Alternative Economics: India's Jajmani System

For some time, I have used this website as a platform to explore alternative economic models. Long time readers will remember explorations into the functioning of agricultural cooperatives in the former East German state as a hedge against unemployment and (a bit closer to home) the Ithaca Hour local currency project. I would like to once again move beyond our everyday economic systems to explore an entirely different way of life and what we can learn from it and possibly bring back to improve our communities back here in Upstate New York: the Hindu Jajmani system.

In her recent book on South Indian caste and religion, Fierce Gods, Diane Mines describes the ‘Jajmani System’:
In 1936, William Wiser first coined the term ‘jajmani system’ to describe a pattern of nonmonetary, nonmarket exchange he found at work in a North Indian village. He found that the non-Brahman landholders (called jajmān) in this village gave shares of their grain harvest as well as cooked food and other goods to other occupational jātis [castes] such as Barbers, Potters, Washermen, Carpenters, and Blacksmiths in return for long-term service. Wiser characterized these exchanges as ‘mutual’ or ‘symmetrical.’ That is, Wiser saw the jajmāni system as a division of labor where landholding castes exchanged grain for the services of the other jātis tit for tat… [1]
In the idealized jajmani system, all of the castes, “the priest, bard, accountant, goldsmith, florist vegetable grower, etc.etc, are served by all the other castes. They are the jajmans of these other castes. In turn each of these castes has a form of service to perform for the others. Each in turn is master. Each in turn is servant.”[2] Mines describes (in 1990) the continuation of this system in some economic areas: blacksmiths still came around to repair plows and wheels, barbers cut hair, washermen washed clothes and garland makers rode through town on bicycles every morning, throwing flowers (used for decoration of home altars) on front stoops. None of these people were typically paid in cash for their services[3]; however, during harvest, they were able to come to all of their traditional jajman—whether their services had been called upon or not—for a small share of grain (she describes as roughly 3 kg per household). Kumar reports that recompense could take the form of rent-free land, butter, milk, clothing and use of fruit trees. Miner describes one case where the landlord castes had set aside a field for the use of the potter caste, which they either rented or used for their own crops. The specialized castes also enjoyed other privileges on particular holy days: ritual meals, uncooked ceremonial foods and small gifts (candy, small amounts of cash, garlands and wooden spoons). They were, though, also expected to provide certain services on holy days and for life rituals, for example the washermen provide the wicks for oil lamps at weddings and the potters created special jars for ritual uses on holy days.

What separates the jajmani system from a contractual one is: (1) that it is an inheritable one, one generation of farmers has a relationship with the children of the specialized caste members that their parents had relationships with, (2) it is exclusive, in that a jajman family cannot receive specialized services from anyone except their traditional family clients and (3) finally, it is more than economic transaction, but assumes a ritual character and a supposed relationship of ‘affection.’ One’s traditional interlocutors in the jajmani system were viewed, in a way, as extended portions of the family.

This is not, however, to say that the Jajmani system is without its drawbacks. This system was embedded in a broader caste system and served to protect the rights and privileges of the dominant castes. Kumar writes that, “prior to 1843, many were in the position of serfs, i.e. subject to punishment if they tried to run away, or to change masters without permission of their patron.”[4] At it’s height, it was a form of feudalism, with patrons protecting the legal rights of their clients and clients serving (if necessary) as muscle to protect their patrons. In particular, clients served as ritual sinks for their patron’s bad karma, removing impurities and evil from the higher castes.

Although there is no doubt that the Jajmani System always had exploitative elements [5], many participants saw (and still see, as it does continue in rural India), it as one of mutual reciprocity and ‘affection.’ Those jajman relationships that remain today are ones of choice and are typically used to augment work for wages.

To return back to Upstate New York—a world away from rural India—there are certain elements that remain interesting and useful to us. For one, it shows that a complex civilization can function quite smoothly in a situation where a majority of economic transactions are neither based upon the Market nor upon the control of a centralized State. That South Asian civilization has produced fantastic works of art, music, poetry, philosophy and theology is undeniable—what most Western observers do not realize was that this was done largely upon a Jajmani foundation. Despite the claims of radical Objectivists and Libertarians, it is possible to have a decentralized civilization without a ‘Market.’

Furthermore, it points to a more human-centered form of economics. What is to say that our oil changes, haircuts, floral arrangements (such as on holidays and birthdays), dry cleaning, shoe repair, tailoring, plumbing and carpentry repairs (as opposed to construction) have to be on-the-spot monetary transactions? Would plumbers, dry cleaners, etc, benefit from having guaranteed yearly incomes? I’m not sure, though I know for certain that their clients would benefit greatly from being able to budget in a regular small retainer expenditure instead of large one-time fees. Though most likely most of these would be cash exchanges (perhaps a single large payment once a year or smaller ones throughout the year), the Hindu example shows that the exchange of food, goods and services on ritual occasions can help to forge powerful inter-personal bonds. Can we imagine a world where an elderly woman worked out a system with her plumber to give him garden vegetables in the summer and baked goods around Christmas in return for the peace of mind that comes with the knowledge that she won’t be saddled with a devastatingly huge bill in a plumbing emergency [6]?

By removing cash from the exchange, it becomes a far more personal event, necessitating the building of deeper ties… which become the foundation of viable, healthy communities. Some of the uncertainties and worries that inevitably come with our modern Capitalist system would be alleviated. Cash would—like in India—never disappear, but we would no longer need to view the world as entirely within its bounds.


Interesting Articles:
Is the Caste System Intrinsic to Hinduism?
Changing Inter-Caste Relationships
A view of the modern, adapted Jajmani System
[1] Mines, Diane P. Fierce Gods: Inequality, Ritual and the Politics of Dignity in a South Indian Village. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. 2002.
[2] Kumar, D.S.V.Siddhardha. “
The Jajmani System in India
[3] Though she reports that sometimes, probably for large jobs, they were given a wage in addition to traditional reciprocity.
[4] Kumar
[5] And also never ‘perfect’ or ‘self-contained.’ Miner describes how market and cash forces came into play and that the system was always more flexible and fluid than simple feudalism would allow.
[6] Of course, for the time being at least, some cash would have to exchange hands… the plumber has bills to pay after all. But as interrelationships like these grew, the need for cash would decrease as well.


Crowd Bites Coyote: Predator and Prey

“Kill every buffalo you can, for every buffalo dead is an Indian gone.”- Colonel R.I. Dodge, Fort McPherson, 1867

Unfortunately this was the kind of thinking that has gone on in the past and seems to be continuing throughout [sic] history. Recently I arrived home to find a new edition of The Valley News (Vol. #56; Jan. 16, 2007; Number 3) from Springwater, NY. The Valley News is pretty much roughly a few pages of articles, followed by advertisements, followed by more death notices and the such, then some supermarket ads, finally reaching to the last page’s article proclaiming - “Now That The Holidays Are Over: Filling TheEmptiness In The Pit Of Our Stomachs”- a religious article. That pretty much rounds out The Valley News, except for the front page advertisement. For on the front page beneath The Valley News header and spanning the rest of the page is an advertisement for a “Coyote Hunting Contest - Grand Prize $2,500 Cash with an entry fee of $10". You can also add on the price of a New York State Hunting License if you don’talready have one. The competition is being put together by
Dick Kraft Real Estate, Honeoye Fish & Game Club and Austin Master Services Inc.

I have lived in the area from over 23 years and I don’t believe I’ve evercome across a coyote. I was under the impression that only within the last 10 years or so when the coyote rumor mill started churning out sightings and the eerie moonlit night howl, but perhaps I’m wrong. I’ve heard of other people in the neighborhood shooting coyotes and else where in Upstate, but never did I think I would see a coyote hunting contest. It seems that coyote hunting is becoming a booming interest in the USA withover an estimated 500 such calling contests. On top of these contests theUS Department of Agriculture’s “predator control system” “destroys” about 80,000 coyotes a year on private and public lands nationwide. After I started learning more, I kept randomly stumbling across more fresh information- like a recent article published by The Democrat & Chronicle [Of Rochester] about a man’s coyote hunting experience.

Here are some coyote facts:
The Eastern Coyote at a glance: (NYS DEC)
Description: The Eastern coyote looks like a medium-sized German shepherd dog, with long thick fur. The tail is full and bushy, usuallycarried pointing down. Ears are erect and pointed.
Length: 4 to 5 feet (including tail)
Weight: 35 to 45 pounds (males usually larger than females.)
Color: Variable, from blonde or reddish blonde to dark tan washedwith black. Legs, ears and cheeks usually reddish.

Some other interesting information is that in Navajo Mythology the coyote is an important character:
Áłtsé hashké (First Scolder) or Mą'ii (Roamer) or (Coyote)- Generally regarded as the trickster, but who hangs around First Man and First Woman and through his foolish actions reveals the limitations of the spiritual and material realities and the consequences of transgressing them. He is the unwitting agent of First Man's and First Woman's creation designs and yet coyote is considered as a very dangerous entity because of his irresponsible and foolish application of his acquired and limited knowledge of the dual creative and destructive powers of creation, for his own personal egotistical gain. The consequences of his lack of foresight in the wielding these powers also applies to actions started at the material level of creation. Considered a Díyín diné’é.

In an article I wrote some time ago (Manual of the Zoo... [For Animals Not at the Zoo]) about the appearance ofanimals in cinema states:
I believe that on a large scale the appearance of these animals in cinema represents our collective desire as a civilization to express the mysterious and magical nature of these creatures. It might seem like we know so much about them, yet at the same time I think we know so little. Many people like to take the stand point that animals areinferior to human beings, therefore allowing for their exploitation byhuman hands; I however would like to believe that animals are intelligent,some perhaps more than others, and as many of the movies have pointed out,animals have something to offer us (other than their dead bodies).

It seems that the coyote is a vital part of our eco-system and that this spectacle of hunting them for competition can only makes our collective situation worse off. Yes, you can win $2,500 which would be a nice lump of appreciation in a lot of folks pocket’s around here, but I don’t think it can measure against a healthy eco-system. I also think that the relationship between predator and prey has gone aloof - I would be curious to know what they are going to do with all the coyote meat and fur. Will they just be hung up in their front yards, like I’ve heard taking place elsewhere in Upstate. Are you really doing this to survive or are you just taking another life to make some money?

What do you think?

"Why would I go to Safeway if I could catch coho in the stream outside my door? I wouldn’t. So how do those in power make certain I lack food self-sufficiency? Simple. Eliminate free food sources. Eliminate wild nature. For the same is true, obviously, for everything that is wild and free, for everything else that can meet our needs without us having to paythose in power. The push to privatize the world’s water helps make sense of official apathy surrounding the pollution of (free) water sources. You just watch: air will soon be privatized: I don’t know how they’ll do it, but they’ll certainly find a way.” - Endgame, Derrick Jensen
Sans Soleil by Chris Marker,Youtube Video(Year of the Dog) - one of my favourite movies ever!

Eastern Coyote Wikipedia

Coyote Killing Contest Prompts Howls

Hunting: The Competitive Spirit
Graffiti on the Rochester Legal Wall - 2005

end transmission

Editor's Note: Jefredomismo's blog, http://loveyourdestiny.blogspot.com, is back online and making good use of a sweet new photo scanner. Check it out.


Tastes of the Region #14: Early Thoughts on a Finger Lakes cuisine

Over lunch and later, while hiking, I thought about the forest and the farms of the Finger Lakes that I had seen and how generations of people had been supported by foods produced by this land. Devising a cuisine for this place, giving full expression as a set of tastes, seemed like a good idea. After all, almost any local cuisine would be an improvement on the current food system that burns corn for home heat, runs on huge quantities of hydrocarbons and incorporates petroleum distillates into our food.

Our technology allows us to transport goods and communicate information in a way that increasingly homogenizes the world’s food and diet by making all edible things seem equally available. A supermarket in our area displays foodstuffs raised in the southern hemisphere and transported and stored in specialized environments, so that we can enjoy our favorite foods no matter what the season, so long as we can pay for the ingredients. Helpfully, the market posts recipes for unfamiliar foods that can be torn off at the same time that the foods are being bagged and weighed for purchase.

On another hand, our preferences for certain kinds of food are durable. Ethnic foodways are some cultural components that last best and survive longest in “the melting pot.” When language, clothing, gesture and most other components of lifestyle have become Americanized, food preferences linger on.

As far as I know, no one in this particular corner of the melting pot called the Finger Lakes (roughly a 14 county area of 8,000 square miles around 11 lakes in west-central New York State) has considered what would constitute our “regional cuisine,” so we are free to imagine. Before a Finger Lakes cuisine can even be approached, there are practical concerns and questions that require some tentative answers.

The questions deal with the availability of transported foods, the season of the year, how much theory versus how much practice will be involved, a distinction between native and imported crops (and native to which regions), and the fidelity to/blending of other existing regional cuisines and ethnic diets. A regional cuisine predictably favors the native crops of the region over transported foods, while keeping the door open for others; addresses seasonal variability; offers both theoretical perspectives and practical suggestions; and avoids simply importing other ethnic foodways to fill in our own gap. In addition, it would be productive to ask what this cuisine is for and to provide answers that emphasize the various roles of food to give comfort, pleasure, and promote health.

The Finger Lakes region is favored with excellent soils and a good growing climate, hard as that may be to believe in the depths of January. We receive something like a yard of precipitation per year and more than half falls during the growing season. Our soils, a mixture of sand, silt, and clay particles left by glacial action, were formed and made rich by ten thousand years of forests and, where deep and flat enough, will grow anything not requiring tropic heat.

The Finger Lakes region supported people who ate well prior to the arrival of European fur traders and missionaries. These earliest people called themselves Ongweh Howeh, or real people, and ate a wide variety of foods provided by the local landscape. Like many other cultures, they devised recipes that turned the potential uniformity of a few basic foodstuffs into a diversity of tastes, a cuisine, as our French cousins would say. The word cuisine’s own history relates to the Latin coquina, for things pertaining to the kitchen and cookery and undoubtedly is rooted in role of the Roman household gods, their lares and penates.

Archaeological investigations indicate that people living in the Finger Lakes for thousands of years hunted and gathered plants and animals for their sustenance. They ate birds such as ducks, geese, turkeys and grouse; larger animals like white-tailed deer, beaver and bear, squirrels, possums and raccoons; and turtles and fish from the streams and lakes. They gathered the roots of plants like Jerusalem artichokes, leeks, and cat-tails; ate greens from plants now considered common weeds such as milkweed, cowslips and lamb’s-quarters; gathered plums, elderberries, strawberries, and black raspberries; used acorns, walnuts, chestnuts, sunflower seeds and hickory nuts for their meat and oil; and tapped the maple trees for their sugary sap.

The activities of these hunters and gatherers slowly changed the environment in which they lived by favoring certain plants and animals for their usefulness and discouraging others. The dividing line between hunting/gathering and farming is not as definite as you might think at first. If you saw that white-tailed deer were attracted to openings in the woods, wouldn’t you set some fires to create and maintain these openings? It would make your hunting that much easier if you could draw these animals closer by offering good browse. Likewise, if you gathered wild plants and prepared them to eat in your home, wouldn’t the seeds of these plants tend to fall in your yard? As these plants proliferated nearby where you could observe their progress, wouldn’t you notice that some were larger, stronger and produced more of what you wanted in greenery, seeds, fruits or roots? Wouldn’t you select seeds and cuttings from these better plants to re-plant near your home in order to have good things nearer at hand? The domestication of crop plants begins with observation and selection. The cultivation of domestic crops begins with altering the environment to create conditions favorable to their growth. A domesticated plant or animal is nothing other than a wild animal or plant so altered in its relationship with humans that it begins to require human intervention and management.

About a thousand years ago, and five hundred years before the first white visitors or colonists arrived, the Ongweh Howeh received a gift that would change their lives. Whether the gift was brought by migrating groups of people (probably coming north and east along the Allegheny River), or was brought by a long, well-established systems of trade, or was taken in the process of raiding neighboring people, it consisted of a few basic agricultural plants and information needed to successfully cultivate them: squash, followed by corn, and finally beans. Women, whose previous role had entailed preparing the gathered foodstuffs and perhaps nurturing early domesticates, found themselves in charge of the gardens. Men contributed to the gardens by clearing land and processing the harvest but remained primarily hunters, even traveling away from home and village for months to follow the food animals.

Whatever the origin and the transmission of the original seeds, they were also attended by sufficiently detailed cultivation instructions to assure their success. The Ongweh Howeh learned that land would have to be cleared for crops to prosper, that wood ash from the burned trees and the land‘s natural fertility would yield good crops for as long as a generation, and that movement to new villages and fields would be necessary to continue gardening beyond that time. They learned that corn, beans and squash would benefit from being planted together in mounded soil and would grow better if weeds were kept away from the food plants, requiring cultivation with hoes.

A regional cuisine for the Finger Lakes is necessarily grounded in this deep agricultural history and in one Native American word: succotash. Like many words scattered over our landscape, succotash originated in the east (the Narragansett coined the word misisckquatash for an ear of corn) and migrated west where it came to be applied to any dish that contained both cooked corn and beans. The Iroquois, as the Ongweh Howeh came to be called by others, had many variations on this dish but called succotash ogosase. A Seneca recipe gathered by Phyllis Williams Bardeau in Iroquois Woodland Favorites (2005) requires “6 ears green corn, 1 pint shelled beans, ¼ cup diced fried salt pork, and salt/pepper. Cut kernels from cobs and scrape off the milk. Place corn in a pot, add the shelled beans, diced salt pork and seasonings. Add water to almost cover (ewowe’sah). Stir frequently (da’ja’ne’) to keep from scorching. Cook for about ½ hour.” Archaeologist Arthur Parker’s Iroquois Uses of Maize (1910) specified that both sweet corn and Tuscarora-variety corn in the “green corn” stage were used, and Tuscarora Dorothy Crouse contributed a very similar recipe to Iroquois Indian Recipes (1978). Ethnologist F.W. Waugh’s Iroquois Foods and Food Preparation (1916) adds several details to the process: the corn was pounded to express its “milk” before boiling, half of a deer’s jawbone was the traditional corn-scraping tool, and maple syrup might be added for taste.

Succotash can be wonderful or awful. It is not a dish that cans well, but it has been canned, overcooked and piled on a plate of meat and potatoes in a way that is not encouraging. Usually, the canned beans are lima beans, a more southern bean than those raised in the Finger Lakes. But who would judge a food by its canned version? Remember that canning’s short history dates from Napoleon’s desire to fuel a huge army a long way from home in inhospitable climes.

We are not an army. We are close to home, our earth is not blackened, and at certain times of year when both the corn and beans are ripe, real succotash becomes a possibility. The absolute necessity for fresh ingredients means that real succotash can only occur for two and a half months of the year, between mid-July and early October. Break open the pods, shell the immature beans into a sauce pan and cook lightly in water enough to cover. Lima beans are okay, but almost any bean picked short of maturity can be a shell-bean. Shell-beans are partly mature beans in which the pod has not begun to harden and the beans have not developed their final, hard coat. Some Iroquois recipes call for “cranberry-style” beans, big fat ones. Take a sharp knife and score the corn kernels along their rows. Then hold the ear against a plate and scrape off the corn kernels. Go as deep as you can on the cob (to get the ‘milk’ as Bardeau calls it) and put the kernels into the sauce pan with the half-cooked beans. Some prefer younger corn for greater sweetness, but others like the texture of fully mature kernels. All the authors specify “green corn” for succotash, an important cultural distinction to the Iroquois who celebrate the appearance of that stage of corn development in late July or early August. In our time, sweet corn is corn that is delayed in the “green corn” stage of development, staying sweeter longer. Add some butter (unavailable to the poor Indians) and sauté briefly. Serve and eat with a dish and spoon, or eat it right out of the pan with the serving spoon. You may want to drain off a little of the liquid and replace it with cream (those poor, poor Indians) and re-heat.

Voila- the basis of a Finger Lakes regional cuisine. Admittedly, succotash still sounds like a side-dish, even with the addition of butter and cream. To make it more like a meal, add some dried or freshly fried summer squash to sweeten the mix, as the Jesuits noted in their Relations from the early 1600s. Yellow crookneck and pattypan would be the best squash varieties.

If you want more substance yet, consider frying and adding a few bits of fat meat as a garnish to the dish. Presuming that you have neither the fattier parts of bear, beaver nor deer available, a little fried-up or boiled salt pork a.k.a. side-meat or bacon would suit your purposes.

Salt and pepper would taste good on succotash, but neither would have been used in the old days. Remember that all those exploratory voyages were about discovering a new route to the spice isles to bring back peppercorns. The Iroquois got a peppery taste from adding smartweed leaves or black mustard seeds to the dish.

Salt was known in the New World but not trusted. The Onondaga regarded the salt springs in their territory as unhealthy, perhaps possessed. Instead of gathering salt from those springs, the Iroquois dried and burned coltsfoot leaves and used the salty ashes as a seasoning. To the detriment of their health, colonial settlers ignored the Indians’ warnings about the overuse of both salt and tobacco.

Waugh notes that most of the true Iroquois dishes were either some form of bread (baked or boiled) or stew (like succotash) and could have been seasoned with a “handful of gnats.” Anyone trying a first bowl of traditional Iroquois corn soup (whose ingredients are exactly the same as succotash but treated and cooked differently) would find it bland, but they are more likely to reach for the proffered salt and pepper, or sugar, than get themselves a handful of gnats, a slug of maple syrup, or coltsfoot ashes. Convenience and authenticity are often at odds, but perhaps the coltsfoot and the cream are worth a taste.

Succotash is a promising beginning, but remember that its season is less than three months. For the rest of year, a Finger Lakes cuisine would need to rely on stored foods, root crops, animal flesh (migrating birds, salmon runs), seeds, nuts and greens. Each of five or ten major seasons would have its dominant flavor, though some form of corn would appear in each. Parker says early travelers among the Iroquois were “impressed with the number of ways of preparing corn and enumerate from 20 to 40 methods.”

The Finger Lakes region was colonized by successive waves of immigrants, beginning with New Englanders moving inland, followed by English, Scots, Irish, Germans, Poles, Hungarians, Slovaks and Slovenes. The migration has never ended, though its points-of-origin have changed over time to Bosnia, Ethiopia, Guatemala, or Hong Kong. Almost all the early colonies were full of hungry people, and the mortality of colonists from hunger and Native Americans from disease was astounding. The ongoing hunger seems to prove that the Old World crops did not find a place quickly in the New World and that the colonists did not readily adopt New World foods and crops, which were all around them. It’s almost a cliché to say that the earliest colonies were saved from starvation and failure only by the intervention of the native people or food stores stolen from them.

Of course, there’s more to eating than simply having the foodstuffs available, and it must have taken some time and experimentation for the cooks to find ways to make the new foods not only palatable but delicious. To whom could they look when considering the uses of an ear of corn? The Iroquois maintained eight or ten main varieties of corn whose strengths were exploited by various means of preparation. Parker makes it clear that the Iroquois had developed elaborate methods to roast, fry, dry, re-hydrate, bake, soak, hull (treat with wood ash to make hominy), boil, grind into meal and flour, and even rot the ear of corn so as to have potentially a variety of dishes from that same ear.


Yesterday, I carried my lunch in a freezer bag in my backpack on a long hike along the Interloken Trail in the Finger Lakes National Forest. I stopped for lunch a mile or so on my way, sitting on a shady but dry wooden walkway, not far from the intersection with the Backbone Trail. While eating, I noticed that the boardwalk supported a colony of carpenter ants that came out to investigate the sugars they smelled in my lunch. The boardwalk was shaded by a small stand of beaked hazelnut (Corylus cornuta), a highly edible nut when ripe later in the season, if you can beat the squirrels to them. At points on the trail, wood thrushes sang and pileated woodpeckers drummed.

I was carrying three sandwiches wrapped in waxed paper and kept cool by the cold cans of Adirondack grape soda also in the bag. Two of the sandwiches were sliced chicken, made from a thigh sautéed in a mixture of grape syrup (grape jelly which failed to set in 1994) and hot pepper flakes. Over the sliced chicken in the roll was a light slaw of chopped cabbage and broccoli stems with a grating of carrot and onion and a little vinegar dressing. There was so much failed wild grape jelly in 1994 that I’ve been devising recipes to use it ever since. The wild grapes were gathered in October from the roadsides near Hi Tor, Sunnyside and Vine Valley in Yates County. The sandwiches were made on long rolls baked by Petrillo’s of Rochester, a stronghold of Italian-Americans which, although only on the periphery of the Finger Lakes, might be honorarily included for its bread. I saved the second sandwich for a spot remembered from an earlier walk, beneath a stand of big oaks in an open field, an oasis of shade in a cow pasture.

The third roll was smeared with chunky peanut butter, non-native ingredients but crushed into a paste by the Once Again Nut Butters of Nunda, NY, an old hippy co-operative outfit. Against the organic peanut butter was absolutely fresh blackberry jam, which had been berries hanging on prickly stalks in roadside and hedgerow stands less than twenty-four hours before. Picked with some pain, carried in baskets, sorted, washed, and cooked into a deep magenta paste, gelled, sugared and preserved in glass half-pints, the berries produced surplus in the pan for a few sandwiches. The menu was a practical one, mandated by the heat of the day, need to carry and be handy to eat outdoors.


In its early phase, a cuisine for the Finger Lakes would need to be simple but capable of expansion and greater complexity as it comes into contact with new foods, new preparations, and other cuisines. It should be healthy, though of course anything can be taken to excess. Both succotash and grape-glazed chicken sandwiches are healthy in the sense of being well-balanced nutritionally as well as satisfying the needs of an active life. The cuisine implied here is also sustainable in the sense that we know that the crops flourish here, skilled farmers could be paid to produce these crops, some ingredients could be gathered at no cost at all, some beginning has already been made, and there is a long history behind this cuisine. These foods are affordable so they could be widely distributed and eaten in the area.

I’m not posing as a culture czar, but I will make a pitch for some foods that seem central to my enjoyment of life in the Finger Lakes. They are foods that I can grow in my garden or gather from hedgerows and roadsides, and the prospect of experimenting with their tastes is exciting. Some are literally as old as the hills; others brand new to this place. Making food that tastes good is an experiment. When I teach kids about wild poisonous and edible plants of the area, sometimes I have to explain the skill that goes into cooking. I point out that their parents don’t feed them a big spoonful of wheat flour out of the bag, but that a skilled baker can take that flour, treat it properly, add some other ingredients and produce a sweet roll. The same thing goes for wild edible plants- I give them a grape or an elderberry to sample the taste- it’s sour! Someone who knows food, like your mom, can do something with this taste. Ohhh.

Another new Finger Lakes cuisine could begin with our wines. Though grapes have been grown here for 150 years, our wines remained undistinguished until recently. Because of several amendments of New York State tax law in the early 1980s, farm land is taxed at a lower rate, and small, farm-based wineries are exempt from regulations that have hampered upstate New York’s economic development. With these modest advantages, farm-based wineries have flourished in the Finger Lakes, growing more than hundredfold in twenty-five years. Though their production is still small compared to that of the Napa Valley, these wineries have begun to produce wines of unique flavor and to attract national attention. How long it will be before the local cheeses and breads that are the proper accompaniments of these wines will be crafted by expert cheesemakers and bakers? Let me re-phrase the same question: Who will milk the sheep and goats twice a day daily? Who will get up at 3 a.m. to bake today’s fresh bread?

-by Stephen Lewandowski

A long-time York Stater, Steve has published eight books of poetry and his poems and essays have appeared in regional and national environment and literary journals and anthologies. An environmental educator, he is a founder of the Coalition for Hemlock and Canadice Lakes and has worked with numerous environmental and community organizations in the western Finger Lakes. His most recent book of poems, One Life, was published by Wood Thrush Books of Vermont. His work is either forthcoming or recently published in snowy egret, Bellowing Ark, Pegasus, Hanging Loose, Free Verse, Avocet, and Blueline.


More Snow

Here are a few shots by Kate Tomlinson of Ithaca in the snow... she's obviously a better photographer than I am. You can see more of her work at her flickr page, she also has a site at www.katetomlinson.com.


Town and Gown: Looking closer at Syracuse and Aurora

These days, it appears that there is a push in many circles to break down the ‘Ivory Tower’ and bring the resources of academia to the aid of the surrounding communities. Numerous colleges have begun programs in service learning, where students work at charities as a form of education; at SU, anthropology graduate students (like myself) can take a class in ‘collaborative action research’[1] for their methods requirement.

These relatively minor academic pursuits have recently become more substantial. In cities like Binghamton and Syracuse, politicians and pundits are looking to the Academy for the solution to the problems of our declining city-centers. It is undeniable that a large University can have tremendous economic and cultural effect upon the surrounding community, but before we throw ourselves completely upon the Ivory Tower (or the art world), it is probably a good idea to examine the possible effects. So, for the purposes of comparison and discussion, I would like to bring up the contrasting examples of Syracuse University-Syracuse and Wells College-Aurora.

Syracuse University is, according to the Post-Standard newspaper, the largest single employer (7,371 employees) in the city and undoubtedly numerous other business and individuals survive on the existence of the students in the community (see the SU Economic Impact Report for more info). Over the past 20 years Syracuse has continually declined in population and wealth; on any drive through the city one can’t help but notice rows of abandoned houses and empty stores.

With the arrival of Nancy Cantor, the University’s new Chancellor, SU has adopted a policy of community engagement called: “Scholarship in Action.” The new Chancellor has attempted to bring SU and Syracuse closer together in order to build the community.

One of the biggest projects is the Connective Corridor. Corridor is a proposed link between the University and Downtown; according to the website:

When completed, the Connective Corridor will consist of a vibrant pedestrian and bicycle pathway with distinctive landscaping, lighting, benches, historical information, and public art spaces. An accompanying public shuttle bus route will be offered free of charge to riders commuting between cultural venues, shops, hotels and Syracuse University.

The design will hopefully bring traffic to poor neighborhoods between the Armory Square and University Hill. Also included is a plan to clean up Onondaga Creek and turn it into an ‘urban forest.’ This will build upon the earlier project, The Warehouse, which turned an abandoned downtown warehouse into an art gallery and school of architecture.

This plan, of course, still in the future, though I’m excited about the possibilities. One of the Chancellor’s plans for students to ‘Explore the Soul of Syracuse’ was to give all of this year’s Freshmen $50 gift cards for them to use Downtown. The problem with the cards was that they were set up through Mastercard… meaning they were useable anywhere a card could be used. According to a recent story in the Daily Orange (the independent student newspaper), few of the cards have found there way Downtown, but wer instead used at chain stores in the mall or for online purchases.

While the jury is out on Syracuse and Chancellor Cantor’s plan to restore prosperity to the city, the community is not as ambivalent in Aurora, NY. Wells dominates Aurora economically even more so than SU to Syracuse. The village has a population of 720 and the college has roughly 200 employees and 500 students (according to Wikipedia).

In 2001 Wells College joined with alumnus Pleasant Rowland (creator of the American Girls company) to restore its buildings in downtown Aurora. In an attempt to “improve the historic character and attractiveness” of Aurora, buildings were destroyed and exteriors were altered. By 2002 the Aurora Coalition, a community preservation organization was formed to stop Rowland and Wells—who they accused of remaking the town without any public input and of destroying or remaking historic structures in the name of ‘historic recovery.’ The town has become polarized over the issue and legal measures have been undertaken (and have largely failed). Many fear that Aurora is being gentrified and that locals will be forced out of their community by Rowland’s ‘improvements’.

The Aurora example shows us the possible difficulties that our communities face when they turn to the Academy for revitalization. This is different than relying upon a corporation—because a university is either a non-profit or a government agency—and is not solely motivated by the profit margin. However, our local communities must remember that while collaboration with a University (or a philanthropist like Rowland) can bring tremendous resources to bear that would be otherwise unavailable, their collaboration can also mean the community losing power over its own development. In the worse case, the community can be transformed beyond recognition and the locals can find themselves gentrified out of a home.


[1] Collaborative action research is a form of research where the researchers works in partnership with a community organization in order to help them to answer their questions.


Syracuse Snow

I've had some requests from far away lands (Minnesota) to put up some pictures of our snow. Granted, Syracuse hasn't been hit nearly as bad as a few points north of here, but I thought that since I can't get up there (I can't get my car out of the driveway yet, though I did dig for a few hours today), this will have to do. So here is the snow up in the 'Cuse today.


Tastes of the Region #13: Breweries and Brewpubs

Of the many trends and fads that sweep America, some have more substance than others. The mid-90s, along with Roseanne and pogs[1], saw the appearance of ‘micro-breweries’ and ‘brewpubs’ in large numbers upon the American scene. The American beer scene of the 1970s and 80s had become highly homogenized; beginning with Prohibition, the American beer industry had become centralized into the hands of a tiny number of corporations—led by Anheuser-Busch—that standardized beer around mild, pale lagers.

The reaction against national beer uniformity around what many considered to be a relatively insipid standard, was that many beer affecionados turned instead to homebrewing in the European ‘cask beer’ style. Slowly, some of the more successful homebrewers began opening brewpubs (a small brewery with its own pub attached) and microbreweries (small scale breweries with local distrobution).

Able and willing to focus upon flavor and variety, these small operations have risen to 3.04% of the national market. This seems small, and it is, but it must be noted that sales of craf beers in the USA have risen every year for 36 years and they currently produce 6.25 million barrels of beer a year[2]. Craft beer is the fastest growing segment of the American alcohol industry.

The growth of the craft beer industry has paralleled the rise of similar movements in organic food, local food, artisan cheese and Slow Food—they rise out of a shared concern for a growing homogenization of, and decline of quality in, the American diet. Unfortunately, this shared affinity has not been fully recognized by either side—most organic beers are from overseas (Germany and England from my experience), American craft brewers pride themselves on traveling overseas to buy hops (especially from Central Europe) and, for instance, my co-op does not carry organic alcohol.[3] This is especially painful for us here in NY, since at one time (back in the halycon days before Prohibition), we were the source of the finest hops in the United States. Hops barns in the Hudson Valley and the Leatherstocking region moulder into oblivion as our local brewpubs fly to Germany.

Recently, though, there has been a glimmering of change. For the first time in 50 years, a local brewery has created a beer entirely using NYS hops: the Ithaca Beer Company’s Double Pale Ale. On a similar note, the national Brewer’s Association has begun an alliance with Slow Food to promote craft beer not only as a form of artisan food but as a politically charged alternative to food homogenization. We can perhaps begin to see a future where small local breweries using local grain and hops create a regional drinking culture where the land’s bounty can be tasted.
In the meantime, for those of you who are now hankering to try a local beer, I have set up:

A York Stater’s list of Upstate microbreweries and brewpubs

Whether you live in Corning or Plattsburgh, there is probably a local taste right in your neighborhood. For instance, Syracuse, where I live today, has two excellent choices: the Middle Ages Brewing Company and the Syracuse Suds Factory (I’m partial to The Beast at Middle Ages and the Irish Red at Syracuse Suds). You might also want to check out this article on Ommegang brewery in Cooperstown and the future of NYS beer tourism and http://www.pubcrawler.com/ for a national listing of such establishments.


[1] On a bizarre side-note, the Army Airforce Exchange Service has begun issuing pogs as a form of currency in Iraq and Afghanistan stating that shipping metal currency abroad for the soldier’s use has become prohibitively expensive. Here’s a site dedicated to them: http://www.aafes-pogs.com/
[2] Statistics from http://www.beertown.org/craftbrewing/statistics.html
[3] Though, this may be for various legal complications of which I am ignorant.


Snowboating Across New York

That was a year of several major snows, the kind that the Alberta Clipper pushes down on us from Canada, and coming over the Great Lakes it gives us quite a belt. I was snug enough at home, a beautiful New York State farmhouse called The Cricket built about 1850 overlooking the valley estate of that village’s most eminent family. Their farmers clipped the pasture just over the split rail fence; their gardeners tended the formal gardens which we viewed, from a distance, with great pleasure.

I was living about 150 miles as the crow flies east of my hometown, in a village by historic Glimmerglass Lake and not far from the Catskills. You’ve probably heard of Cooperstown in the context of the Baseball Hall of Fame, but this was before that small town was destroyed by the malignant growth of baseball memorabilia. Its pharmacy sold drugs by prescription, its market food and its jeweler watches in a beautiful downtown setting, and not as it is today where the shells of businesses remain but inside they are all “collectibles.”

Cooperstown also hosted the New York State Historical Association which, with the state university, sponsored a graduate program in American folk culture. I was a student in the folklore program taught by the man who wrote “Things That Go Bump in the Night.”

Around mid-December when we the holidays were coming up, my girlfriend from Glen Lake, Minnesota came to visit. Jesse and I had met four years before at a Quaker school in Pennsylvania, and we had a lot in common. We both liked to travel and were students of philosophy and natural history. We kept in close touch. She had arranged to stop with me in Cooperstown as part of longer trip east, and we agreed that she would travel with me to my parents’ home just before Christmas.

At the Cricket, there was no television; there was a small radio but no good stations within miles so we scarcely listened. I never would have thought to look for a weather forecast. We piled our gear in my car late on Friday afternoon and drove off.

The car was the first one I ever owned: a cream-colored 1967 Plymouth Valiant. “Violet” was imbued with many magical properties to go along with its trusty slant-six engine. I had traveled across the continent in Violet, and she and I had lived beside the Puget Sound for a year. One of her fabled properties was that she was “good in snow.” I helped that with sand bags in the trunk and studded snow tires. The Valiant had been a small car in the year of its manufacture but survived long enough to become at least mid-sized. As its springs deteriorated, it wallowed a bit like a boat sideways, an effect exaggerated by the rear-wheel drive.

As we drove north to connect with NYS Route 20 for the trip west, the dusk seemed to fall unusually quickly, aided by gusts of snow. In fact, it was snowing hard from the moment we left until the moment we arrived hours later. Night had fallen by the time we reached 20 in Richfield Springs, and the road began to grow indistinct. It was as if our headlights were feeling their way along, and we were pulled behind.

Main Streets of West Winfield, Nelson and Cazenovia were lit and decorated for Christmas. We bustled past the displays.

South of Syracuse, 20 rises and falls over a series of hills and valleys, remnants of the Appalachians. Going up the hills, we seemed to be in a constant, semi-controlled skid. Coming down, I worked the brake lightly and used the whole road. We climbed to Pompey, then descended to Big Bend, crossed Butternut Creek swathed in snow, and rose to LaFayette. At LaFayette, we nodded north to where the Onondaga Reservation lay in darkness. From LaFayette, we descended to Onondaga Creek, sweeping by the village of Cardiff, where the stone giant had been buried (we’d visited him, lying naked outside in the cold, protected only by a shed roof at the Farmers Museum).

The road and its signs became part of the general blanket of snow, distinguished only by an occasional light or marker. The snow was blowing in from the northwest and formed drifts across the road that lifted us slightly as we breasted them, like a boat in waves. I aimed for the centerline, to allow the maximum clearance for error. A few other cars approached on the road, and they seemed to be following the same principle, since we would aim right at one another then pull to our side within a few hundred yards. I joked about it with Jesse, to let her know it wasn’t accidental.

After crossing Onondaga Creek, we were on a long rise into Navarino, then Skaneateles, and finally Auburn, where U.S. 5 & N.Y. 20 combined for our westward trip. Coming into Auburn, the streetlight globes were shrouded in snow as we proceeded downhill into the business district on Genesee Street. It seemed like everything but the bars had been closed down by the storm. We had been on the road four hours, saw few other travelers and wanted to stop somewhere safe and warm. At just the moment that we began to wonder if there was any place in Auburn for us, the Parkside Diner appeared, all lit up and open for business.

The Parkside is a railroad-car-style diner that sits on a steel trestle above the Owasco Lake Outlet and, being a stormy Friday night, had left-over clam chowder as a special on the menu. The warmth of the diner reminded me of how tired the tension of the drive had made me. Jesse and I had talked at first, listened to radio reports of the storm blowing in, then grew quiet.

At the diner, the bright lights and warmth made an enchantment. I’ve never known food so delicious nor company so pleasant. There were only two or three customers and as many waitresses, all glad to be comfortable inside, watching the drifts pile up in the parking lot across the street. We each had a piece of pie, which tasted fresh and home-made, and several cups of coffee.

It was hard to leave the diner. I looked back on its warm lights as we drove away west. But I knew that, though the storm might increase, we were only sixty miles from home and 5&20 settled into the same trough once occupied by the Erie Canal, so we’d been through the worst of the hills. In fact, the next leg of our trip took us across Montezuma Swamp near its juncture with Cayuga Lake, through once-suffragist Seneca Falls and Waterloo and along the canal linking Cayuga and Seneca Lakes. When the bright crown of lights appeared along the Seneca Lake shore, guiding our entry into Geneva, we were on familiar ground and needed only to push through the next fifteen miles of familiar landscapes half-hidden by snow, past local landmarks of roadhouse and gas station, to see the glow of Canandaigua’s lights in the clouds at the horizon before us.

-by Stephen Lewandowski

A long-time York Stater, Steve has published eight books of poetry and his poems and essays have appeared in regional and national environment and literary journals and anthologies. An environmental educator, he is a founder of the Coalition for Hemlock and Canadice Lakes and has worked with numerous environmental and community organizations in the western Finger Lakes.

His most recent book of poems, One Life, was published by Wood Thrush Books of Vermont. His work is either forthcoming or recently published in snowy egret, Bellowing Ark, Pegasus, Hanging Loose, Free Verse, Avocet, and Blueline.


The AAA Dilemma

I’ll be the first to admit that there have been moments in my life when I have been deeply thankful for Triple-A. Driving towards Buffalo one cold winter night, I blew a tire and found myself without a spare on the side of the superhighway—would have been a complete disaster without the AAA. Once, on Route 390, they helped me when my engine gave way and one time I went off the road during a whiteout and they called someone to give me a pull. But honestly, I—like most AAA members I assume—didn’t give the organization much thought when my car wasn’t trapped in a snowbank. Their card, which one sociologist I met described as “the membership card for the middle class,” sat innocently next to the ones from Blockbuster and Wegmans.

It’s funny how the most innocuous of objects can come to be so ominous when you come to understand it.

My first hint of trouble came when I was reading Hope, Human and Wild by Bill McKibben and he was talking about the crusading mayor of the Brazilian city of Curitiba. He was attempting to improve air quality and community involvement by promoting safe, clean public transportation and converting a major street into a pedestrian thoroughfare. His staunchest opponents were the members of the local car club, which I found peculiar. Suddenly, I remembered the little card in my wallet for the American Automobile Association, perhaps the world’s largest ‘car club,’ with over 46 million members.

To make a long story short, I went (like most young people today) to the Internet and had my worst suspicions confirmed. AAA’s critics run the gamut, from the guys on NPR's Car Talk, to the Sierra Club, to Harper’s Magazine. AAA, it seems, uses its members’ money and clout (46 million members is quite a statement) to oppose the Clean Air Act (the AAA claims that cars don’t contribute to smog)[1], public transportation, fuel efficiency standards and even bike paths![2] Ken Silverstein, writing for Harper’s Magazine, describes:
In 1999, AAA opposed new rules that required cleaner-burning exhaust systems for cars, trucks, and SUVs, and two years prior assailed an EPA proposal requiring states to reduce levels of smog and soot. In 1990, AAA even fought the strengthening of the Clean Air Act - a measure supported by three fourths of Americans - on the grounds that it would limit the "personal mobility" of motorists.
According to some reports, in the 70s, it opposed making seat belts and air bags standard in automobiles[3]. It is involved in the lobby groups for both the pavement and the automobile industries—bringing its wholesome image and millions of members dollars to their side. The worst part, in my opinion, is that the AAA never explains this openly to its membership. The NRA, for all their faults, is open about its orientation and what it does with member’s money; no-one joins the NRA thinking they’re just getting a magazine. AAA, however, claims to speak for its membership yet never reveals to those same people its motivations or actions. The board of the AAA is not elected, but a self-perpetuating group beholden to little but its own whims.

So, what are we to do about it? Trade in our membership cards and hope we don’t run off the road during one of this winter’s snowstorms? Well, there’s that choice, but there is another option. A group of environmentalists (oh no, not them!) has set up an organization called the Better World Club. Their website (http://www.betterworldclub.com/) claims:
Anyone who has competed with AAA has said, "we're just like AAA." Better World Club says "our roadside assistance mirrors AAA's, but we're nothing like them or other auto clubs. We have a unique policy agenda."
Better World offers similar services, with roadside assistance from 50,000 service stations, help unlocking your car, membership discounts, etc. They are a bit different though, as Better World attempts to utilize its members funding (openly) to decrease our dependence on both cars and oil.

Unlike AAA, you can get assistance not only for your car, but also for you bike if you have trouble. They offer special benefits for hybrid cars and donates 1% of their funds to environmental protection.

My mother always insisted on being practical and looking at the details, which I wholeheartedly support, so for a complete comparison (good and bad) between the two organizations, check: http://www.betterworldclub.com/competition/aaa_chart.htm.

So perhaps you’re ready to mail AAA your card along with an angry letter and perhaps not, but hopefully you’re a bit more aware of the options. Best of luck and happy driving.


PS: I know that this isn’t “Upstate specific,” I promise that my next article—on Upstate breweries and hops—will be much more so. -J

[1] “Don’t Blame Cars for Smog AAA says.” The Environmental News Agency, Sept. 29th, 1999 (http://www.betterworldclub.com/articles/ens1999sep29.htm)
[2] “AAA—Who knew?” The Sierra Club. (http://www.sierraclub.org/e-files/roadside_assistance.asp_
[3] “AAA Paves the Road to Hell” by Ken Silverstein. Harper’s Magazine, May 2002 (http://www.betterworldclub.com/articles/Harpers2002may.htm)


Heritage Music Concerts in Saugerties, NY

Folk Music Concert Series

"From the Mountains to the Valley" is a concert series celebrating the unique musical history of the Hudson Valley and Catskill mountains. All concerts take place on Sunday afternoons at 3:00 at the Dutch Arms Chapel, 16 John St. in the village of Saugerties, NY

Spring 4/29/07 "Catskill and Hudson Valley Folk Songs"
including songs by Henry Backus the "Saugerties Bard.” Rich Bala, folk balladeer will present a program which will include songs of the 19th Century songwriter (1798-1861), Henry Backus, who was called "The Saugerties Bard". He was the composer of romantic, regional and historic songs such as “"My hearts in Old Esopus" and “Explosion of Steamer Steindeer “. Rich Bala performs authentic, traditional folk music that weaves a tale of living history about our nation's people and heritage.

Since 1986, Rich has performed at coffeehouses, festivals, concert series, schools, museums, libraries, and historic sites from Boston, Massachusetts to Beaufort, North Carolina. Rich has taught courses, using folk songs to illustrate various aspects of history, at many Elderhostels, teacher training workshops, and conferences sponsored by The NY State Historical Association in Cooperstown, NY, and also at the SUNY Field Campus in Ashokan, NY.

Fall 10/14/07 “Songs of the Hudson River Valley”
Husband and wife team Kevin and Carol Becker on vocals, guitar, mountain dulcimer. Start with deep roots in traditional folk music, add musical versatility, mix in both historical and contemporary themes, all seasoned with a healthy dose of good-natured humor, then enjoy a performance by Kevin & Carol Becker with Rich Keyes.

Performing together regularly for over ten years, Kevin, Carol, and Rich have developed a unique sound that combines breathtaking vocals, instrumental dexterity, and a synergy that comes only from an intimate knowledge of each other's talents. That sound starts with Kevin's intricate finger picking on guitar, augmented by his impeccable harmonica playing. Carol's soaring vocals, clear, bright, and pure, stand out when solo and form compelling harmonies with Kevin's soothing, comforting voice. It's all anchored by Rich's solid rhythms on upright bass and his driving bluegrass-influenced banjo. They feature other instruments as well, notably mountain dulcimer, recorder, bodhran, Appalachian limber horse, and various whistles.

Their repertoire ranges from historical ballads to songs of social significance, from traditional folk songs to compositions by contemporary artists. Original material and instrumentals add to the variety. Their easy manner and relaxed stage presence encourages audience participation, and contribute to their uplifting and entertaining performances. Besides appearances at coffeehouses and festivals, Kevin, Carol, and Rich perform at schools, libraries, and historic sites such as Phillipsburg Manor, Mount Gulian, and Eleanor Roosevelt'Val-Kill. Their latest CD, This Hudson River Valley, is a collection of songs that tell the history, celebrate the people, and reflect the grandeur of the Hudson Valley.

Past Concert
The first of the Heritage Music Concert series took place on September 24, 2006, at the The Dutch Arms Chapel.This concert featured Bob Lusk, local folksinger/folklorist and fiddler Regina Scheff. Included were songs of the Scotch-Irish immigration of the 1700’s, the French & Indian war, songs of the quarrymen and lumberjacks, square dances and fiddle tunes. A lot of the material drew from the research in folk music done by Norman Studer, Norman Cazden and Herbert Haufrecht during the 1950’s at Camp Woodland in Phoenicia. NY The Chapel is the former home of the Seedling Nursery School. It was also know as a local coffeehouse back in the late 60's. In recent years it has become a popular listening place for the John Street Jams.

Bob Lusk is an Irish Musician living in Ulster County, New York. He is a popular performer of a variety of folk traditions. For many years he has researched traditional music of New York State. He is a long time member of the Hudson Valley Folk Guild, and a former staff member of Sing Out! Magazine, the country’s premier folk music magazine. A veteran of both the Irish and American folk circuit, Bob is an experienced balladeer and multi-instrumentalist. He sings in a strong baritone, from rousing pub song favorites to tender love songs and accompanies himself on guitar and banjo.

Regina Scheff is a traditional fiddle player with an exquisite musical sense. She has been playing for 20 years and studied at the Folkloric Music Center in Kingston. She regularly plays for English Country Dances and has performed for both the Elmendorf and Wilderstein historical restoration projects.

The concert was enthusiastically received by all who attended. Much thanks to Steve and Terri Masardo from the Chapel for helping to make this happen.

Editors Note: You can contact the organizers of the Heritage Music Concerts by post at: 61 Wurts Street Kingston, NY 12401
by phone at:845-338-8587
or by email:heritageconcerts@aol.com

Check out other York Staters posts about music here. -N