It’s that time of year again — temperatures are warming up, the sun is out more often, and trees (finally!) have leaves on their branches. Spring has finally arrived, bringing a sense of renewal and opportunity. This is especially true for those living in temperate climates like the Northeast, where harsh winters make spring’s arrival all the more special.
During this time, gardens are eagerly planted, farmers’ markets commence their bustling season, and the pursuit of local foods intensifies. Nestled amidst the picturesque landscapes of the Hudson Valley and the vibrant Capital Region of New York, where agricultural history runs deep, food enthusiasts and farmers immerse themselves in a culinary haven.
If you’re eager to immerse yourself in food and sun, read on as we unveil three foodie-focused festivals that celebrate eating well and provide an opportunity to reconnect with nature before the scorching summer heat sets in.
Catskill Cuisine at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, May 13th
In its inaugural year, Catskill Cuisine is a must-attend event for foodies and festival-goers. Taking place on May 13th in the beautiful Catskill region of New York, this festival celebrates the unique and delicious flavors of Sullivan County.
“We’re thrilled to host the inaugural Catskill Cuisine Festival and celebrate the bounty of the region with the community and visitors,” said Bethel Woods Center for the Arts CEO Eric Frances. “With the backdrop of our breathtaking and historic grounds, this event promises to be a unique experience that can only be captured in the Sullivan Catskills.”
Set on the historic site of the Woodstock Music Festival, Catskill Cuisine celebrates the area with a focus on local fare, farmers, and restaurants. Visitors can immerse themselves in the culinary traditions of the Catskills through tastings, demonstrations, and hands-on experiences.
The festival also boasts an impressive lineup of local and celebrity chefs, including Alton Brown, Scott Conant, Geoffrey Zakarian, Marcus Samuelsson, and Alex Guarnaschelli, in addition to these culinary heavyweights. Visitors can also look forward to meeting well-known food influencer Melissa Ben-Ishay, creator of Baked by Melissa, and several talented local chefs.
Dandelion Festival at Churchtown Farm, May 13th
Next up is a festival that takes a unique approach to eating your greens. If you’ve ever dreaded the first lawn mowing of the season and are interested in exploring alternative uses for these plants, then this festival centered around the dandelion is for you. Learn more about this plant and others at Churchtown Farm’s annual Dandelion Festival this Saturday in Hudson, New York.
Often misunderstood and underutilized today, the dandelion has a history that dates back to Ancient Rome. It has been a food source of healing, sustenance, and nourishment for centuries. Join the festival to learn more about the dandelion and its many possibilities.
Foraged: Troy, New York’s Wildly Delicious Food Festival May 14-21
Lastly, for those who enjoy foraging for wild edibles, if you consider dandelions just the tip of the iceberg, there’s a festival in the Capital Region of New York right up your alley.
Foraged: Troy New York’s Wildly Delicious Food Festival is part restaurant week part educational food celebration dedicated to exploring wild edible foods. “To me, foraging is a meditative return to nature, in oneness & gratitude, that fortifies our given right, and ensures access to nutritional food for ALL,” says Foraged founder and director Nadine Medina.
Located in Troy, New York, and the warehouse district of Albany, over a dozen local restaurants are will be offering dishes that feature foraged foods and sharing can be found a short distance away. Diners can try springtime delicacies from the hight invasive — Japanese knotweed and garlic mustard to the revered, think ramps and morels.
Are you interested in wild edibles but want to avoid mistakes during your foraging adventures? During the week, there will be several workshops and walkabouts led by New York State musician, expert forager, and naturalist Sean Rowe. These sessions will focus on plant identification and will be conducted by various organizations. They aim to teach and empower individuals looking to establish relationships with their local community through foraging and gaining confidence in their skills. Tickets for these foraging workshops are available for purchase and sell out quickly.
So, if you’re a foodie seeking to immerse yourself in nature and discover the diverse flavors of upstate New York, these three festivals provide the perfect opportunity to do so.