Marking five years at Sacandaga

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My first journal entry for my first day, Saturday, Sept. 19, 2009.

It’s anniversary season around here. Friday was the anniversary of my first date with Julie. Thursday was our actual wedding anniversary — 15 years. Which means today marks five years since the first meal I served at Sacandaga Bible Conference.

As my friends know, camp food service has long been an interest and hobby, but I had no intention of doing this here for a living. I had no history, allegiance or particular passion for this place; I was, for lack of a better expression, helping a friend, who had, himself, just finished helping the camp through a rough patch. At the start of this reorganization, the only employee was the part-time housekeeper.

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Go orange! Pumpkins dominate auction

It was quite a day at the Mohawk Valley Produce Auction today — not so much for what I bought, but what I saw. My purchases of seven cases of tomatoes, five cases of heirlooms, four cases of apples and some grape tomatoes (for $68.10) paled in comparison to the 500 bins of pumpkins available at the sale today, part of the annual pumpkin sale. Some photos for you to see the scope of what was available:

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It’s great pumpkins, Charlie Brown

Pumpkins for sale last week at the Mohawk Harvest Produce Auction. Tens of thousands will be sold there Tuesday.

Pumpkins for sale last week at the Mohawk Harvest Produce Auction. Tens of thousands will be sold there Tuesday.

Tuesday at the Mohawk Valley Produce Auction is one of my favorite days of the year, because it’s such an off-the-wall day for one piece of the local farm community.

It’s the annual pumpkin sale, when tens of thousands of pumpkins of all shapes and sizes overtake every piece of the auction property in Minden. Auction manager Ben Fisher said he expected to sell 300 to 500 bins of pumpkins — and by bins, I mean a box the size of a pallet which needs to be loaded by forklift. Jack Be Littles, Fairytale, pie pumpkins — more varieties than you could possibly know what to do with.

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Runnings caters to Fulton County

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Runnings is the perfect store for Fulton County. It’s Home Depot with guns. It’s Tractor Supply with light fixtures. It’s Dick’s Sporting Goods with cattle prods.

And it has food. Some great tools for people who like to make their own sausage or pickle their own vegetables. And then some absolutely ridiculous stuff that seems right at home for the Fulton County palate.

The Rockface Diner in Cairo, shown in a picture postcard that sold for $19.99 on eBay last week.

Editing my grandfather’s diner

I simply cannot stand when a restaurant or business cannot decide what its name is. The usual problem is punctuation.

Was it Legends Steakhouse or Legend’s Steakhouse, I asked in a review of a mediocre restaurant in Midland Park, N.J. A few months later, in my final post on that newspaper’s blog, I revisited the issue, noting how funny it was the nearby Italian restaurant Lu Nello called itself Lunello’s in emails.

I even try to politely correct people who refer to our camp as SAC, when it should simply be Sac, short for Sacandaga. It’s an affectionate nickname, not an acronym.

Now it’s time to scold my grandfather.

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A picture of indecision

My inbox Monday afternoon after a flurry of order revisions.

My inbox Monday afternoon after a flurry of order revisions.

Thought you’d might like to see what happens when I put off finalizing a menu until the last minute: US Foods gets one order and seven revisions in a half-hour and my inbox gets flooded.

This wouldn’t be possible without US Foods’ flexible online platform (they call it “Dot Com”), which today I managed to use from my iPad (first draft of the order), computer (submitting it) and my phone (the revisions, while standing in the pantry and in the walk-in fridge door).

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