Weather rambling — Stewed oysters and buckwheat cakes

October is the often the month of the first frost, sometimes the month of the first snow, and always a month for digging potatoes.

In 1875, the first dusting of snow of the season fell in Saratoga and Washington counties, as far north as Whitehall, on Oct. 12.

“The season for ice cream, outdoor bathing, front-gate flirtations, and kindred luxuries is over. Billiards, stewed oysters, buckwheat cakes and Jersey sausages are now in order,” The Granville Sentinel reported three days later.

The potato crop had been plentiful, which was good for supply but depressed prices to about 25 cents to 30 cents per bushel — the equivalent of $5.91 to $7.09 in 2020 dollars — much lower than prices of 60 cents a bushel in 1876 and 40 cents to 50 cents a bushel in 1883.

“The potato crop is one of the largest ever raised in this section. In consequence, prices are low,” the Sentinel reported on Oct. 1, 1875.

The fruit crop was high quality.

“The apple crop proves much better than has been expected. They are fewer and of better quality than for several years past. Pears are also abundant.”

A more sizable precipitation of three inches of snow fell at Granville on Oct. 16, but it wasn’t expected to last.

“We probably will now have pleasant weather for a few weeks, which will give the farmers ample time to harvest their potatoes,” the Sentinel reported on Oct. 22.

In 1866, an early frost damaged crops in Thurman.

“Our correspondent from Thurman informs us that those heavy frosts have visited that section to the detriment of the corn and potato crops. … Dig them (potatoes) immediately and carefully separate the sound ones from the destroyed ones,” The Glen’s Falls Republican reported on Oct. 2, 1866.

“The first ice of the season was seen at Mount Marcy, and the McIntyre, Whiteface, and all high peaks of the Adirondacks were covered with snow,” The Glens Falls Messenger reported on Oct. 3, 1890. “The (Glens Falls) Police have received their new winter overcoats.”

Overcoats were not immediately necessary in Glens Falls.

“Thermometers are behaving very well this fall,” the Messenger reported Oct. 10, 1890.

October 1883, too, was pleasant.

“Yesterday was the perfection of Autumn weather,” The Morning Star of Glens Falls reported on Oct. 8, 1883.

Farmers got good prices for potatoes.

“The potato crop in Hamilton County is much better than anticipated and the tubers are selling at forty cents to fifty cents a bushel,” The Morning Star reported on Oct. 18, 1883.

In 1890, it snowed in the southern Adirondacks on Oct. 24.

“At Warrensburg Friday, nearly two inches of snow fell. Snow has also fallen at Rutland and Schroon Lake,” the Glens Falls Messenger reported on Oct. 31, 1890.

Apparently, the apple crop was poor that year.

“Sauerkraut will take the place of the apple butter this year.”

Click here to read the most recent previous Weather Rambling post.

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Maury Thompson

Maury Thompson

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Freelance history writer and documentary film producer from Ticonderoga, NY