It just isn’t autumn without the hundreds of freshly baked apple pies and steaming-hot fritters dipped in powdered sugar at the New Paltz Reformed Church. The church’s annual apple festival this past Saturday was still a success, despite having to limit the size and scope due to the Covid-19 restrictions.
Outdoor seating has been a lifeline for area restaurateurs during this pandemic, but it’s now October and the good weather for the year is mostly in the past. As the weather gets colder, restaurants are hoping that heaters and tents will help get them through the winter.
Perhaps the most enticing change has occurred in the building’s long-neglected back yard, which faces a parking lot, the base of Joppenbergh Mountain, the filled-in remains of the D&H Canal and a spur to the Wallkill Valley rail-trail that should eventually lure in hikers and cyclists.
“I’ve been here for eight years, and in business for almost 30 years,” says owner Roni Shapiro, who did her apprenticeship in some of the best vegan kitchens in New York City. “Then Covid came, and it was needed. It’s just the perfect model.”
“I feel like a part of Woodstock,” says MarLee Wang, and town residents who remember the comings and goings of local businesses over the years would surely not disagree. Her Little Bear is one of the longest-running restaurants in Woodstock, established in the early 1970s as a component of Albert Grossman’s Bearsville cultural complex.
Start with tomatoes. The advantage of beginning your canning and preserving career with tomatoes is that they are acidic fruits that don’t take hours of complicated processing in order to result in an array of beautiful jars of red deliciousness. From there, your preserved products can sit on a shelf in a cool basement for months on end, until you turn them into magnificent sauces or salsas or soups.
And what of these pies? Do they meet the test? Your picky Queens-bred correspondent tried two variations – white with caramelized sweet onions and tomato with pepperoni – and gave them two thumbs up.
Abandoned Hard Cider will open an outpost in Woodstock on August 7 at 1801 Route 28 next door to Santa Fe Restaurant. Abandoned Hard Cider is known for dry ciders made with apples from wild, abandoned and family orchards in the Catskills and Hudson Valley.
Something’s brewing on Saint James Street in Kingston. Tommy Keegan, proprietor of Keegan Ales, has confirmed that he’ll be joining forces with Kenan Porter’s Middletown-based Clemson Bros. Brewery. This gives Keegan, now 49, a way to gradually exit the business he started 17 years ago. As with many business deals, this one has slowed to a crawl under the weight of the pandemic, but the deal could be sealed by fall.
The plan allows businesses to expand their facilities onto the street at certain times, making it easier to fulfill the state’s social-distancing requirements and to compensate for limits on indoor capacity.