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GOURMANDISE

"Hudson Valley Harvest"

Summer travelers will be interested in this new paperback food lover's guide to farms, restaurants and open air markets in this picturesque western section of the state. Written by Jan Greenberg, published by the Countryman Press, Woodstock, Vt., it sells for $18.95.

Specific profiles of these culinary destinations are given, of course, but what is especially interesting is the description of the real struggle that exists to preserve the farms near urban areas that grow food in small batches for taste and quality.

This concerns not just Hudson Valley farms but small growers throughout the nation.

Easy being green

You've heard of arugula. You know about bibb and frisee. Now let us introduce you to another trendy salad green that's going to turn up in produce departments occasionally. It is called - mache (rhymes with "posh").

Mache already is popular in Europe, where it is known as lamb's lettuce and corn salad. It has narrow dark leaves and a sweet, mild, nutty flavor. On this side of the ocean, it grows in the wild.

Mache can be cooked briefly but tastes much better raw. Wash it and drain it thoroughly before refrigerating. Use within two days.

All the ice cream you can eat

What a wonderful thought. And here's the good news: Western New York's largest ice cream festival, Ice Cream Bowl III, is scheduled to take place "Sundae" June 8 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the University at Buffalo North Campus in Amherst.

The event features more than 40 different ice cream flavors, ice cream eating contests, a make-your-own-sundae area, music and craft activities. Admission is $6 for adults, $4 for children ages 4 to 11; proceeds go to Roswell Park. Come hungry, and determined - 12,000 people are expected to attend.

Meat packaging

"Keep Fresh" is the name of the new meat packaging program that Wegmans is gradually phasing into its markets in the area. It comes from a central processing facility near Rochester and is said to slow down the natural deterioration of fresh meat and poultry, allowing it to last in your refrigerator several days beyond the normal two or three days with the traditional packaging in Styrofoam trays.

There is a "use or freeze by" date on the package, ranging from four to five days to two weeks beyond date of sale. There is no extra charge for the packaging.

The meat is encased in a heavy duty plastic film that seals out oxygen. No natural or artificial preservatives are added. This seal keeps the meat from leaking, as well. Because oxygen is removed, however, the meat in some packages may look a little darker.

Once the meat is exposed to the air, the bright red color will return.

Quotable:

"There's a lot more future in hamburgers than in baseball. Baseball isn't baseball anymore." - McDonald founder Ray Kroc

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