Displaying items by tag: High Rock Park
Slate River Farms made its debut at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market in May, with eggs, poultry, and beef. A few weeks later, predators ambushed their flock, causing them to lose half their egg layers.
“We still do not know exactly what happened, but we believe that a pack of coyotes essentially ambushed the flock in broad daylight,” says Nellie Lovenduski, who owns the farm with her husband Eric and father-in-law Paul. “Not only is that super sad for us to lose so many animals all at once, but that also seriously cut into our egg supply for the summer.”
The family, however, regrouped, and Slate River now offers its eggs and meats regularly at the Wednesday market.
Risks of such loss are realities of farm life, and the Lovenduski family has lived with them for generations. The family began farming more than 100 years ago, after Joseph Lovenduski arrived in Burlington, New Jersey, from Poland. The farm saved his struggling family of 16 children through the Great Depression. Later, Eric’s grandfather moved to the Finger Lakes region of New York and farmed more than 2,500 acres of corn, soybeans, wheat, and other crops. Eric’s uncle and father continued that practice for decades.
In 2016, Eric, Nellie and Eric’s father decided to re-invent the farm with a goal of providing high-quality meats and eggs to local markets. They acquired land in Easton and began what Nellie calls a “back to our roots” approach, focusing on intensive rotational grazing as the core of their practice. Such a method allows a herd to graze in a section of the pasture one day, and then another the next, rotating so as to allow the pasture time to regenerate.
At Slate River Farms, cattle live outside all year, eating grass from the pastures summer, spring and fall, and during the winter eat hay from their own field as well as organic minerals and sea kelp to boost their health. Chickens spend their days outside and at night are placed in shelters to protect them from predators.
Slate River Farms has received certifications from A Greener World as Animal Welfare Approved and as Certified Grassfed, as a result of their practices. The family takes pride in this achievement.
The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is 3-6 p.m. Wednesdays and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays at High Rock. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Summer is finally here in Saratoga! Those sunny Saturday mornings can now be pleasantly spent perusing the abundance of vendors at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market.
The summer season yields such a beautiful harvest of fresh fruits and vegetables – ones that are perfect for your next picnic in the park. On your next trip to the market, look out for those summer staples that you can use for packing a plant-based picnic, like radishes, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, zucchini, yellow squash, pickles and sauerkraut, carrots, and all of your greens – spinach, kale, arugula, and lettuces galore. You can use these plant foods in a variety of picnic-perfect snacks, like:
• Homemade hummus with sliced carrots, cucumber, radishes, and zucchini
• Homemade green pesto with sliced carrots, cucumber, radishes, and zucchini
• Homemade pickled radishes with fresh herbs
• Pesto and veggie wraps or hummus and veggie wraps
• Zucchini noodle pasta with cherry tomatoes and pesto
• Garden picnic pasta salad (see recipe box)
It’s time to dust off that picnic basket, soak up the sunshine and get outside before the sun sets on summer. My favorite summer memories are filled with days spent lounging by the pool, making forts in the woods, traipsing through the cornfield, homemade lunches on my parent’s back porch and picnics at the lake. Picnics, that likely included some variation of a summer pasta salad.
Inspired by fresh finds from the farmers' market, my Garden Picnic Pasta Salad includes a healthy helping of dark leafy greens, summer vegetables, and a tangy sundried tomato dressing. It contains 25g of plant protein per serving and is a hit amongst the kids. It’s fresh, seasonal and delicious. Beyond your next picnic, this pasta may accompany you to a friend’s bbq, boat day on the lake, the beach, camping or a regular ole’ summer shindig.
Barb Biagioli is a board-certified holistic health coach and nutrition consultant, mother of two, and an avid farmers' market shopper. She works with women and families to improve their health by implementing sustainable diet and lifestyle changes. Barb offers one-one-one coaching programs, workshops and classes, grocery tours, pantry rehab, and menu and restaurant consultation.
A great perk of summer is eating outdoors. My husband and I do this as often as we can manage. About 7 p.m., he gathers up wood and gets a fire going in our old charcoal goal. As the wood burns down to coals, I prep. Then, we cook and eat slowly, sipping wine and beer, watching the sun set and sky darken to dusk.
What goes on the grill? Where does it come from?
Most of what we eat comes from the Saratoga Farmers’ Market or our farm. What goes on the grill depends on what’s in season.
The centerpiece of most of our meals is meat, farm-raised and brought to an ambient temperature, maybe brushed with a bit of Dancing Ewe Farm’s olive oil, maybe sprinkled with black pepper or garlic, maybe topped with finely chopped rosemary or sage.
The “maybes” are truly that. Options. The meats our farmers bring to market come from animals that feast on the flavorful bounty of outdoor pastures, and rarely require much to enhance their flavor. We rotate between chicken, goat, pork, fish, lamb, and beef.
With meat as the main course, vegetables in all shapes, textures, and tastes enhance the overall meal.
I plan a supper’s vegetables around three basic cooking styles: roasted, sautéed, and right on the grill. Roasted is usually a starch – such as hakurei turnips, trimmed, wrapped in foil and cooked until fork-soft and slightly caramelized. For sautéed, try a bunch of seasonal greens such as tatsoi, tossed into a frying pan or wok with olive oil, lemon juice, and maybe chopped onion, green garlic, or chive. Stir fry the greens for 2-4 minutes until they have wilted. Right on the grill is anything that likes a slight singe. For instance, zucchini, cooked until tender with a blackened patten from the grill.
Summer supper possibilities on the grill are endless. Try your own combinations and stop by the market to share your results.
On Wednesdays, locally raised meat and poultry may be found at Ramble Creek Farm, Slate River Farm, and Squashville Farm. On Saturdays, Elihu Farm, Lewis Waite Farm, Longlesson Farm, M&A Farm, and Ramble Creek Farm. Fish and seafood may be found at Pura Vida Fisheries. And, cured meats not for grilling may be found at Dancing Ewe Farm.
We have waited patiently, our farmers have worked tirelessly, and the Upstate New York soil has recognized the efforts and responded with annual generosity. Market tables are beginning to overflow with rainbows of fresh vegetables, fruits, and herbs. With so many ingredients for the taking, cooks can indulge in cravings for juicy peaches, leafy greens, and heirloom tomatoes of all sorts while paying homage to the local lands that bore them.
This special season deserves cooking that is equally so. The ideal recipe is light, refreshing, and a celebration of all summer has to offer. Another consideration is temperature. During the dog days of summer, the less time spent inside with ovens ablaze the better. When heat is required, a grill can be a saving grace. Grilling up a large batch of fresh vegetables tossed in a simple marinade such as minced garlic, lemon juice, and good quality olive oil provides options for the next several meals. I use a grill basket, skillet, or shish kabob set depending on the vegetable but prefer to put them right on the grate for the coveted grill marks. Serve them as-is, then combine leftovers with grains like bulgur, quinoa, or rice. Grill whole bell peppers and stuff with any of the above, or beans and cilantro for a Southwest take. Experiment with fresh herbs, cheeses, kinds of vinegar, and seasonings to round out the dishes. This week, try Polenta with Grilled Eggplant, Tomatoes and Basil. While the grate is still hot, make way for a dessert of Grilled Peaches with Browned Butter and Cinnamon Crumbs. The options for different flavors, textures, and pops of color are endless and impressive, but not time-consuming. Meals that are quick to come together allow for more precious moments in the backyard with feet kicked up, full plate in hand, and family and friends abound.
Many regulars treat their trips to the twice-weekly Saratoga Farmers’ Market as opportunities to stock up on provisions for the week.
But going to the market also can be an opportunity to discover something new – an unusual fruit, an heirloom vegetable, a different kind of homemade sauce. To bring out that adventurous spirit, we asked our summer interns, Laura Kenny and Elizabeth Horgan, to explore the market and share their favorite finds. Here’s a short list of what they came up with:
Its flavor and smell can be described as a mix of celery and parsley, but with a higher intensity of both of those flavors. This herb is delicious in salads and soups. Find it at Otrembiak Farm.
This poofy mushroom sold by Mariaville Mushroom Men and Ramble Creek Farm is often equated to a steak or a lobster. Slice it thinly, cook it in a hot, unoiled saucepan for 3-4 minutes. Then add oil and seasonings of your choice. Turn off the heat and let it rest. It will taste a little like steak or lobster.
These green curlicues are the flower of the garlic. Farmers cut them off to help their garlic grow and invite you to enjoy them as a vegetable or meat seasoning, atop pizzas, in pasta sauces, pickled, or stir-fried.
This Asian green is harvested usually in late summer for its stem. Its young leaves, however, also are delicious in a quick stir fry with oil, red pepper, and peanuts. Find the leaves at Squashville Farm.
If all the fresh food makes you want to grow your own, check out the salsa and pizza “gardens” that Balet and Burger nurseries offer. All you need in a single pot.
The Proper Popper turns this fair-like treat into a weekly market affair. Find them Saturdays with the other prepared food vendors.
7.Chickpea Cheese Dip
Vital Eats offers its So-Cheezy and Zesty-Cheezy vegan condiments on Saturdays. These flavorful sauces are nut, soy, and dairy free. Chickpeas and vegetables pack creamy, tangy flavor that’s full of antioxidants, and protein.
We often think of pattypan squash as small and yellow. But it can be big and multi-colored, as many vendor stalls attest. Small to medium scallop squash can be treated like zucchini. The skin is thin and the seeds are small enough you can slice and cook however you would like. You can pickle, saute, grill, or even bake this squash. Larger pattypan squash needs a little extra TLC, but they are the ultimate vessel for stuffing and baking.
The Vermont Spatzle Co. offers a gluten-free version of this German specialty on Saturdays. Ask them for their list of recipes.
And for that newborn, check out the hand-painted Onesies at the Feathered Antler.
Of course, the interns made many more discoveries. We invite you to join them and explore.
Balance. That is what Amanda Zezima emphasizes about her current life.
Zezima is the owner of Nut Zez, a new vendor at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market this year.
Zezima is a school psychologist, personal trainer, former body builder, wife, mother, and entrepreneur. She spoke with me at the market while holding her six-month-old son Raphael.
“We all have the same hours in a day,” she says. “It is how we choose to use those hours.”
Zezima has chosen to take care of her health, spend time with her family, and promote health for other people. Nut Zez has been a creative avenue for her to do so.
Zezima was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age three. She grew up seeking healthy foods and found that the healthy fats in nuts helped her stabilize her blood sugar level.
She could not find a nut butter product in stores, however, that was free of added sugars, salts, oils, or preservatives. She began making almond butter in her humble home kitchen, experimenting with different flavors. She brought her creations to her personal training clients, who encouraged her to start offering them for sale.
Zezima sells her almond butters to her clients, at gyms and at area farmers’ markets. She recently began online sales.
Many different nut butters exist on the market. All must comply with federal Food & Drug Act rules regarding processing, which strips foods of some naturally occurring nutrients. Zezima uses almonds sourced from a California grower that have undergone the lowest form of processing allowable. She makes her butters in a peanut-free facility and uses ingredients with no cross contamination in consideration of those with peanut allergies.
Nut Zez’s almond butter flavors include honey, smooth maple, and brownie batter. Zezima also offers a line of protein butters that contain all-natural whey protein isolates.
For Zezima, family life is paramount. She chose to join the Saratoga Farmers’ Market for that reason. She used to sell at a Sunday market but “after Raf was born, we chose Sundays to be family days.”
Look for Zezima on Saturdays at the north end of the Saratoga Farmers’ Market.
School’s out for the summer. No lunchboxes to fill, no homework, fewer structured activities, and more free time. It’s a perfect time to add a Wednesday family outing to the Saratoga Farmers’ Market for the Power of Produce Club.
Power of Produce, or POP, is a free 12-week program at the market. It begins next Wednesday, June 26, and runs through early September. The goal is to help children learn more about where their food comes from.
Children can join the POP Club by visiting the Saratoga Farmers’ Market with their parents. Each time members visit the market they receive a $2 POP coin that can be used to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables. In addition, children receive a POP passport that is stamped at each visit. After receiving four stamps, children are eligible for a prize. Although the club is open to children, it is especially geared toward those aged 5-12.
Buying produce with a POP coin gives children a chance to meet farmers, learn money skills, and make smart food choices.
In addition to the POP coins, the POP Club features weekly activities and music. The Christopher Dailey Foundation sponsors the program and several community partners host the club’s activities. Opening day will feature music by first time market performer Jeannine Ouderkirk, a Humpty Dumpty craft activity sponsored by the Saratoga Springs Public Library, and a sampling of Shushan Hydro Farms’ cherry tomatoes.
Julia Howard, formerly the market coordinator, started the POP Club at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market four years ago. This summer, her five-year-old daughter Taiga will be a club member.
“With a climate crisis and pesticide-ridden foods in our present day, it’s so important that children understand where their food comes from,” Howard says. “It’s important that we give them the tools to be involved in agriculture and community, to help them understand the impacts of climate change. The POP Club is a great outlet for children to get involved and to learn how to make changes on a local and worldwide level.”
To join, look for the green POP Club tent at the Wednesday market, across from the market information booth.
When shopping for produce or meat in supermarkets, there’s often no information about the origin of those products or how they were raised. At Saratoga Farmers’ Market, customers can easily get the “where and how” from our farmers.
One exception in grocery stores is the overwhelming amount of information on egg cartons. Some information is based on USDA definitions; some is advertising. Farm locations are often on the back of the cartons.
According to USDA, farms can raise egg-laying hens in various ways. If a carton states nothing, this probably means the hens are in “battery cages,” 67-76 square inches per hen, smaller than a standard sheet of paper.
Other housing methods are cage-free, free-range, and pastured. “Cage-free” hens live indoors, with no requirement for the amount of space for each hen. “Free-range” hens have access to the outdoors, but that area may be very small and covered with concrete.
Although USDA hasn’t defined “pasture-raised,” pasture for hens should contain young grass and plants in addition to standard feed. Hens will also catch earthworms and insects. Research done by Mother Earth News and Penn State University concludes that these eggs are higher in Vitamins A, E, and D, and Omega-3 fatty acids, and lower in saturated fat and cholesterol.
Cartons labeled pastured eggs in winter should come from states where grass grows year round such as Texas, California, Georgia, Arkansas. In the Northeast, there is no pasture once the snow falls, until spring comes.
“No Hormones” on cartons means nothing because the Federal government doesn’t allow hens to receive hormones. “No Antibiotics” means farms add none to the hens’ feed or water.
For eggs to be labeled ‘local,’ the 2008 Farm Bill requires flocks to be less than 400 miles from processing, or within the state where eggs are laid and processed. Those eggs may be shipped anywhere in the U.S. By contrast, eggs at our Market come from farms less than 30 miles away.
These are the farms that provide you with delicious, fresh, and truly local eggs: Elihu (Sat.), Gifford (Wed.), Kokinda (Sat.), Longlesson (Sat.), Moxie Ridge (Sat), Old World Farm (Wed./Sat.), Otrembiak (Wed./Sat.), Slate River (Wed.), Squashville (Wed.)
Saratoga Farmers’ market runs 3-6 p.m. Wednesdays, and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays at High Rock Park. Find us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and FreshFoodNY app. Email friends@saratogafarmersmarket for volunteer opportunities.
New York State’s Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program begins this month.
Through it, individuals who face economic hardship can receive $4 coupons to purchase fresh fruits, vegetables, mushrooms and herbs at participating farmers’ markets.
The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is among the many farmers’ markets taking part in the program. It also is among its strongest advocates.
“Many of our vendors are farmers with social consciences,” says events coordinator Julia Howard. “They see their work of growing healthy foods as part of a larger vision to feed their communities. The FMNP helps make that goal more possible.”
The coupons come in books of five. They are distributed through such outlets as Saratoga County’s Office of the Aging as well as the state’s Special Supplemental Program for Women, Infants and Children, or WIC. The county’s Office of the Aging will distribute coupons on site at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market at designated dates this summer.
Individuals over age 60 can request coupons, as well as younger persons who participate in WIC.
The state’s Department of Agriculture and Markets describes the program as a means of promoting food security. It helps those who are economically distressed gain more access to healthy, locally grown fresh foods. At the same time, it generates income for local farmers and supports farmers’ markets as community venues.
Using the coupons is simple. At the Saratoga Farmers’ Market, participating vendors display signs at their stalls that indicate their acceptance of FMNP coupons. Customers can redeem the coupons for fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, and mushrooms in $4 increments.
Farmers work with customers to maximize the coupons’ value.
For instance, a large basket of potatoes might cost $5. A customer can use a $4 coupon to buy the potatoes and add an additional dollar of cash, or request that the vendor reduce the amount of potatoes so that the price comes to $4. In a different scenario, a bunch of kale might cost $3. The vendor might add a little more to the bunch to equal $4 or add a separate item such as an apple.
The overall goal is to ensure that more people have access to local food.
Like people, plants relate to one another differently. Unique characteristics such as fragrance, stature, and ability to attract pollinators and repel pests make a plant more or less compatible with its neighbors.
Companion planting, or paying attention to beneficial relationships that exist between species of plants, give way to healthier crops, increased yields, and even enhanced flavor in harvests. Herbs are especially companionable when mindfully placed in a garden bed.
Herbs also possess healing properties to soothe the ailments of the gardeners who tend them. For centuries herbs have been exalted as medicinal remedies, offering relief for sore throats, anxiety, stomachaches, and other health concerns.
Rather than planting rows of single crops this season, try intermingling herbs for a garden that is both plentiful and curative.
Basil and tomatoes have heightened flavors when grown in proximity. Basil also compliments asparagus, beans, beets, cabbage, and bell peppers. Basil tea alleviates an upset stomach and is a natural skin cleanser. Place wet leaves under eyes to reduce puffiness and dark circles.
Thyme repels pests like cabbage worms, corn earworms, and tomato hornworms. It will strengthen the flavor of most plants it borders while attracting honey bees and predatory insects. Thyme relieves congestion from colds and seasonal allergies.
Dill is a companion to broccoli, cabbage, kohlrabi, brussels sprouts, and kale. It attracts honey bees and butterflies while deterring cabbage loppers and spider mites. Dill should not be planted near carrots, as the two may cross-pollinate. Steeping two tablespoons of crushed dill seed in one cup of boiling water creates a dill tea for cold and flu symptom relief.
Rosemary pairs well with broccoli, beans, cabbage, and hot peppers. Aromatically it improves cognitive function and memory. A rosemary tea or essential oil can be used on hair to strengthen and condition.
Lavender compliments cabbage, kale, cauliflower, and rose bushes. Adding a few drops of lavender oil in a bath reduces stress, insomnia, and anxiety. Fragrant dried flowers can be sewn into pillows or sleep masks for a calming effect.
Calendula, or the pot marigold, is a must grow for its bright yellow and orange flowers, pest prevention, and medicinal qualities. Calendula acts as a trap plant, attracting aphids to a sticky stem and away from garden vegetables. The flowers are harvested and used to make oils, teas, and ointments that have antiseptic and wound healing properties.