Displaying items by tag: Saratoga Farmers' Market
Fall is characterized by different things for all of us. The focus of our energy may be diverse during this seasonal shift but there is some 'common ground' that we embrace during the autumn months. Please enjoy this list of shopping tips and local products that are hard to live without right now:
1. Fall Decor
As summer flowers begin to wither, hardy fall plants such as mums and flowering kale offer a fresh burst of autumnal color to front steps and window boxes. The season's harvest of pumpkins and gourds of all shapes, sizes, and textures also encourages creativity in indoor and outdoor decor. Many varieties of pumpkins and gourds and festive fall flowers, cut flowers, and wreaths can be found at several farmstands at the Wednesday and Saturday farmers’ market.
2. Warm Meals
Cooler temperatures call for soups, stews, and oven-roasted meals that have the added benefit of warming the house without turning on the heat. Fall produce such as squash, Brussels sprouts, and freshly dug potatoes are ideal for roasting with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Stew meat, whole roasting chickens, and lamb, pork, and beef roasts are fall favorites as they are easy to prepare and result in versatile meals. The Wednesday and Saturday markets are both abundant with meat, poultry, and fresh produce.
3. Building Immunity
First a scratchy throat and then the sniffles, the common cold is among us again. There may not be a cure but there are immune-boosting foods and drinks that offer relief naturally. We suggest mushroom teas from the Mariaville Mushroom Men and cold-pressed juice from Urban Roots. If you’re feeling depleted, boost your vitamin intake with a superfood smoothie with added bee pollen from The Smoothie Shoppe. Inevitably, we all succumb to the common cold but relief can be found in a warm shower with therapeutic soaps by Saratoga Suds ‘n’ Stuff or bee balm from Ballston Lake Apiaries.
4. Pumpkin Spice Everything
Pumpkin spice is unavoidable this time of year. However, local producers do it right and use natural ingredients. From classic pumpkin pie by The Food Florist to pumpkin spice chèvre from Nettle Meadow, pumpkin spice products are aplenty at the farmers’ market. Looking to replicate the classic pumpkin pie spice yourself? Try roasting a pie pumpkin with Saigon Cinnamon from the Saratoga Spicery.
5. Simple Comforts
Fall is also a time for simple comforts like slipping into a warm, hand-painted jacket by Feathered Antler. Or maybe curling up with a corn toasty warming pad from Kokinda Farm. Comfort can be found in a hot cup of dark roast coffee or custom tea blend from Something’s Brewing. Or maybe a drizzle of Slate Valley Farms’ maple syrup on a steamy bowl of oatmeal. However you find comfort, fall encourages the pursuit.
The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is 3-6 p.m. Wednesdays and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays at High Rock Park through October 30. The market moves to a new indoor location at the Wilton mall on November 2. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for updates.
It’s that time of year again: Back to School.
This typically means back to messy mudrooms, crazy schedules, pick-ups, drop-offs, empty refrigerators and unorganized pantries, and most scary of all, “hangry” kids running amok in the afternoon hours, impatiently awaiting a snack.
If you’re back to school this season, having snacks ready to go is key to preventing meltdowns and madness. With a little bit of preparation, you can make a week’s worth of snacks ahead of time – ones to take to work, pack in kid’s lunches, keep in the fridge for after school snacks, or take on the road. I’m often asked what snacks are best for kids, what’s easy and best for on-the-go, or can be made ahead of time, so I’ll share a few of my tips with you.
1. Avoid snacks that come in a box, bag or wrapper, and use your local farmer’s market to inspire healthy snacks for yourself and your kids! Keep it simple, nutritious, and colorful and snacking will be tasty and fun.
2. Cut, chop, and prep easy staple snacks – like veggies for dipping – in containers in advance of the school week.
3. Dig out old baby food containers – you know, the ones you used for freezing pureed baby food. They’re ideal individual snack trays for your children. You can make sweet or savory trays using farmer’s market produce – try cherry tomatoes, zucchini, and carrots with hummus in the center for dipping. Or slice apple, pear, and place roasted sweet potatoes into the tray paired with nut butter.
4. Make healthy green muffins for the week, double the batch and place them in your freezer for later in the month.
5. Throw together a hummus quesadilla with whatever suitable produce you have left in the house. Otherwise known as the “everything but the kitchen sink” hummus quesadilla. I’ll show you how.
Seasonally, we are edging out of summer produce but still relishing in tomatoes, peppers, and dark leafy greens, as we’re also sharing in the wonders of the autumn harvest! The best of both worlds colliding to yield a farmer’s market bounty that is overflowing from bins and baskets – the perfect inspiration for our “anything goes” quesadillas. There are a few fun ways to put together a hummus quesadilla, but certainly no wrong way as long as you have some veggies on hand, hummus and tortilla wraps.
The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is 3-6 p.m. Wednesdays and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays at High Rock Park through Oct. 30. The market moves to a new indoor location at the Wilton Mall on Nov. 2. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for updates.
The three sisters method of interplanting corn, beans, and squash is an Iroquois practice that helped sustain the soil that farmers in our region use today.
It was rooted in long-term sustenance: By planting beans as companions to corn, the nitrogen that corn plants deplete is restored and bean vines receive a climbing pole in the corn stalks. Meanwhile, low-to-the-ground squash leaves create shade which prevents the soil from drying out. At seasons end is a harvest of three foods that one can eat immediate or store for winter use.
In market farming, three sisters gardens are hard to find. Most farmers plant in rows, separating crops from one another. Yet, many of those rows produce corn, squash, and/or beans – all of which are abundant now at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market. Each makes a delicious dish by itself. The three also can be combined to create soups salads, stirfrys, and casseroles.
I first encountered the three sisters method in a gardening guide in the 1980s as a young adult trying to create a garden. On paper, planting corn with beans and squash seemed easy. You first plant corn kernels in a mound of soil. After the corn sprouts, you add beans, around each shoot of corn. Once the beans are established, you add squash. You weed while the plants are young and then leave them until it’s time to harvest.
Creating such a garden is easier said than done, as I quickly learned while trying not to step on squash or uproot corn as I snipped bean pods. Still, I use the three sisters as a template for growing food and eating it. This lets me cook with corn and a wide variety of squashes and beans.
I adapted the accompanying chili recipe from a basic ground beef and vegetable chili. I used fresh corn from the Gomez Veggie Ville but chose Squashville Farm’s carnival squash over the butternut squash that the original recipe suggested. I also used dried red beans over canned, and ground venison instead of beef. The result was a mildly spiced chili filled with the three sisters at the center.
The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is 3-6 p.m. Wednesdays and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays at High Rock Park through October 30. The market moves to a new indoor location at the Wilton mall on November 1. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for updates.
Beneath a dozen eggs and some carrots with sprawling greens lay some of the most delicious pumpkin chocolate chip cookies I have ever tasted. The Chocolate Spoon was the last stop on my list this past Saturday, and the farmers’ market crowd was beginning to swell. Once the cookies were safely tucked away in my basket, I headed for my car.
Indulging in a sweet treat has become a part of my Wednesday or Saturday shopping ritual - a reward for working hard all week. The rewards vary. Last week, it was applesauce from Saratoga Apple. The apples, slowly and gently cooked, have the perfect chunky consistency and balance of sweetness and tart. With no sugar added, I felt like I was doing something good for myself. The week before that, my treat was Mrs. London’s famous buttery almond croissant. And, the week before that, I fondly recall rich, creamy chocolate milk from Battenkill Valley Creamery.
Whatever farmers’ market sweets I choose to indulge in, they are always fresh, delicious, and an ode to quality, local ingredients. Perhaps that’s why they have become my shopping tradition. And, they are treats that I don’t have to spend hours in the kitchen preparing myself.
Market sweets come in a variety of sizes to accommodate any desire or occasion. Satisfy a small craving with a honey stick from Slate Valley Farms or personal-sized Sweet Greek yogurt from Argyle Cheese Farmer. Looking for a larger quantity to share? Perhaps a pie from The Food Florist or cheesecake from Grandma Apples Cheesecakes. Tiramisu from Giovani Fresco is some of the best you’ll try, and baklava from Euro Delicacies is authentic and sweetened with local honey. Dickinson’s Delight’s Nutella crepes are filled with seasonal fruit and make for a decadent and gooey dessert that could be eaten for breakfast.
Looking for gluten-free or dairy-free options? Farmers’ market vendors have those too.
What about the unique chocolate craving that we all succumb to? Saratoga Chocolate Company has a variety of handmade cocoa creations to satisfy that specific desire that must be met.
The next time you’re shopping at the farmers’ market, make time for something on the sweeter side. You’ll be glad you did.
For this week’s recipe, I leave you with chocolate chip zucchini muffins. They are cake-like, sweet, and satisfying with a healthy touch.
The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is 3-6 p.m. Wednesdays and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays at High Rock Park. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Early September is a time of abundance at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market: Summer squashes, tomatoes, and eggplants are plentiful. Fruits such as peaches, plums, cantaloupes, and watermelons are just coming in. The harder shelled delicata, acorn, and spaghetti squashes are making their first appearances, giving market goers much to choose from.
With the choices come questions of sweetness and ripeness: Which tomato is sweetest? Will that watermelon be red and juicy when cut, or green and bitter?
There are no easy answers, as one only knows the true taste of such items when they’ve been cut open. And many traditional methods of testing summer produce for ripeness like knocking on melons or squeezing tomatoes are unreliable and potentially damaging.
However, there are a few tricks to determining ripeness.
“Color, feel, and smell,” says Paul Moyer, of Old World Farm, which brings nearly 50 varieties of tomatoes to market. Moyer picks up a tomato and holds it, “like you would hold a baby or a fragile item that might easily break.” He recommends looking for uniformity in color, touching it very gently for firmness, and smelling it at the base. Similar principles apply to eggplants.
Soft skinned zucchini and summer squash should be firm but not hard and unblemished. They will spoil quickly so are best used soon after purchase. Harder skinned winter squashes, however, will continue to ripen after harvest and often gain sweetness with time.
Farmers harvest some fruits before they reach full ripeness such as peaches or plums to avoid spoilage. They might be rock hard at market but will soften within a few days if kept in a bowl on a counter away from the sun.
That practice differs, however, for melons, which will remain ripe if picked ripe but will be hard and bitter if harvested too soon, says Ryan Holub, of Scotch Ridge Trees & Berries. Scotch Ridge sells berries in the summer and fall, and seedlings for backyard gardens in spring. Among its offerings this year were watermelon plants, which are producing melons now.
“If it twists off the stem easily, it’s ready,” Holub says, adding that a melon picked too soon has little chance of ripening once off the vine.
The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is 3-6 p.m. Wednesdays and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays at High Rock Park. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is a great opportunity to meet up with others as you shop for the week. If you spend enough time at the market, you will start to see the sense of community that vendors share with each other as well as their customers. When shopping for ingredients to fill her ravioli, Mangiamo’s Rose Contadino stops by Halls Pond Farm, the produce vendor five steps from her stall. Meanwhile, Armin and Zinta Hrelja of Euro Delicacies use apples from Saratoga Apple for their apple strudel.
The vendors not only support each other but also the community. At the end of the Wednesday and Saturday markets, Squashville Farm’s Himanee Gupta-Carlson goes around to vendors to collect donations for the Franklin Community Center’s food pantry. Gupta-Carlson also coordinates a garden for the pantry. Meanwhile, Jim Gupta-Carlson facilitates the market’s compost collection program.
The market is a strong advocate of the Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program, which distributes $4 coupons for produce to lower-income seniors and others, as well as the Fresh Connect program that provides SNAP recipients an additional $2 for every $5 of EBT tokens purchased at the market.
The market also connects with the community in other ways. Through a partnership with the Bicycle Benefits program, market-goers can purchase a $5 sticker and take advantage of discounts at local businesses. This is part of an effort to encourage the use of bicycles as a source of transportation through the incentive of discounts at local businesses if you show your sticker and that you biked to their location. At the market, participants in the Bicycle Benefits program receive a $2 token to purchase produce or other items.
The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is 3-6 p.m. Wednesdays and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays at High Rock Park. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for updates.
Carrots, turnips, & beets.
These are the everyday root vegetables at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market that we eat year-round. However, at this time of year, as summer harvests hit their peak, they shine. They come to market fresh from our area’s farm fields, often with their stems attached. These stems are not only pretty to look at but are edible, too.
Farmers harvest root vegetables by pulling them from the stem. These stems add nutrition and flavor to summer meals, not to mention value to your market purchases. The leafy greens of beets, turnips, and carrots are all sources of vitamin A, vitamin C, and fiber. Here are a few tips for getting started:
Carrot tops. Clip off the green feathery tops. Wash them well and rinse them a couple of times to remove excess dirt. Select the greenest and most tender tips of the bunch and add them to soups, stocks, or to vegetables you might be roasting or braising for the night’s meal. They taste somewhat like parsley but add a distinct carrot-y flavor.
Turnip greens. The leafy greens that top Hakurei and other white summer turnips can make a pleasantly spiced appetizer when cooked by themselves. After removing the greens, wash them well and discard any yellowed or wilted leaves. To cook, chop the greens finely, and heat up a skillet. Add a pinch of salt, pepper, freshly chopped garlic, fennel seed, coriander, cumin and/or fenugreek. Toast the spices for a minute or so, then add the turnip greens. Toss them quickly in the hot pan with tongs or two wooden spoons so that they are mixed into the spices. Once the greens have wilted, serve them with a squeeze of lemon and your favorite beverage.
Beet greens. These leaves along with their ruby-red stems have a rich flavor that is sometimes even more intense than the beets. After a good wash to remove grit, the younger leaves are delicious steamed or chopped finely for salads. Save the older leaves for stir-fries or saute them with olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper.
Other stems also can yield delicious dishes. Try, for instance, adding the stems of basil, parsley, or cilantro to soups or to stocks. Or save them and use in pesto. (See accompanying recipe).
The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is 3-6 p.m. Wednesdays and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays at High Rock Park. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Warm scents of turmeric, cardamom, and chili draw visitors to the Daily Fresh tent at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market. Sneha Narayanan and Sathya Raghavan await with smiles, answers to questions, and recommendations as to what to order. They are immigrants from India who share the foods of their homeland via “the lunchbox.”
Daily Fresh is the market’s newest vendor. Narayanan and Raghavan joined June 2. It did not take them long to attract a crowd.
Their “lunchbox” includes a vegetarian protein, pulao (rice cooked with spices and vegetables), a vegetable, and a flatbread known as chapati. For an extra dollar, they’ll add a fruit custard made with a mango puree.
“We are known on Instagram as ‘the curry couple,’” says Raghavan.
Narayanan and Raghavan come from the south Indian city of Chennai. They grew up in vegetarian households and promote Daily Fresh as an opportunity to enjoy a fully balanced vegetarian and/or vegan Indian food experience.
Daily Fresh began with Narayanan’s passion for cooking. While her husband was pursuing a doctorate in mechanical engineering, she began experimenting with family recipes and foods she found through blogs and her travels around different parts of India. In 2012, she started her own blog called Cooking with Sneha. Friends and her husband encouraged her to share not just recipes but also the actual food from the kitchen.
In late spring, Narayan proposed bringing Daily Fresh to the Saratoga Farmers’ Market. Emily Meagher, market manager, realized that freshly prepared vegetarian and vegan foods would fill a need for many market-goers, and encouraged them to join the Saturday market.
While the business stemmed from Narayanan’s passion, Daily Fresh has been a team effort. Narayanan procures ingredients, cooks, and writes. Raghavan manages the business’s website, organizes licensing permits, and takes pictures. Together, the couple plan menus and care for their two children. Sathya works full time during the week. Sneha wakes up at 2:30 a.m. to get to the commercial kitchen where she prepares their foods fresh for their office deliveries and the Saturday market.
This might sound exhausting, but for Narayanan and Raghavan it is fuel for passion.
A bouquet of cut flowers will brighten a room and the mood of anyone who lays eyes on them.
“It is easy to talk about local and seasonal food, but it is very exciting to see people turning on to flowers again, reclaiming a local craft that essentially skipped a generation since trade policy put flower farmers out of business in the early eighties” muses Robin Holland. Holland is the owner of Goode Farm, a flower and specialty vegetable farm located in Ballston Spa.
Goode Farm is shaking up the local flower business with their unique Flower Club subscription service, in which members get six centerpiece arrangements whenever they want them throughout the course of the season. “Designing with honest materials and their innate surprises and quirks has always been a constant fascination. I was never drawn to flower design until, in my attempts to landscape, I found myself surrounded by healthy and fragrant flowers, coordinated and in balance with season and place.” Several market vendors offering a selection of cut flowers graciously offered tips for choosing the stems, arranging, and preserving freshness for days on end.
“My favorite flowers change as the seasons change,” says Suzanne Haight of Balet Flowers & Design. In the spring, peonies are stunning in bouquets and have an amazing fragrance. In summer, my favorites are Sunflowers and Zinnias for bright colors. In fall, Gomphrena and Hydrangea, fresh or dried. Succulents and Narcissus in winter, for their texture and because they can still be forced as a cut flower.” Haight also suggests Snapdragons, named for their resemblance to a dragons head when the sides of the flower are pushed together. Another aptly named flower, Chelone or “Turtlehead” is unique for its turtle shape and native origin in eastern North America. Both are whimsical and especially fun for children.
“Fillers or accents for bouquets are what steals the show,” says Erin Luciani of Lot 32 Flower Farm. Luciani gravitates towards Scabiosa or Scabiosa Seed Pods, Gomphrena, Poppy Pods, and Ammi, otherwise known as False Queen Anne’s Lace. If arranging a full bouquet seems intimidating, Debbie Stevens of Butternut Ridge Farm suggests sticking with Sunflowers. “They speak for themselves,” says Stevens. “Just intermingle the dark-colored with the light-colored, and you’re set.”
When asked for the best way to keep flowers looking fresh, one tip was widely agreed upon. “You should change the water every other day, if not every day,” says Burger Farm’s Andy Burger. “Not many people think to do that, but it’s important to prevent the stems from deteriorating.”
The type or quality of the water can also play a role in flower longevity. “Zinnias do not like city water, but Sunflowers and Gladiolas don’t mind it,” says Linda Gifford of Gifford Farms. “If you have city water, use distilled or filtered water instead.”
“Recut the stems at an angle, underwater if possible for maximum absorption,” adds Haight from Balet Flowers & Design. “Also, place flowers in a preservative solution such as two drops of bleach, two drops of vinegar and one tablespoon of sugar.”
Wednesday Cut Flower Vendors:
- Butternut Ridge Farm
- Burger’s Market Garden
- Goode Farm
- Gifford Farms
- Pleasant Valley Farm
- Saratoga Apple
- Scotch Ridge Farm
Saturday Cut Flower Vendors:
- Balet Flowers & Design, LC
- Burger’s Market Garden
- Clark Dahlia Gardens & Greenhouses
- Lot 32 Flower Farm
- Kokinda Farm
- Pleasant Valley Farm
- Saratoga Apple
- Scotch Ridge Farm
The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is 3-6 p.m. Wednesdays and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays at High Rock. Follow on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
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.