Seneca From Above
GENEVA -- A drone shot of Geneva's Lake Seneca by Jorge Torres.
Seneca From Above
GENEVA -- A drone shot of Geneva's Lake Seneca by Jorge Torres.
By Chris Lavin
JERUSELEM – A few flakes of snow still fell as the chef and the Mennonite farm wife walked across a nicely manicured path in March.
They entered the green house and were engulfed in warmth all wish was felt outside.
Inside was a time machine of sorts, rows of corn, flowers, and seedlings pushing through the soil in the starter trays. Onions, peppers, squash and rows of tomato seedlings that will be sped by this early indoor start to the farm stand that helps fuel the Hoover family’ s ascetic life in these open fields west of Penn Yan.
For years, virtually all of this farm’s vegetables were sold from a stand at the edge of their property. So far from any significant population, it was hard to see how a family could thrive, but their cookies and baked goods and the quality of their produce has drawn locals and has become a regular stop for even Rochesterians transiting to Ithaca and points south.
“We sell it all,’’ Doris, the understated mother of ten says.
This recent chef’s visit, however, is a diversification for this enterprising Mennonite family. On this day, it is Brud Holland, a chef who has made his name in the region shaping local ingredients into high quality cuisine. But it could have been Max Spittler from Kindred Fare on Hamilton Street in Geneva or Sam Buyskes at the new F2T (Farm To Table) Restaurant at the Ramada. These farm-to-table chefs scour local sources to give their menus the best seasonal edge.
Holland now heads food operations at Fox Run Winery and has opened a new, lakeside restaurant – Sapalta – located at the new Plum Point Lodge on Seneca in nearby Himrod. For this new Sapalta endeavor, Holland is pushing the “farm to table” effort to the next level, bringing unique varietal seeds directly to the Hoovers, asking them to plant and grow what will be special ingredients in the new place’s cuisine; peppers that mimic the flavor of fiery habaneras without their heat, dwarf butter nut squash that concentrate its sweet flavor, local potatoes so creamy they don’t require butter.
This new mixing of restaurateurs and Mennonite grower started interestingly. The Hoovers looked at the relatively high price of these new varietal seeds and blanched a bit (no pun intended). But Holland pointed out the relatively higher price they could get from the chefs and a guarantee of purchase as the produce became available.
“And I think this will give the Hoovers some unique things to add to their farm stand,’’ Holland said as he inspected the seedlings. “We don’t mind if they sell these too. We want to support the farmers.’’
In fact, a tour of the Hoover farm is a lesson in the entrepreneurial and traditional nature of the Mennonite existence amid upstate New York’s otherwise modern economy.
Greeted on this day in the kitchen, the table was crowded with dozens of cookies just out of the oven, waiting for bagging. Snicker doodles, chocolate chips, gingerbreads. The bakery aroma just yards from the warm, earthy scents of the crowded greenhouses. And just around the corner, past the horse barns (no cars here, just buggies) is a metal working shop that thrusts you instantly back into scenes and scents from a 19th century industrial labyrinth. Here metal mammoth shaping presses and lathes reveal the way this community manages the hardest work of these large farms.
In the middle of the metal shop, a large machine stands finished and gleaming. It is a bed shaper designed to mound the soil while laying down the barrier cloth that prevents weed growth. It is at the heart of the Hoover’s plan to increase vegetable production.
Someone asks where the parts to this elaborate machine came from.
“We made them,’’ son Vernon responds.
He is not bragging. Just informing. In fact, the Hoovers, perhaps like many Mennonites, are sensitive to not bringing attention to the individual. They prefer photos -- if there must be photos -- that don’t identify them individually. And when explaining how they manage to create so much with their own hands, they speak shyly, ever humbly.
They travel in horse and buggy only, limiting distant distribution of any greater production. There is a farmer’s market not far away that can take excess produce, but demand and price there is not consistent.
So this new interaction with local chefs, and even the attention of an article like this, may be worth the unease they obviously feel with attention given to their beautiful efforts here on this picturesque countryside.
As chef and grower become more familiar, talk turns to the sort of handshake commitments that confidence brings. Holland shares his plan to grow Sapalta plums for his restaurant and the purchase of new young trees. He planted ten this week at Plum Point, formerly known as the Rainbow Cove Resort.
The Sapalta plum trees come with guidance from scientists at Cornell University’s AgriTech Campus in Geneva; they taught Holland and he now teaches the Hoovers.
The Sapalta trees, Holland explains, must be planted with a couple of other varietals to assure pollination and it will take a couple years to get the trees to bear fruit.
The Hoovers signal a willingness to give it a try, too, and a tree deal follows. Holland will deliver the saplings.
And, in a few weeks, the Hoover’s special vegetables – and eventually their Sapalta plums – will find their way into Holland’s Mother’s Day menu at Sapalta. And perhaps they will add new choices to a farm stand that sits so isolated, but so busy, at 1834 Briggs Road, Penn Yan.
Chris Lavin is a former Finger Lakes Times reporter who wrote and edited for newspapers across the U.S. He is the executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Geneva and writes occasionally for the Times.
Summer University Meeting Its Enrollment Goal
GENEVA -- Deadlines for signing up for Summer University at the Boys & Girls Club are approaching and the club has exceeded its goal for enrollment already.
But this broadcast from WEOS radio today explains that we will find a way to fund all the kids who need us.
CLICK HERE to hear the short broadcast.
YOU CAN CONTRIBUTE DIRECTLY ONLINE BY CLICKING HERE! $525 PAYS FOR A FULL FAMILY FOR THE ENTIRE SUMMER. ALL AMOUNTS HELP!
Plum Perfect On Seneca
HIMROD -- The Rainbow Cover Resort is no more.
As of Sunday, it has been replaced by the new Plum Point Lodge on Seneca, a complete renovation that has also added a new farm-to-table restaurant. Called Sapalta, the restaurant is the creation of Finger Lakes Chef Brud Holland. Sapalta had its grand opening on Mother's Day with a brunch that wowed many of the Rainbow's regulars who had become accustomed to more traditional fare.
The buffet included herbed potatoes, eggs benedict, french toast, smoked salmon and assorted baked goods -- all served with complimentary mimosas and Bloody Marys. Sapalta is named for a popular variety of plum promoted by scientists at the Cornell AgriTech facility in Geneva. The sweet fruit has already become a regular component in Holland's dishes and signature cocktails.
The new Plum Point Lodge has 31 completely renovated rooms, including six "glamping yurts'' and a Farm House Luxury Suite built above the restaurant in the hotels main reception house.
The hotel has relocated its famed fire pit and added a second fire pit location among the yurts. A newly completed events center can be booked for weddings, corporate and family events.
Click on the photo above for a quick slide-show visit to Sapalta's opening day.
GENEVA – Five entrepreneurial ideas have made it through to the finals of the Annual Panther Pitch competition which will take place Wednesday evening at the Geneva Community Center.
A new wave coffee shop, an ethnic understanding center and a local bike sharing service are among the ideas hatched by young Genevans for this competition.
Each of the five final groups will present their ideas before a panel of local business people starting with refreshments at 6:30 p.m. in the Geneva Community Center’s Pat Collins Black Box Theater at 160 Carter Road. Presentations begin at 7 p.m. Entry is free. The event is being sponsored by Red Jacket Orchards and Community Proud Apparel.
This year’s pitches include:
Coffee Stain Café: A collaborative work space, small library and coffee shop conceived of by Alejandra Agosto-Perez and Georgedalize Lopez-Guevara.
Danceability: An integrated dance studio specializing in helping kids with special needs to be created by Ellie Aliperti and Ryann Shultz.
FLX Multicultural Center: A space committed to bridging the disconnect between various ethnic groups through the teacher of their respective cultures in order to unite the community presented by Fadly Kafrawi.
FLX Ride: A bike-sharing company whose goal is to provide transportation for the people of Geneva to be created by Natalie Berg-Pappert and Darby Bleakley
Market on the Move: A mobile farmers market that travels around providing direct access to fresh produce for Geneva neighborhoods as conceived by Kate Equinozzi and Lauren Schmit.
These finalists were judged to be among the best of ideas produced by students studying business and economics at Geneva High School. The students work with participants of Hobart and William Smith Colleges “Pitch Contest” in honing their presentations. Finalists receive commemorative T-shirts from Community Proud Apparel and cash prizes. Red Jacket Orchards provides thank you gifts for the evening’s judges.
GENEVA -- The First Annual Arthur Dove Memorial Lecture will be presented on Saturday Ajpril 27th at the Gearan Center for the Performing Arts on the Hobart and William Smith Colleges campus.
The lecture -- "Arthur Dove's Music Pictures or How To Make A Painting of Sound" -- will be delivered by Rachael DeLue of Princeton University. DeLue is a member of the board of the group working to create a living memorial to Arthur Dove, a now-famed American painter who did much of his groundbreaking work in the Dove Block building at the corner of Castle and Exchange streets in Geneva.
The lecture will begin at 4 p.m. on the 27th in the First Screening Rjoom of the Gearan Center, which is located just south of the corner of Pulteney and Hamilton streets. A wine and cheese reception will follow the lecture. The event is free and open to the public.
The Dove Group intends to hold an annual lecture examinging Dove's work. The group hopes to open a Community Gallery in Dove's honor on the first floor of the Dove building, which is currently undergoing renovations.
More information on the lecture is available from Kathryn Vaughn of the Dove Group at firstname.lastname@example.org. CLICK HERE for the group's website.
A New Lakeside Hotel Rises
HIMROD -- A new lakeside institution is growing just south of Geneva where work crews are starting to put the finishing touches on a year-long effort to revive what had been known as the Rainbow Cove Motel.
On Mother's Day in May, the newly renovated and renamed Plum Point Lodge on Seneca will open with a new look, room renovated from the studs out, and a new restaurant and events center featuring farm-to-table dishes. The video above traces the renovation step-by-step and includes some architectural renderings of what some of the final touches will be adding to Seneca's lakeside life.
Geneva Developer Dave Bunnell is leading a group of investors who are endeavoring to create a new "ground-zero'' for the Finger Lakes wine country. The new Plum Point Lodge -- its website is PlumPointLodgeFLX.com -- will include an events center, a restaurant, a wine shop as well as 31 guest rooms within a few feet of Seneca's shore.
GENEVA -- Click on the graphic above for a good update on a key environmental issue facing the Finger Lakes. The sourge of landfills spewing odor through the wine country promises to become an increasingly contentious issue as the permits for the landfills raking in money in Seneca and Ontario counties move closer to expiration.
GENEVA -- The landscape along Geneva's St. Clair Street literally changed overnight as crews working for Hobart and William Smith Colleges managed to inflate the new, massive indoor sports field that will allow the colleges to take a swipe at Geneva's famous winter weather.
Crews from the Minneapolis company creating this newest element on Geneva's southwestern city scape Sunday said they expect to immediately begin installing lights and readying the new field for use. The sports turf is already installed.
The structure, held up by air pressure, features special entrances that allow athletes and spectators to enter through airlocks that keep the main structure from losing pressure. The new field will allow year-round protection from the elements, which, coincidentally, reared their ugly heads recently with sub-zero temperatures and wind-chills it took a math major to calculate. The facility will be air-conditioned in the summer.
ROCHESTER -- Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the completion of a $79.4 million project to modernize the Greater Rochester International Airport. Building upon New York State's record investments in revitalizing Upstate New York's economy, the airport's enhancements both inside and out will spur tourism and continue the region's forward progress.
"Modern transportation infrastructure is key to bringing new jobs and economic growth to the Finger Lakes region, and the new and improved Greater Rochester International Airport will do just that," Governor Cuomo said. "This project will transform the region by making the airport a gateway to the world and in the process boost tourism, create jobs and move the Finger Lakes Forward."
"As someone who grew up down the Thruway from Rochester, I know that the condition of an airport can either be a sorry reminder of better days gone, or a beautiful testament to a bright future," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "By transforming the formerly outdated Rochester airport, this new gleaming structure is now a spectacular welcome home for residents, and serves as a statement to visitors that the Finger Lakes region is truly moving forward."
The Greater Rochester International Airport renovations were completed on time, just two years after the Governor first announced the project. The transformation included a wide-scale redesign of the airport's terminal building to feature new shopping and dining options for travelers, including a "Taste of Rochester" restaurant and enhanced accessibility and security measures.
The project includes a newly renovated façade and a state-of-the-art canopy that will help protect the roadway outside the terminal from snow and ice during the winter and provide protection for people waiting curbside. The canopy features sustainable solar panels that can provide energy, a full 40,000-gallon rainwater collection system for irrigation and landscaping during the summer months, 24-hour security and LED lighting at night.
Additional exterior enhancements include a smartphone lot, completed in August 2017, allowing motorists to wait nearby until their awaited passengers arrive outside the terminal; new signage and landscaping at the entrance to the airport off I-390; and new LED light fixtures that line the airport's roadway.
As part of the project, Rochester is now the first airport in Upstate New York to install facial recognition and object left behind technology as part of the ongoing efforts to enhance the safety and security of employees and passengers. These cameras will assist the federal, state and local law enforcement, TSA and airport security in accomplishing their mission to provide for the safety and security of the Nation's transportation system.
The Airport is also creating a new Passenger Information Network to reduce passenger anxiety. This network, called ROCview, is free for passengers to use on their mobile devices or mounted tablets in the center food court. ROCview offers passengers the capability to view any of the 21 departure gates in real-time, from anywhere in the terminal on their mobile device, without actually having to be at the gate.
A new digital information hub is available to aid passengers departing at either concourse, and state-of-the-art technology engineered by the Rochester Institute of Technology's National Technical Institute for the Deaf will help guide deaf or hard-of-hearing passengers using different colored visual cues known as "hearing loops." Other technological upgrades to the airport include Bluetooth connectivity for passengers to find flight and gate information on their smartphones and new USB charging stations.
The airport has also partnered with one of Rochester's most popular tourist destinations, The Strong National Museum of Play, to create two play areas for children inside the terminal building.
As part of Governor Cuomo's Upstate Airport Economic Development and Revitalization competition, the Greater Rochester International Airport is just one of many upstate airports that are undergoing safety enhancements and improved operations for a better passenger experience. The Albany International Airport, Syracuse Hancock International Airport, Elmira Corning Regional Airport, Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport, and the Plattsburgh International Airport are all being funded through this initiative.
Airport Food Court
Theatre444 Starts 'Polkadots' Week
GENEVA -- Theatre444, a local theater group, Sunday morning practicing for next weekend's musical presentation of Polkadots, The Cool Kids Musical at the Pat Collins Black Box Theater in the Geneva Community Center.
The Boys & Girls Club of Geneva is proud to host this production Polkadots: The Cool Kids Musical which follows 8-year-old Lily Polkadot who just moved to the "Squares Only" small town of Rockaway. As the first Polkadot in an all Square school, Lily faces an almost impossible task of gaining acceptance from her peers. From daily bullying to segregated drinking fountains, Lily's quest seems hopeless until she meets Sky, a shy Square boy whose curiosity for her unique polkadot skin blooms into an unexpected pal-ship. Inspired by the events of The Little Rock 9, Polkadots: The Cool Kids Musical serves as a colorful history lesson for children, reminding them that our individual differences make us awesome, not outcasts.
Theatre444 will offer four opportunities to see this show with evening productions Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and 2 p.m. matinee performances on Saturday and Sunday. The Pat Collins Theater is located within the Geneva Community Center at 160 Carter Road.
By Chris Lavin
GENEVA -- GENEVA -- Brud Holland is not the kind of chef that likes walking through the dining room, chatting with his customers.
In the Food Channel age of open kitchens and celebrity chefs, Holland prefers his closed, a private space to work his craft. Just gather the best local ingredients, create a menu, pair it smartly with local wines, and work with a team to deliver a culinary experience on the plate.
But when the spring of 2019 arrives, Holland will be taking a more public step into the Finger Lakes culinary scene. Partnering with Geneva developer Dave Bunnell, Holland will bring his farm-to-table cuisine right to the shores of Seneca Lake and in the process help close a significant food gap along Seneca's western wine trail.
Holland, who will continue to manage the Fox Run Cafe, is expanding his role to manage the new food operation at Bunnell's Plum Point Lodge on Seneca. The Plum Point Lodge, formally known as the Rainbow Cove Hotel, is nestled along the shore at about the halfway point between Geneva and Watkins Glen. It is currently undergoing a complete renovation. When it re-opens in May of 2019, it will boast a complete Brud Holland daily menu and will host events managed by Natalie Travis, a veteran of the Finger Lakes food and event scene and, like Holland, a recent addition to the Plum Point team..
"Our goal is to make the Plum Point Lodge a hub for food, wine and lodging on Seneca,'' Bunnell said. "With Brud and Natalie joining our Inn Keeper Chad Kayser, I think we've taken a big step to that goal.''
Holland was trained at the New England Culinary Institute. His well-traveled life as a Navy kid exposed him to many regional cuisines, but for some time now he has focused his professional efforts in the Finger Lakes. He founded the Glen Mountain Market in Watkins Glen, worked at Red Newt and is a leader of the Finger Lakes Culinary Bounty. Most recently, he put Fox Run Winery’s creative lunch offerings on the regional map, winning Fox Run’s Café a prized 3rd Place in the USA Today national ranking of the country’s Best Winery Restaurants.
While other chef's have built their reputations solely on the restaurants where they hang their names, Holland has created a reputation for both his restaurant work and his itinerant special events and catering efforts, proselytizing for true farm-to-table cuisine throughout the region.
At a recent wine-pairing event at the Bellangelo Winery in Himrod, he demonstrated his ability to pair local meats, vegetables and cheeses with local vintages with such virtuosity, the patrons at this $85 event left having learned as much about the region's bounty as its fine wines.
Holland finds the unique, listing locally sourced bison, lamb and red deer as ingredients he hopes to serve to customers who will be surprised they are all Finger Lakes products. Not quite a food chemist, Holland does go beyond the usual chefs in keeping track of the latest, at times discussing new “A-2,’’ milk he says is being sourced locally from specially fed cows and is producing dairy products that the lactose intolerant can handle.
“You would be surprised how rich this region is,’’ Holland says.
When asked what attracted him to this new assignment, Holland simply points out the dining room window at the nearby waterfront.
"That right there,'' he said.”I've always wanted a place on the water here.''
Holland and Travis will give locals a sneak peek at their talents on Oct.21 when they host what they are calling a “Yurt Dinner,’’ a wine and food event that will be part coming out party for this new culinary team and a celebration of the hotel’s new “glamping” yurt rooms.
The menu and wine pairings they are planning for the event give a sense of what Plum Point visitors can expect starting next spring, featuring four select local wines, two local meats and a new signature Plum Point Frozen Custard created by the Spotted Duck Creamery. The dinner is $75 per person; $260 per couple with an overnight yurt rental included.
Travis too is a well-traveled convert to the Finger Lakes. Born in Stuart, Fla, and raised in North Carolina,
she attended college in Las Vegas and has worked in Key Largo, the Caribbean and Vegas before stints at the Harbor Hotel in Watkins Glen and the Lakeside Restaurant and Tavern near Hammondsport. Like Holland, the waterfront location and the unique setting for events attracted her to this challenge.
“We don’t have the size for large weddings,’’ Travis said. “But we do have the setting for very special ones.’’
Holland and Travis’ operation at Plum Point certainly helps remedy what has been a thin area for food on Seneca’s west side, but now may become a bit of a destination.
In addition to Plum Point, Tabora, a new Napa Valley quality wine and food bistro opened this year in nearby Lakemont, joining Christopher Bates’ now famous “Weinery” on nearby Route 14. Tabora also features a full-fledged bakery that has people driving from Watkins Glen and Geneva for their cookies, pies and breads.
“Food on the wine trail has always been a challenge,’’ Bunnell said. “We’re hoping we’ll push this part of the lake past the tipping point to ‘destination’ status for food and wine.’’
Wine Dinner Menu
Plum Point Lodge—“Yurt Dinner”
OCTOBER 21st, 2018, 6PM
@ THE FORMER RAINBOW COVE RESORT
$75 / person
Call (607) 243-7535 for dinner reservation.
Roasted Buttercup & Hubbard Squash Soup with Brussels Bacon “Hash”
Wine: Keuka Spring Vineyards Gewürztraminer
—2018 Governors Cup Winner
Warm, Fall Vegetable Salad
Lively Run Goat Feta,
Stony Brook Squash Seed Oil Dressing
Wine: Forge Cellars 2017 Dry Riesling Classique
—Wine Spectator No. 31 Top 100
Cold Smoked, Bonfire Strip Steaks
Apricot Stomp Glaze
Roasted Pumpkin Polenta
Wine: HJ Wiemer 2017 Cabernet Franc
Plum Point Tartlet
Plum & Port Spotted Duck Frozen Custard
Muranda Raw Milk Blue Cheese
Wine: Fox Run Tawny Port
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