Tag Archives: Chautauqua County

Chautauqua County

When you visit, as I had a number of visitors today asking about Concord grapes, please visit the farm stands and look at what else is fresh that you can cook today or take home.

Some of my best childhood memories are there, at a creek, a farm market, a local dairy or picking grapes, blueberries and strawberries.

Dinners with family, extended family holidays, and always hanging out with the neighbors were always welcome and exciting.  I think that’s why I wanted to learn how to cook, to please and always have a sense of family around me.

The enchanted forest and the road to the dump, the guy who came and took away our large furniture, only for Dad to find it all at his home.  Our neighbors with countless stray animals and a dog that came to us for a week at a time.

The horse that threw me, brownies and girl scouts, halloween in the populated part of town (couldn’t eat anything until my parents, the next day, went through everything).  Trick or Treat for UNICEF one year.  No-one bought into it with quarters.  I think I stuffed the box with some of my baby-sitting money).

Later on I worked summers in college and also worked on a couple of political campaigns.  I have family there.  My heart is there for the people I grew up with, but I don’t think our lives will go there unless it’s for retirement.

It is a place I have such ties to, and love to visit and encourage others to do so. Cheers, Dee


Concord Grape Season

By the number of hits I see on my blog every day about how to eat a Concord grape, I know there is interest in the product, which is good for grape growers and everyone else employed in making most of these gorgeous clusters into juice.

For those who get to eat one bunch (legally) off the vine it is a treasure and one I appreciated as a kid but not to the extent I do now. I’m thrilled that you want to know this stuff, how to eat a Concord grape is my most-read blog entry. We had a private tour of a Portland NY farm and Jim’s Dad, a rancher and former dairy farmer for 30 years, enjoyed seeing the operation first-hand.

Growers are invited to write in with recipes for people driving through Chautauqua County who can’t possibly eat all the grapes they bought at the farmers’ market. As for me, I miss it. Watching the grapes grow and going to pick blueberries at the farm up the hill was fantastic. Part of it is being a kid and taking off my shoes after the snow was gone and going barefoot for the summer, climbing cliffs, catching crayfish and playing with the local kids along the creek where I want my ashes to be buried, if the then-current owners consent.

The other part is what living next door to a farm we learned a bit about the land and all our neighbors were in FFA (Future Farmers of America) and we were Girl Scouts. No, we never had a heifer, only a dog that we had to give to a farmer when we moved. My dad tried to tame the land, to no avail. I’d love to buy it back to retire on but that’s years away.

As for taste memories, grapes, cherries, blueberries and baby strawberries come to mind. It was a short growing season but farmers made good use of the time they had and grew mainly apples and grapes. Grape season back home now means snow season here. I just looked out the window and the snow is coming down, and sticking, hopefully not to the roads yet. Jim may forget that when I grew up back east I shoveled regularly but never had to deal with snow tires or chains as I was too young to drive. Our weekends were full of chores, nonetheless. Hope you’re having a quiet evening before settling in for another week. Cheers, Dee.

Chautauqua County Produce

As I started this blog 14 months ago I never thought that this post “How To Eat A Concord Grape” would take off and go platinum, in my world that is. This is the most viewed post on the site!

Well, I don’t think any grapes grow near where we’re living now. As I was growing up, though, we’d pick wild strawberries from our land and pay a farmer for us kids to pick blueberries up the road a piece. My aunt had a cherry tree that no longer exists but my younger siblings were tasked to pick cherries each year. We’d drive down the hill when I was a kid and go to Paul’s family’s farm stand and buy fruit and hang out and eat a couple of pints while chatting, during the summer.

Chautauqua is especially known for its grapes and apples. There are other fruits and vegetables that will endure the short growing season. I loved our home there and living there as we were allowed to be tomboys for the first time! Before then we always wore skirts and lace anklets and Mary Janes. After that we wore shorts in the summer and bare feet and loved it all! Except when our neighbors placed a cherry bomb or black snake down the back of our shirts as we were running away!

This is to Juni, who came and stayed with us. Whipporwill deserves an award. It is a beautiful song that I’m trying to learn on my own, without crying over my mother’s death. It’s tough to learn and tougher not to cry. I’ll get the lyrics down first from the CD and keep working on the others. Joe & Margie are with us and enjoying the home tour and other activities like the Statehouse, Mormon Tabernacle Choir, Park City and Ogden and the museums at the train depot.

Time to go to sleep. Much to do tomorrow. I think Chautauqua County will always be my spiritual home and if my ashes could be scattered anywhere, it’s in the Enchanted Forest. Only my sister and I know where that special place is, and she’s not talking! Cheers, Dee.