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From farm to plate

WILLSBORO Throughout Essex County are farms that produce hundreds of pounds of fresh fruits, vegetables, and dairy products each year, and some of that produce finds its way to the menus of some of the areas most acclaimed restaurants. Thanks to Adirondack Harvest, people now have an opportunity to experience the connection first-hand. Adirondack Harvest, an initiative of Cornell Cooperative Extension, has organized two farm-to-restaurant tours in September, giving people opportunities for an intimate look at local growers and the restaurants they supply. It gives them a chance to hear the farmers story, said Laurie Davis, Adirondack Harvest coordinator. Its something that makes people feel more connected to where their food is coming from. The two tours, scheduled for Sept. 11 and 13 will feature several farms in Essex, Willsboro, Westport, and Crown Point. Each ends with a visit to one of two nearby restaurants known for using local produce: The Turtle Island Cafe, in Willsboro and The Deers Head Inn, in Elizabethtown. David Martin, Chef at the Turtle Island Cafe, explained that his philosophy is based heavily on obtaining ingredients locally. Its all about knowing where our food comes from, he said. Linda Gilliland of Ben Wever Farm, one of the local suppliers for Turtle Island Cafe, agreed. The more miles the food has on it, the more hands it passes through, and the more chances it has for contamination, she said. According to Martin, eating locally-grown foods not only ensures a fresher, healthier product, it helps keep dollars local. Adirondack Harvest is a great organization for connecting people like me with people who are producing product, Martin said. Transportation between farms is not provided, but with each farm visited, participants will be entered into a drawing for a $30 gift certificate to either restaurant. For more information on tour locations and times, contact Cornell Cooperative Extension of Essex County at 962-4810.

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