and heavily influenced by a Victorian sensibility, Florencia's brush is filled with longing, desire and curiosity to paint dream-like representations of the real world as only he sees it."

Longing, desire and curiosity is what we're all about in Medusa, so stick April 9th on your calendar, grab your kids and your spouse and whoever else you can fit in the car, and join us for a few (hopefully) warm April evenings admiring art and engaging in passionate discourse.  We're even having MUSIC this time!  That's Medusa.

We have several additional openings to remember, too - Memorial Day weekend will showcase the work of one-time Rensselaerville resident Jessie Mann, which we'll be celebrating with festive homemade flaming balloons, and our curator will be presenting her work on July 4th weekend.  My favorite holiday is accompanied by a chicken barbecue showcasing local chicken (I hope!) and brand new Wild Thymes sauces!  I'm shivering with anticipation!

If it's textiles that thrill you, though...  Last night - and for every Wednesday forever after -Kate Hendersen is leading a knitting circle at the Store.  We think it's going to be a large crowd, and amazingly fun.  And I'm providing the coffee - so, several Medusa sized hats are not out of the question by next week.  Everyone's welcome, from beginner to old-hand - starting at 6pm!  Kate's also generously stocked us up on her Medusa grown wool as well, in several vibrant colors.

May21st - are you sitting down? - is promising to be the best MedusaFest ever.  There are lots of great minds thinking hard on how to thrill, entertain and, most importantly, FEED, all of you, so save that Saturday for a helping of local flavor.  We're thinking of doing something extra-special at the Store that day to honor Medusa, too.

I've been brainstorming with a few others, trying to develop a series of art fun-shops around natural materials.  I'm hoping that we'll have a 4-6 week series starting at the end of April through Memorial Day.  We love the idea of sharing pigments and dyes and natural clay - embracing the arts with what's freely available in our local woods and streams.  It's going to be messy - what better way to celebrate the spring??

Never the least, because feeding all of you good food is a high priority of mine, but almost last: we have lots coming in this week, from UNFI and Albert's.  As I've been promoting on Facebook, we've got Annie Chun's potstickers and miniwontons coming in, as well as a great price on Udi's bagels and breads.  Bhuja! is coming back, too, as well as lots of chocolate covered pretzels and raisins.  Strawberries, kiwis and pineapples from Albert's, as well MacroVegetarian's Hunan dumplings.  Hopefully, with warmer weather, my MacroVegetarian fans will return in force and I'll order some more of their stuff - healthy and incredibly delicious, and (my favorite) you don't have to cook the damn things.  :)  Oh, and for everyone who's been going through terrible withdrawal - Angie's Kettle Corn will be back in on Friday.

And that's supplemented with some amazing stuff from Ryan's, who's proving to be a really Medusa-worthy vendor.  Maybe someday we'll even get them to deliver!

Lastly, a few dear friends of ours have been struggling with some sad news of late - and I was hoping we could all keep them in our thoughts.  We're told Jon Chase is home - and doing a lot better.  The news last week was pretty scary, and we're glad for this bit of blue sky.  A good friend of mine lost her brother last week - a tragedy that was completely unexpected.  Please keep Lara and her family in your prayers.  And Ken Briggs, who organized his band, Nite Train, to play at the winter carnival, also lost his brother a few weeks back.  Life is so fragile - such news is a reminder to hold your loved ones a bit closer, I think, and embrace this amazing, and often brief, life with renewed gratitude.

Much love to all of you.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

A spring to remember!

It's just pouring snow here, as I write this.  But we have such amazing things afoot for the coming months!

Don't forget:  February 12th is the first inaugural Winter Carnival in Medusa!  On our short list is sledding (we have a lovely sledding hill BUILT behind the Firehouse!), skating in our Pavilion and ice fishing up at Sikule Pond; tons of kid crafts and local vendors; great food, music, and fun!  It is OUR midwinter break.  And we're planning to make it an every-year tradition!

Also at the Carnival, we, for the first time, will be unveiling plans for the newly formed (and about-to-be-incorporated) Medusa Council on the Arts.  Our time has come - to share our own beautiful expressions of creativity, but also (are you sitting down?) to have the opportunity to welcome world class art to our awakening Helderberg hamlet.

Our amazing curator, Angela Cappetta, is an inspiration to us all.  A renowned fine arts photographer, she has put together a series of art shows from late February into next year, involving an eclectic mix of photography, painting, and sculpture that promises to inspire and amaze.  Her challenge is not easily met, either.  We've asked her to come up with gallery works for the store that are accessible to everyone as well as representing examples of world class art.  We think she's done it and we cannot wait to share this with you.  You also might have caught her recent article in New York City's Common Creative.

The work of Allison Nowlin will open our gallery on February 26.  In Angela's words, Allison's art expresses the "rich light and deep, tonal palette demonstrating her personal view that the dusty, obscured and darkened state of the world is a lovely and eloquent place to visit---but not to live."  Amazing stuff, Medusa, and I am so grateful we have these amazing works to share.  We are planning some music for that evening, which promises to be a special affair.

Now for those of you who know my store intimately, you might be wondering, where on earth could this art go?  Well, breathe easy - the threatened renovations are here.  We have completely deconstructed the warehouse area (hopefully dear Ernie and Ruth Bell will forgive us!) and are moving all of our coolers and freezers back there.  We'll be reconfiguring the front entry, with slightly less shelving and more cafe tables.  And that's just the beginning!  Keep your fingers crossed that all the renovations come together quickly and as inexpensively as possible!

New openings every 4 to 6 weeks throughout the year. If you are interested in showing your own art in our gallery, please contact Angela's gallery blog and follow the call-for-entries links to apply.

Many of our openings will coincide with Medusa events, including MedusaFest and an amazing July 4th extravaganza.  We are also hoping to have a local music series coming this fall, as well as a number of irresistible art-centric activities.  And don't forget - we have a Hilltowns Climate Change Conference coming in 2012 - if you'd like to participate, or even just argue with me about the realities of climate change, I would truly love to hear from you!  Please drop in the Store for the latest details.  And get yourself on Facebook, so I can keep you in the loop on the blow-by-blow details of our renovations!

As always, be a believer!  And come love Medusa!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Being a believer...

On New Year's Eve, a sweet couple dropped in, for the first time.  She is gluten-free by necessity, and he's a vegetarian - they were thoughtful, and interested in what was going on in Medusa.  I told them, as I love telling strangers about our history, and about our plans.  As they were leaving the man asked me, very pointedly, if I am a believer.  I inquired, "A believer in what?"

They wanted to know if I'd accepted their flavor of religion as the one true gospel, of course.  Those of you who know me are probably smiling right now, and I politely offered that no, I did not subscribe to any one version of religious reality, nor have I chosen one particular shade of spectacles, through which to see this amazing world.  But isn't the question captivating anyway?

Are you a believer?  It's been haunting me...  I can think of a number of things that I, sitting here early in this brand new year, am a true, ardent, suck-out-the-marrow believer in:

I believe in the power of people to make huge changes - beautiful, indulging, creative changes that make us all better off.  And I believe that you are making little changes right now, even if it's near killing you to do it, that are making the universe smile. 

I believe in the amazing strength of our communities. Mine have been splintered, fragmented, dwarfed, and endangered but isn't there a resiliency that makes you shudder with awe?  Have you ever sat at our front tables on a sunny morning, listening to the amazing patchwork of connections that literally hums?  Tommy Snyder shared with me recently that he was thinking of having a small herd of dairy cows again, just to maybe provide some local milk.  The thought of it sends a shiver down my back - finally a local dairy here again, and one that might give us access to local milk!  There is something ancient and deeply gratifying to hear of such plans.  The Duncan family are committed to care-taking their ill and aging mother in her lifelong home, here in the village, a prospect that is both noble and, at times, incredibly difficult and heartrending.  But they do it anyway.  The Stetners run Wild Thymes, devoted, it often seems, to not only producing delicacies fit for a demi-goddess like Medusa, but to some greater, higher cause.  With Fred, I will never tire of talking the progressive politics of a healthy democracy.

I believe, with everything I can muster, in the amazing-ness of everything that is Medusa.  I believe that what some see as just a little corner store at the outskirts of Albany County, in the Bermuda-triangle region of the state where Frito-Lay delivery men refuse to tread and where delivery of the New York Times is (still, and again) just a dream, is an incredibly special place.  We are graced by Ryan's boots, fresh from the farm, as well as Angela's camera, fresh from NYC - and they might greet each other as old friends.  That makes me smile, that gives me something to believe in.

So, from MGS, a hearty welcome to 2011, where you'll probably have to endure another year of me reminding you to shop local, to shop small, to shop here.  But even more importantly, this year I'll want to know: are you a believer?