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Displaying items by tag: holidays
Saratoga Farmers’ Market Brims with Gifts to Suit Everyone
The final few days before Christmas can be frantic. Gifts must be bought, Holiday meals must be cooked, and then there’s the issue of trying to get packages shipped to loved ones who live elsewhere.
We at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market invite you to relax. Come to the market Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., grab a warm drink and a pastry or breakfast sandwich, and stroll through two floors of a wide variety of products all under one roof at the Lincoln Baths Building. You’ll find an array of unique locally made jewelry, artworks, specialty foods, and other gift items to suit anyone on your gift giving list.
A quick walk through the market offers the following:
Artisanal treats. On the second floor find cured meats, freshly made pastas, handcrafted jewelry, and journals. If there’s a dog in the family, consider a gift box from Mugzy’s Barkery, which features a sampler of their dog treats. Terra Sage Gourmet also offers healthy vegetarian dog food.
Also on the second floor are first-year agricultural vendors offering locally produced mushrooms, chicken, dried beans, kale, potatoes, and nutrient-dense microgreens.
A spirited sample. Walk to the end of the second floor and head downstairs. Stop and sample bourbon-infused eggnog, made with Battenkill Valley Creamery’s award-winning eggnog and Yankee Distillers’ bourbon. Then continue your walk among fresh food and friendly faces.
Sweets & Treats to ship. On the first floor you’ll find produce, meats, jams, chocolates, cheeses, peanut butter, and hummus. Many of these items are suitable for shipping, and Slate Valley Farm makes the job easy. They offer a gift box of honey, maple syrup and maple treats in a Priority Mail package that Slate Valley will send for you.
Other gift boxes. As you wrap up your walk, you’ll find cheese samplers, nut butters, and mushroom teas from Argyle Cheese Farmer, Saratoga Peanut Butter, and Mariaville Mushroom Men respectively. And, if you like creating your own gift packages, stop by Kokinda Farms and pick up a wicker basket from Laurie Kokinda. Choose a jar of Laurie’s jam and walk through the market to fill the basket with your favorites.
The Saratoga Farmers Market is held 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on Saturdays at the Lincoln Baths Building in the Saratoga Spa State Park. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and on the FreshFoodNY app.
Jam Makers Preserve a Sweet Tradition
Homemade jams are a longtime staple of the Saratoga Farmers’ Market. These treats – made from fruits grown and harvested spring through fall – gleam like jewels in glass jars. They are rich in fruit flavor, and thick with sweetness. They fill holiday stockings, they sit on breakfast tables, and they work great in holiday recipes.
Two vendors – Laurie Kokinda of Kokinda Farm and Anna Mae Clark of Clark’s Dahlia Gardens & Greenhouses – offer jam. For both, jam-making runs in the family.
“My mother taught me how to make jam as a young child,” says Kokinda. “We would go picking fruit at ‘pick your own’ farms and gather wild huckleberries in Luther’s Forest.”
“Then,” Kokinda recalls, “as a teen, I started making it by myself.” Her mother had had a horse accident and had broken her wrist.
Kokinda joined the farmers’ market in 1997. Since then, she has sold jam under the name of Laurie’s Jams, alongside produce, eggs, and handmade items.
Laurie Kokinda. Photo by Pattie Garrett.
She makes jam once a week, in between driving a school bus and caring for horses, chickens and dogs. She grows raspberries, currants, gooseberries, blackberries, apples, pears, rhubarb and grapes. She obtains other fruits such as cherries, plums, blueberries, and apricots from other local growers. Of particular pride is her favorite, peach jam, made from peaches from her own trees.
Clark was a Saratoga Farmers’ Market vendor when the market started in 1978. She began selling jam around 1998 when, she recalls, she had “a freezer filled with fruit that wasn’t being used.” But she has made jam for 50 years. She inherited the tradition from her mother and grandmothers. “We all made jam,” says Clark. “We had to at the farm, or you wouldn’t have any.”
Anna Mae Clark's holiday jams.
Clark perfected her jam-making through 4-H and Cornell Cooperative Extension classes. She grows most of her fruit, though relies on others for products she cannot grow herself such as oranges and cranberries. She goes through a pallet of sugar a year. Jams, insists Clark, need sugar. Sugar brings out a fruit’s flavor in a way that other sweeteners cannot.
Many of Anna Mae Clark’s recipes come from her mother and grandmothers. They create “older flavors” that people enjoy, and can’t always find outside of farmers’ markets.
The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays at the Lincoln Baths Building in the Saratoga Spa State Park. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and on the FreshFoodNY app.
Traditional Meals for Traditional Holidays
AS WE APPROACH our traditional winter holiday season, the Saratoga Farmers’ Market offers delicious selections for traditional preparation. Whether you’re gathering guests or enjoying a quiet celebration, the Market supplies ingredients from appetizers to entrees to desserts. Scotch Ridge Trees and Berries completes your home with holiday decorations.
What better cocktail to serve in New York State than a Manhattan made with Yankee Distillers rye whiskey, made from 100 percent Saratoga grains. You can top it with a fermented black cherry from Pucker’s Pickles.
Battenkill Valley Creamery makes eggnog that’s ready for adding optional liquor. Or prepare homemade with their dairy products, and Market eggs, using SimplyRecipes.com.
For appetizers, check the holiday cheeses from Argyle Cheese and Nettle Meadow. Argyle’s annual gift baskets will work for a cheese platter along with yogurt dips for Market vegetables. Nettle Meadow’s holiday cheeses include pfeffernusse, cranberry, and eggnog fromage frais. Pura Vida expects to have Peconic Bay scallops, and try their blowfish, either sautéed or fried like chicken wings. Add Freddy’s Rockin’ Hummus to your appetizers, and serve with Saratoga Crackers and Mrs. London’s breads.
Photo by Pattie Garrett.
For entrees, Longlesson Farm and Lewis Waite Farm offer glorious beef rib roasts. You can pre-order three or four rib, or whole roasts. Elihu Farm will have fresh lamb again, including bone-in or boneless legs, whole or half racks, and loin strips. Mariaville Mushroom Men features gift baskets and teas, along with grow kits. Their mushrooms make an excellent side dish with beef or lamb.
Don’t leave the Market until you pick up salad greens, tomatoes and herbs, potatoes and vegetables, and Momma’s Secret Salad Dressings. For an alternate starch, try Mangiamo’s pasta. And add Saratoga Apple’s hard cider to your basket.
Finally, no meal is complete without dessert and coffee. The Chocolate Spoon offers cookies and cakes all year, and for holidays one can order fruit or cream pies and cheesecakes. From Saratoga Apple you can choose varieties to make baked apples and apple pie. Grandma’s Apple also makes cheesecakes. In addition to serving cup after cup of coffee at the Market, Something’s Brewing now roasts organic coffee beans in several flavors. Add this to complete your basket of products for holiday celebrations.
Creating Art For (and at) the Saratoga Farmers’ Market
Gretchen Tisch sits at her Saratoga Farmers’ Market stall every Saturday surrounded by her art: hand-painted shirts and jackets, knitted hats, handcrafted jewelry, mugs, custom pet portraits and other customized “paintings from photos,” uniquely painted purses, boots, and more. In between customers, she knits and creates jewelry, giving shoppers a glimpse of art-in-progress.
Tisch owns Feathered Antler, one of several local arts and crafts businesses which form the market’s special Holiday Market. Many of these vendors are located on the second floor of the market’s winter location in the Lincoln Baths Building at the Saratoga Spa State Park. They vend alongside newer farmers from Greenjeans, Ramble Creek, Squashville and Saratoga Urban farms, bringing art and agriculture together. Tisch’s Feathered Antler is located at the market entrance, its vibrant colors and natural themes providing a beautiful introduction for the indoor Saratoga Farmers’ Market.
For Tisch, the market is a year-round affair. In her eyes, her art – with its colors and its vibrancy – complement the farm-grown and handmade products that form the market’s core. “I love the market’s vibe,” Tisch says. “I love the colors, the healthy feel, the freshness of the fruits and vegetables. My colors and my artwork feed off that.”
Tisch was a regular customer of the Saratoga Farmers’ Market before she became a vendor. She had been selling her work via Etsy and in small shops, and felt as she made her weekly visits that her art could be an asset to the market. She applied to be a vendor in the winter market in 2015 and was accepted. Within weeks, shoppers were buying her creations and placing custom orders. Soon, she outgrew her home studio space and began searching for a studio and retail space. In 2016 she opened a boutique at 517 Broadway in Saratoga Springs.
For Tisch, art is like the market itself – fresh and ever-changing, much as the selections of farm-grown and raised vegetables, fruits, and meats vary with the seasons. During breaks, Gretchen loves to shop for her weekly farm products, and at times, she joins her parent’s Tisch Family Band as a dancer, performing traditional Irish Step Dancing, often in festive holiday attire. Art in its many forms and inspirations, all at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market!
The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays at the Lincoln Baths Building in the Saratoga Spa State Park. Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, and check us out on the FreshFoodNY app.
Photo by Pattie Garrett.
Area Artists Bring Unique & Personal Gifts to the Farmers’ Market
The Saratoga Farmers’ Market’s Holiday Market, held every Saturday in November and December, features hand-made jewelry, clothing, journals, a variety of artwork, and specialty prepared foods and treats. These unique gifts provide a way to connect with a loved one’s individualized style and interests. Some of our featured local artists include Rosemary Romeo, Peggy Gray and Terri Holmes Smith.
Rosemary Romeo, owner and artist of “I Don’t Do Ordinary,” uses copper, brass, silver, gemstones, and found objects to create one-of-a-kind earrings, necklaces, rings, watches and other gifts for women, men, and children. Romeo explains, “I take designs that are current and put a not-so-current twist on them to create a new level of ‘in-style’ with a vintage twist.” Romeo’s signature items include graphic-image earrings and natural-flower jewelry, as well as pieces made from repurposed materials such as spoons, coins, and new and found stones and semi-precious gems.
Peggy Gray, of “22 Shades of Gray,” combines lush fabrics and a variety of textures to create unusual clothing for women. Her asymmetric blouses, swingy coats, fitted jackets, multi-layered wraps, and other designs complement women of all ages and styles. Peggy has been sewing since she was 17, and she now owns a studio in Buskirk, NY. Peggy says “I love to help women express their personalities through their fashion.” Peggy will be at the Holiday Market most Saturdays in December, and also sells her items online.
Terri Holmes Smith, inspired by Native American insights into beauty and spirit, has created “The Weaving Tree,” a family business that specializes in crafting personalized dream catchers and dream catcher-themed jewelry. Come see what Terri has at the market and talk to her about custom orders for the holidays or other special occasions. Terri and her family also make glass hand-painted Christmas bulbs and other glass objects and carry a line of journals that have questions and prompts designed to help people share their life stories with loved ones.
In addition to items from these artists, the Holiday Market also features other jewelers and crafters, as well as specialty foods for people and their pets. The Holiday Market is part of the Saratoga Farmers’ Market, running Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Lincoln Baths. For more information see www.saratogafarmersmarket.org.
Giving Thanks With Pie
TOMORROW is one of the year’s best days to shop at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market. The Saturday before Thanksgiving offers an opportunity to fill your baskets and holiday menus with locally grown and raised foods from our region’s farms. We’ve talked up vegetables, turkeys and ducks. This week, we turn our attention to the sweet finale: pies.
Thanksgiving pie traditionally has been pumpkin, made by roasting or steaming chunks of fresh pumpkin or a similar winter squash, and then creating a puree of the pumpkin with eggs, milk, honey or maple syrup. From there, one can add cinnamon, nutmeg and/or allspice and then bake in a pie crust for 45 to 60 minutes. Such pies fill the belly with sweetness and warmth while making use of the foods that farmers bring
But pie goes well beyond pumpkin. For pie fillings, think seasonal and think abundance. Local options include apple, sweet potato, and butternut squash. On the savory side, there’s quiche, chicken pot pies, and even shepherd’s pie, a simple dish of browned ground meat (beef, pork, or goat) topped with mashed potatoes and then baked.
A basic pie crust is made by blending flour, water, butter and a little salt into a dough. As food blogger Pattie Garrett learned in a recent workshop at the King Arthur Flour baking school, keeping the ingredients cold and allowing the dough to chill for at least 30 minutes before rolling out eases the process and helps ensure a smooth, uncracked crust.
There is plenty of room to get creative with pie. For instance, Gomez Veggie Ville’s Lizbeth Gomez artfully blends sweet potatoes with butternut squash in a graham cracker crust. This combination makes a pie that is creamy and packed with a phenomenal flavor. As the accompanying recipe shows, it also is quite easy to make.
If you are in a rush to get the other holiday tasks done but want to serve a homemade pie, you can even find that at the Saturday market. Local bakers have ready-to-serve apple, pumpkin, cherry and pecan for holiday meals, and also frozen pot-pies to pull out of your freezer for a delicious
meal any time.
The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays in the Lincoln Baths Building, Saratoga Spa State Park. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and the FreshFoodNY app.
Traditional Holiday Turkey and Duck Fresh and Sustainable from the Farmers’ Market
THE SEASON OF FEASTS creates a reason to focus on holiday birds such as turkeys and ducks. This fresh and sustainable poultry can now be found at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market.
For turkey, check in with Ramble Creek Farm and Mariaville Mushroom Men. For duck, speak with Squashville Farm. All of these farms encourage advance orders.
In an era of convenience cooking, the prospect of roasting a bird as big as a turkey (10 pounds at a minimum) or a duck (six to eight pounds) might seem daunting. Why do it? And how? Let’s start by looking at what makes these poultry so flavorful.
Ramble Creek owner Josh Carnes explains, “our turkeys arrived on farm as little poults on July 18, and grew to maturity on pasture.” He adds, “Turkeys forage a lot, way more than chickens. If moved to fresh grass on a regular basis, they get a large amount of their diet from the land.”
Ramble Creek Farm. Photo provided.
Squashville Farm owner Jim Gupta-Carlson notes that all of the animals raised on his farm – chickens, ducks, and goats – play a role in supporting the health of each other as well as the soil and vegetables that the farm cultivates. For example, “Ducks are particularly vital to keeping the populations of snails, which are pests to goats, under control.” Additionally, Gupta-Carlson says, “Because the ducks are raised outdoors, they run and they fly, and they live and eat like ducks.”
All of these local farm animals live to near-maturity and are processed on site. According to Carnes, this eases stress on the “one bad day” and helps create “an extremely high quality and flavorful finished product.”
As for cooking, simpler is better. Our accompanying recipe shows that there is no need to do such things as piercing the skin, parboiling in advance, or adding a lot of seasonings because, as Carnes notes, “the flavor of pastured birds truly stands on its own.” The basic steps involve roasting for 15 minutes at a high heat, then lowering the heat to continue cooking. Let the meat rest about 15 minutes before serving.
The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays in the Lincoln Baths Building, Saratoga Spa State Park. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and the FreshFoodNY app
Four Generations: A Mother's Day Celebration
SARATOGA SPRINGS –Mother’s Day: a holiday dedicated to celebrating motherhood and the unconditional love (and life) our mothers gave to us. It’s a joy when we are able to spend the day with our mothers, allowing us to show them how much they are cherished and appreciated.
For Joan Hoeft, she feels the Mother’s Day love three-fold. Hoeft, who lives in Woodlawn Commons at the Wesley Community, gets to spend her special day with her daughter, Kris Mikeska, granddaughter, Meg Porto, and great-granddaughter, Lucia, who is just nine-months old.
“It’s a huge blessing,” said Porto, who just became a mom last summer. “Family is everything to us.”
This four generation family is incredibly close and stays busy by spending a lot of time together. Though Mikeska and Porto live further north, they make the drive down to Wesley at least three times a week to visit and do all their favorite things – from enjoying meals together to shopping on Broadway.
“It’s pretty cute when we go out – Mom has her walker and Lucia’s with her stroller,” said Mikeska. “We always have people stop and say how special it is that we’re all together.”
Over the years, Hoeft has taught Mikeska and Porto a lot about what it means to be a mom, handing down traditions and values her own mother taught her.
“My father died when I was just a baby,” said Hoeft. “My mother had to take care of me on her own. It was hard on her. She rented out all of our house but three rooms, which is where we lived.”
Hoeft helped her mom a lot when she was a kid, for example going grocery shopping on her bicycle because they didn’t have a vehicle. Through her mom, Hoesk learned the meaning of hard work and sacrificing for your child.
“They depended on each other,” added Mikeska. “They worked as a team. A mother-daughter team.”
Unlike her mom, Hoeft had the opportunity to be a stay-at-home mom, and Mikeska and Porto followed in her footsteps, making motherhood their full-time career.
“I’ve definitely learned my values from them,” said Mikeska about her mom and her grandmother. “Values like honesty and always being there for each other. Family traditions are huge for us. It’s all about being together.”
Porto feels the same way, knowing that if she has a question about being a new mom, she can always rely on her mom and grandmother for help.
“It’s very reassuring that if I don’t have the answer, one of them will,” said Porto. “From day one, I have always felt so supported. All of their advice is something I truly take to heart. It’s not always spoken either; I’ve learned so much by their example.”
This will be Porto’s first Mother’s Day with her daughter Lucia in the family; it will be a true celebration of a family’s growing legacy.
“Mother’s Day just makes you feel good – it’s a celebration of having children,” said Hoesk, looking lovingly at her great-granddaughter cooing in her granddaughter’s lap. “The most rewarding part is when they keep growing up, then they get married, then they have babies of their own, and you just feel a part of it all. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”