July-August 2016

Upstate Pairing: July-August 2016

by Megan Frank on July 12, 2016

Nestled in the heart of New York’s beautiful Finger Lakes Region, Ithaca Beer Company demonstrates its pride by brewing world-class craft beer inspired by its home. In addition to year-round favorites, you can also choose from seasonal selections on rotation.

Our recipe this month is paired with Hopkist, one of their summer offerings. It’s a delightful easy drinking and refreshing citrus IPA. With a mild alcohol-by-volume (ABV) of 4.75%, this IPA is wonderfully “sessionable” for the hot summer months. The combination of Honey Malt and Citra hops in both brewing and dry hopping, along with a healthy zip of citrus zest makes Hopkist the perfect summer brew.

Brewery tours are offered on weekends and by reservation, giving a behind-the-scenes look at the facilities.


Arugula Pesto Pizza with Herbed Ricotta

Yield: 1 large pizza

1 ball pizza dough
1 batch arugula pesto (see below)
1/2 cup ricotta cheese, strained if watery
1 tablespoon minced fresh basil
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon honey
pinch of salt
pinch of red pepper flakes
olive oil, for brushing
1 1/2 cups freshly shredded mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup raw walnut halves, chopped
zest of 1 medium lemon
2 cups lightly packed arugula

  1. Preheat the oven to 500ºF. Place a pizza stone in the oven and allow the stone to heat for at least 15 to 20 minutes (if you can do 30, even better).
  2. Place the pizza dough on a lightly floured surface and allow to relax for about 10 minutes (but no longer than 30). Roll out and shape the dough and then transfer to a piece of parchment paper cut to about the size of your pizza stone that has been lightly dusted with cornmeal.
  3. Meanwhile, make the pesto recipe below. Set aside.
  4. In a small bowl, add the ricotta, basil, parsley, honey, salt and red pepper. Mix until combined. Set aside.
  5. Brush the pizza dough all over lightly with the olive oil. Scoop the pesto onto the dough and smear evenly all over, leaving a border around the edge. Sprinkle the mozzarella over the pesto, then drop the herbed ricotta in small scoops all over the top. Sprinkle with the walnuts.
  6. Transfer to the oven (put the parchment paper with the pizza directly on the pizza stone). Bake for about 10 to 14 minutes, until the crust is golden brown. Remove from the oven, then sprinkle with the lemon zest and top with the fresh arugula. Slice and serve.

For the Pesto:
2 cups lightly packed arugula
1/2 cup lightly packed baby spinach leaves
1/4 cup unsalted sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt (to taste)
1/3 cup olive oil

  1. Add the arugula, spinach, sunflower seeds, parmesan, garlic and salt to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until finely chopped.
  2. With the food processor running, slowly pour in the olive oil. Process until smooth. If you want to thin out the pesto, add in additional olive oil a little at a time.


We recommend pairing this recipe with Ithaca Beer Company’s Hopkist.

As with all pizzas, feel free to adjust the amounts of the toppings to your own taste.

If you do not have a pizza stone (though highly recommend for homemade pizza), you can place the parchment with the pizza on a large baking sheet instead and then bake as directed.



Outdoor Foot Rinse

by cathym on July 11, 2016

This summer, the gardening grime will stay outside—thanks to this handy idea I found online. The entire project took less than a half hour to build and set up. As a bonus, when placed in a sunny spot, the heated rocks feel like a hot stone foot massage.


Completed foot rinse project



Construction diagram



Four 1×4 boards (like cedar) cut to 16 inches long

Eight 1½ inch nails or wood screws

Smooth river rocks or stones


Hammer or screwdriver

Power drill and bit (optional)


1. Attach boards together as shown in diagram with either nails or screws. If using screws, predrill holes to avoid splitting the wood. A helper is recommended to stabilize the boards.

2. Place frame near water supply with hose. Alternatively, use a watering can to rinse off.

3. Fill frame with smooth stones, at least 2½ inches deep, but not more than 3” deep. The foot rinse is now ready to use.


Cathy Monrad is the graphic designer and self-proclaimed garden
crafter for the Upstate Gardeners’ Journal.


The Amazing Bat

by Megan Frank on July 10, 2016

by Liz Magnanti

With recent mosquito-borne illnesses making headlines, I have been getting a lot of questions about ways of controlling pests naturally without using harsh chemicals or pesticides. Attracting wildlife to your yard can help with insect issues. While birds will eat a lot of insects during the day, another winged creature, bats, will take care of insect issues at night. Because bats are out at the same time mosquitoes are, they can make a huge difference in controlling this pest. Just one bat alone can eat anywhere from 2,000 to 6,000 insects each night. This is the equivalent of 20-50% of their own body weight! Certain species of bats can be attracted to your yard by providing a bat house. This provides space for bats to roost, and females to raise their young safely.

In New York we have 9 species of bats who call our state home. They are all insectivores, relying exclusively on insects for their diet. Three of these bats are classified as tree bats, who spend their days hanging from trees, camouflaged by their wings and tail membranes which they can wrap around themselves for warmth and protection. Tree bats tend to be solitary, and do not form large communal groups. They can be common, we just don’t see them due to their great camouflage. Many look like dead leaves hanging from trees during the day. The other six species of bats we have are cave bats, those who spend the winter in caves where they hibernate. Some of these cave bats, such as the Little Brown Bat (Myotis lucifugus), Big Brown Bat (Eptesicus fuscus), and Tri-colored Bat (Perimyotis subflavus) are known for roosting in bat houses.

Bat houses come in many sizes and styles. In general, the more chambers the bat house has the better. The larger houses are able to provide more temperature fluctuation, which is best to accommodate a large nursery colony. Bats require a warm area to roost in. In our climate the bat house should be painted black or a dark color in order to absorb heat from the light. An outdoor, water-based, non-toxic latex paint is safe to use on the house. Bat houses can be mounted on poles or on the side of buildings and ideally by a water source. Houses can be mounted on trees. However, this usually does not provide them with the light they need to warm the house, and it leaves the house vulnerable to predators who may climb the tree to raid it. Houses mounted on poles and the side of buildings often become occupied more quickly than houses mounted on trees. Make sure the house is mounted at least 15 feet high, with the area underneath it clear, as bats need to be able to drop out of the bottom of the house for flight.

A bat house can be put up any time of the year. Bats will begin using them in early spring as they return to our area from their hibernation or migration sites. At any point in the year, however, bat houses may become occupied. Especially if a colony has been removed from a house, barn, or their roost has been destroyed in another way. Once a bat house has been put up, it requires little maintenance. It should be checked every year for evidence of wasps building a hive inside.

There are many myths about bats that have vilified them. The most common myths being all bats have rabies, they are blind, and they will fly into and get tangled in your hair. These just are not true. While bats, like all mammals, are susceptible to rabies, less than 1% of their population ever has it. Bats can see, almost as well as we can, but rely on their amazing sense of echolocation to navigate and find their prey at night. This also makes it possible for them to avoid running into structures, or getting too close to humans or predators in complete darkness.

Little Brown Bat confirmed with white-nose syndrome. Photo courtesy Flickr: Progressive Animal Welfare Society (PAWS).

Little Brown Bat confirmed with white-nose syndrome. Photo courtesy Flickr: Progressive Animal Welfare Society (PAWS).


Recently, millions of bats have fallen victim to a disease called white-nose syndrome. White-nose syndrome causes hibernating bats to wake up more frequently during their hibernation, which burn off the fat reserves they need to survive the winter. Many end up dying as they leave their hibernation site too early in the winter in search of food. The disease is named for the white fungus that is visible on the face and wings of the affected bats. It is estimated that there has been an 80% decline in the population of bats since the introduction of this fungal disease to the Northeast. This disease, combined with habitat loss, has made it increasing difficult for bats to find a safe place to roost and raise young. Most bats only have one pup a year so these spots are critical for their survival.

Not only are bats fascinating creatures, they are amazing to watch! Set up your bat house this summer and soon you may be entertained nightly by these fuzzy, aerodynamic insect eaters.

Liz Magnanti is the manager of the Bird House on Monroe Avenue in Pittsford. She has a degree in wildlife conservation and has worked as a naturalist at various nature centers.