Unexpected Pantry Items for the Locavore

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The Finger Lakes is home to a bounty of farm-fresh, locally produced food items. Check out these unexpected pantry items you can find across our region:


Mostly grown in Southeast Asia, Hawaii and other tropical climates, some Finger Lakes farmers have figured out to grow ginger right here, using greenhouses that create the necessary climate for this rhizome. The Good Life Farm in Interlaken, Muddy Fingers in Hector, Tree Gate Farm in Ithaca and Remembrance Farm in Trumansburg have all grown and sold fresh ginger bound for teas, cookies, spice cakes and pumpkin pies. Check the various farm websites for availability.

SaltCanola Oil

We need salt to survive. It’s an essential element, but who knew it was being produced right under our sailboats? This year saw the development of the Seneca Salt Company, based in Penn Yan and part of the Keuka Lake Coffee Roasters/Java Gourmet lineup who works with US Salt (the company that runs the salt veins below the surface of Seneca Lake) to produce a culinary flake salt that sprinkles beautifully. Available in stores around the region and at java-gourmet.com.

Canola Oil

At one point or another every cook has to fry something. And now your liquid fat can be from a nearby farm. Full Circle Farming in Nichols partnered with Regional Access in Trumansburg to gather canola seed from New York and Pennslyvania farms and turn it into this amber oil with a high smoke point, perfect for frying chicken, sautéing vegetables or baking. Available in markets and coops around the region and at regionalaccess.net.


That perfect snack food is now available from a local farmer. Owner of Lansing based Rainbow Valley Ranch, Ed Fedorka, also known as “The Corn Guy” because of the amazing sweet corn he sells at summer markets, also offers dried corn for popping. Pop these kernals using local canola oil, season with local salt and you’ve got a Finger Lakes treat to brag about. Sold in plastic bags in the shape of a hand, or in bulk at various markets and coops.


The above originally appeared in our Fall 2012 issue.

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