New blog! The importance of a good base and more!

Garden Café Woodstock now uses only unsweetened vegan milks as milk bases in its smoothies. Just to be sure the other day, I asked a waitress to show me the package of almond milk the restaurant had used to make my drink behind the counter while I waited. I had moved there after a first round of coffee and the restaurant’s miso-vegetable soup at a table. Sure enough, it was an organic brand labeled “unsweetened.” To my recollection, the restaurant once told me it was using unsweetened hemp milk but sweetened products for its other vegan milks. My attempt to catch the restaurant in deception was–happily, of course–foiled. The restaurant was merely making it possible to have a smoothie without sugar or artificial sweetener and leaving the choice of sweetener–or no sweetener–to me, the customer.

Hudson Valley readers who look for local Hudson Valley produce in area farmers’ markets and elsewhere may be interested in this chart of harvest dates and availability dates for various fruits and vegetables, in a new brochure from the state agriculture department.

It is billed by the department as “your guide to harvest times and availability.”

Of course, local options are often fresh, less chemically treated, and easier on the environment. This area is reported to be the biggest center in the farm-to-table food movement. A far larger number of local varieties exists here than is available at typical chain supermarkets around the world. According to nutritional-lifestyle doctors—for example, Dr. Joel Fuhrman in the New York Times bestseller Eat to Live–variety is a key part of a healthy diet, and is no less the “spice of life.”

Coming soon to this new blog site: a list of links to websites and resources related to healthy vegan eating in the mid-Hudson Valley. I will also tell more of my own story. For now, I have lived in the Kingston-Northern Dutchess County area since 2002 when I came here to work as an research economist at a small college. I became an enthusiastic vegetarian in 1995 and a vegan in 2007, when I adopted the “nutritarian” plant-food-intensive 6-week plan of Dr. Joel Fuhrman and his associates. My health indicators improved–by leaps in some cases. My concerns have led me to become an enthusiast about local farmers’ markets, community- supported agriculture, the many area vegetarian and vegan cafes, the Hudson Valley Vegans, and the natural foods stores in so many of the villages and cities here–as well as the natural beauty celebrated by the Hudson Valley School of artists and their modern-day artistic descendants.

Many will have enjoyed the recent Hudson Valley Vegfest, a local bid to be among the big vegan cities of the world! A local daily covered the event here. I hope you enjoy the article.

A new food complex is potentially headed for Uptown Kingston, thanks in part to a new Downtown Revitalization grant, which will also benefit other Uptown projects, possibly to include a parking garage, historic preservation of some ruins, and more in a neighborhood that boasts the actual building  where the first New York State Senate met. Here is a link to an article in a recent edition of the Kingston Freeman.

Quoting grant application material quoted in the article:

The (Downtown Revitalization Initiative) could support the Kingston Food Exchange, a project of BBG Ventures, which plans to open a 35,000-square-foot food hall, food manufacturing facility and grocery with an emphasis on locally sourced food. BBG Ventures has invested over $1 million into the facility at 311 Wall St. with another $5 million being invested during build out. The exchange will hire approximately 65 people directly and sub-lease space for four to six additional restaurants and four other businesses in the market itself, creating an additional 20 to 30 jobs.

The block is already home to the vegetarian Outdated: An Antique Cafe.  As a vegan and enthusiast for the area, I will be eager to hear about the gustatory offerings planned for the new spot.

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So you get a flavor of the intended focus of this blog: the intersection of scientifically based nutrition, vegetarianism and veganism, and the mid-Hudson Valley region of the State of New York. Hence, the name, Healthy Vegan Hudson Valley. The blog’s web address for now is foodblog.greghannsgen.org, a subdomain of a site I set up in 2015 for my work as an independent economist. I hope to keep the two ventures separate and I know the food blog will have to appeal to readers regardless of their agreement with the points of view expressed in my economics blog. That is one reason that this blog may soon move to a domain of its own.

The new blog has been launched officially with this post. Please feel free to add your comments here if you feel so inclined.  Also, I can be reached at foodblog@greghannsgen.org. Greg

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