For employee Kevin Finerghty, that’s the point. “There is
definitely a market for people who want to avoid those products,” he
said, referring to food like genetically altered chow. After the
success of Green Planet’s sister store, Mustard Seed Natural Food Market in Oswego, Finerghty said his employers decided to provide Syracuse with a healthy alternative to mainstream-market fare.
“People who have come in are happy that there’s one on the West Side,” Finerghty said. “People are really happy we’re here.”
The store, decorated with green walls and the faint smell of spices,
is shelved with organic baby food, spices, vegetables, fruit and
yogurt, vegetarian hot dogs, loose tea, tofu, perfume and much more.
One shelf near the frozen food is lined with multiple pamphlets full of
tips on how to live healthily. Music croons quietly throughout the
store, serenading shoppers with tunes like “Clark Gable” by The Postal
Finerghty, a Syracuse native who worked at co-op in Colorado, said
his favorite product in the store is Flour City Pasta, made in
Fairport, near Rochester, and which features flavors like chipotle and
lemon. “They’re thick and they’re flavored,” Finerghty said of the
pasta. “When you taste it, you can taste how fantastically they come
out in the pasta.”
Finerghty said a café featuring raw foods and a juice bar are in the
works. While the prices at Green Planet Grocery run higher than those
found in grocery stores, you can’t pay for the personal service and
expertise Finerghty will provide every time you visit.
Green Planet Grocery, 3514 W. Genesee St., Fairmount, is open
Mondays through Saturdays, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sundays, 10 a.m. to 8
p.m. For more details, call 488-7777 or visit www.gpgrocery.com.
Anything can be deep-fried. Just spin a wheel, see what the arrow
lands on and dunk the chosen food into a Jacuzzi of hot oil. To many,
the taste is satisfying. For Mike Pedula, tomatoes—the unripe green version—are best fried.
The way the fruit is best prepared is an opinion that varies among
its lovers. Ever since its official birth in 1986, Central New York’s TomatoFest annually celebrates the area’s love affair with tomatoes and the different ways to prepare them.
Pedula, co-president of the festival, said TomatoFest had humble
beginnings. “It was basically a tomato cook-off,” he explained. “It
spawned into a two-day festival that draws between 11,000 to 13,000.”
The festival raises money donated to feed the hungry.
In August, a prelude to the upcoming festival commences with a
tomato cook-off, the event that started the festival. The competition
is judged by the nutrition staff of the Cornell Cooperative Extension
of Cayuga County and comes with two rules: the dish must incorporate
fresh tomatoes as a major ingredient and the contestants cannot be
trained or working chefs.
For this year’s cook-off, amateur cooks will prepare their best
tomato appetizer in hopes of winning. Pedula said the winner of the
cook-off is featured in the festival and gets to hand out samples of
his or her appetizer.
Pedula has manned the fried-green tomato stand at Emerson Park in
Auburn for the past 13 years. Along with tomatoes, Pedula said barbecue
foods would be available for purchase along with ice cream and pasta.
“We have foods for every taste,” he said.
As for what’s new this year, Pedula reported: tomato ice cream. Guess you’ll have to try it.
The cook-off will take place on Aug. 23. Submissions—which must
include the recipe, an ingredient list and directions—are due Aug. 9.
TomatoFest runs Sept. 11 to 12, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Admission is $3.
For more information or to submit a recipe, visit www.cnytomatofest.org
or call 253-5611.
While you’re waiting for your garden tomatoes to ripen, whip up these winning recipes from TomatoFest 2009.