Displaying items by tag: Saratoga Farmers' Market

Top quality local restaurants give huge compliments to many Saratoga Farmers’ Market vendors by using their products. Vendors make sure they also have plenty of products for the Market.

Kelley Hillis, from Puckers Gourmet, explained that Saratoga Springs restaurants approached them for their pickles. They sell Kim Chi and Pak Dong to Thorn and Roots at the Fresh Market Plaza, and five-gallon pails of Kim Chi to the Kraverie on Beekman Street. Their pickles have won several awards, including first place at the International Rosendale Pickle Festival.

Amy Smith from Saratoga Arms BnB was the first to approached Elihu Farm for their eggs. In addition, The Mouzon House uses their eggs, as well as lamb. In June, Mouzon bought several boneless butterflied legs of lamb. Elihu Farm also sells lamb to Amuse on Broadway, and eggs to 15 Church, Adelphi Hotel, Comfort Kitchen, and Whole Harvest.

The Mouzon House, a Farm to Table restaurant, buys products from many farms. Dave Pedinotti said they use vegetables from Gomez Veggie Ville, including their heirloom tomatoes for Capreses. Mouzon also uses Gomez’s strawberries for “Strawberry Rhubarb Sparkler” cocktail.

Dave and Marge Randles, from the award-winning Argyle Cheese Farmer, sell their yogurt to Dizzy Chicken Barbecue in Saratoga, cheese curds to Northway Brewing in Queensbury, buttermilk to Common Roots Brewing Company in South Glens Falls, and Unified Beer Works’ café in Malta.

Nettle Meadow Farm, based in Thurman, makes cheese from milk from goats, sheep, and cows. Their varieties have won many awards, especially in 2018 and 2020 from the Good Food Foundation for Kunik. That award was special for Sheila Flanagan and Lorraine Lambiase because the Foundation also considers care for animals, the environment, and staff. Distributors send their cheese to all states, except Alaska.

Another vegetable farmer, Leaning Birch Farm, sells to Hamlet & Ghost in Saratoga. Nic Fera said they use their salad mix, pea shoots and tomatoes. Bobby Chandler noted that Mariaville Mushroom Men sells to Jack’s Oyster House in Albany, and Common Roots. And Laurie Kokinda sells Kokinda Farm’s French beans to Lake Ridge Restaurant in Round Lake.

The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is open Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at High Rock Park. And on Wednesdays from 3 to 6 p.m. also at High Rock Park. Find us online at saratogafarmersmarket.org and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.  

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Published in Food

“All life begins with mother. Mother Earth gave birth to us all, and it is our responsibility to take care of her.”

These words from Lovin’ Mama Farm owners Corinne Hansch and Matthew Leon, explain why they farm. Using organic and regenerative methods to grow food helps heal the earth and represents farming as stewardship. 

Lovin’ Mama joined the Saratoga Farmers’ Market this year and offers Certified Organic vegetables, microgreens, herbs, and cut flowers each Saturday. 

Hansch and Leon use no-till methods that have given their soil resilience amid climate change. “We lay down a thick layer of our compost/peat moss mix right on top of the bed, then plant right into that,” they explain. “The worm activity is just amazing, the thick layer of compost suppresses weeds, and the plants go crazy with growth.”

Without tillage, they explain, soil aggregates form, enabling the holding and acceptance of water. Soil neither dries out in times of drought nor floods during heavy rains. 

Hansch grew up with parents who were market gardeners. She worked on farms along the West Coast and studied biology. Leon grew up in New York City and studied agricultural ecology. He was more a lover of the outdoors than of farming – until he met Hansch.

Their love story began in a permaculture course. There, they saw how sustainable farming could create solutions in “a world troubled with environmental disasters and social inequalities.” For Hansch, farming linked gardening with positive change. For Leon, farming enabled an intersection between nature, the outdoors, and a basic need for food.

They started Lovin’ Mama in northern California, regenerating an abandoned field with plantings of such perennials as fruit trees, berries, and asparagus. Then, a blow came: The landowner terminated their lease, leaving them homeless and their hearts broken.

For farmers like Hansch and Leon, losing land is like losing a loved one. However, when Leon’s father offered them space to farm land he owned in Amsterdam, they knew they could begin anew. 

In New York, they have built a network of CSA subscribers, market goers, employees, and family. Leon’s parents offer child care and other support; a niece manages one of their farmers’ markets, and their children – Sam, 15; Oak, 13; and Rosemary, 9 – are skilled, trustworthy workers who grew up with the farm, love it, and know it intuitively. 

The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is open Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Wilton Mall and Wednesdays from 3 to 6 p.m. at High Rock Park.  Find us online at saratogafarmersmarket.org and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

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Published in Food
Thursday, 01 July 2021 13:28

Cooking Fresh and Flavorful Summer Meals

At home, when the weather gets hot, we often turn to cool meals and eat al fresco outside on the patio. It’s time for hearty summer salads, refreshing chilled soups, cold drinks and smoothies, and grilling flavorful fish, seafood, meat, and poultry.

Summer eating becomes a way to connect with our immediate environment and the seasons - a ritual that we savor in Upstate New York. For inspiration, Diane Whitten, Food and Nutrition Educator for Cornell Cooperative Extension in Saratoga County, reminds us that fresh food is the best food. “In the summer, it’s so much easier to eat healthy with fresh produce,” says Whitten. “At the farmers’ market, the produce is so fresh and flavorful that it calls out to you. You can’t get it any fresher,” she adds.

Produce sold at the farmers’ market is harvested sometimes within hours of being placed on market tables and sold to customers. “Because it’s so fresh, fruits, vegetables, and herbs are flavorful on their own with little added ingredients,” explains Whitten.

In following the farmers’ market tradition of eating fresh, Diane Whitten shares three of her favorite in-season summer recipes: chilled cucumber soup, green peanut butter and banana smoothie, and sesame snow peas. These recipes feature in-season ingredients available at this week’s markets.

The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is open Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Wilton Mall and Wednesdays from 3 to 6 p.m. at High Rock Park.  Find us online at saratogafarmersmarket.org and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

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Published in Food

School’s out for summer! That means a few months of family fun, relaxing, and, well... boredom. The Saratoga Farmers’ Market’s Power of Produce (POP) Club is here to keep local kids active and learning all summer long with educational activities, interactions with their local farmers, and challenges to try fresh market produce to get even the pickiest eaters to try new fruits and veggies.

This year’s POP Club, now in its 6th season, will run June 30 through September 1, every Wednesday at the High Rock Park market. Children may show up any time between 3-6 p.m. to participate in a fun, educational activity. Every week’s activity will be hosted by a community guest, including the Saratoga Springs Public Library, Cornell Cooperative Extension Food & Nutrition, Caffe Lena Music School, The Children’s Museum of Saratoga, Northern Rivers, and C.R.E.A.T.E. Community Studios. Children may participate in cooking demonstrations, scavenger hunts, crafts, gardening, and farmer meet and greet that provide nutrition and education. 

Children who participate are given a $2 POP coin to spend on fresh fruit and vegetables at the market, and they will earn a stamp in their POP Passport - four stamps earn them a prize. Buying produce with a POP coin gives kids the opportunity to meet farmers, learn money skills, and make smart food choices. “It’s great to see kids as young as kindergarteners come up to our stand, excited to shop for themselves. Especially when that week’s POP tasting has been a fruit or vegetable they hadn’t tried before but realize they like, and then spend their token to get more,” says Mark Bascom, owner of Owl Wood Farm and the market association’s president.

POP Club is open to all local children but is especially geared toward those aged 5-12. It is a free program, made possible through the generous support of the Christopher Dailey Foundation and the Adirondack Trust Company.

On Wednesday, July 7, 3-6 p.m., don’t miss POP Club at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market’s ‘End of School Celebration.’ This free family event will offer activities for children of all ages and a concert by Jack and Steve Zucchini (formerly of The Zucchini Brothers)!

The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is open Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Wilton Mall and Wednesdays from 3 to 6 p.m. at High Rock Park.  Find us online at saratogafarmersmarket.org and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

FM KentuckyKissCocktail

Published in Food
Thursday, 17 June 2021 14:44

A Fresher Way to Get through the Week

Weekend farmers’ markets are a great way to unwind from the week, spend time with family and friends, and stock your fridge for the week ahead. But there’s no need to wait until the weekend to do this - the Saratoga Farmers’ Market’s midweek market, rain or shine, on Wednesdays, 3-6 pm, offers a way to get the freshest foods - usually picked off the land the day before or even that morning.

This year’s return of the midweek market to downtown Saratoga in High Rock Park offers a more intimate, slower-paced alternative to the Saturday markets. Product offerings include fresh produce, plants and flowers, eggs, baked goods, prepared foods, tool sharpening services, and more.

Vendors appreciate the market’s different characteristics. “Midweek markets are a great opportunity for farmers since it provides a platform to sell your freshest products that otherwise might not make it to the weekend,” says Charles Holub, owner of Scotch Ridge Berry & Tree Farm. He notes that since his farm doesn’t use pesticides or herbicides, they must pick berries every other day to avoid critters. “And naturally grown fruit doesn’t keep long after picking - just a day or two - so these midweek markets let us sell more of our product,” Holub adds.

For customers, the smaller size of the Wednesday market is a draw, especially this year. “Many customers prefer the smaller crowds - plus it makes it easier to have more meaningful personal interactions with customers,” says Becky Dennison of Shushan Valley Hydro Farms. “Since there’s less traffic, products don’t sell out as quickly, and there’s not such a rush for customers to get to the market. The atmosphere is very laid back,” adds Charles Holub.

A family-friendly affair, this season’s Wednesday 

markets will offer the Power of Produce Club with themed activities for children of all ages (running June 30th through September 1). Market-goers can also expect weekly live music and community guests (including the Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Master Gardeners offering gardening tips and soil testing every third Wednesday of the month). Also, on Wednesday, July 21 and Wednesday, August 11, representatives from the Office for the Aging will hand out free Farmer’s Market Nutrition Program coupons to be spent on fruits and vegetables at the farmers’ market.

The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is open Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Wilton Mall and Wednesdays from 3 to 6 p.m. at High Rock Park.  Find us online at saratogafarmersmarket.org and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

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Published in Food

If you’re a regular customer at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market, you will likely recognize vendor Marcie Place standing behind her tables of neatly packaged white bakery boxes sporting mouthwatering labels like “Vanilla Ricotta Tea Biscuits” and “Pineapple Almond Teacake.” 

Place, owner of The Chocolate Spoon and long-time vendor of the Saratoga Farmers’ Market, brings her array of fresh baked goods every week to the Wednesday and Saturday markets. The secret to her success in baking? Using fresh, local ingredients from her fellow vendors at the farmers’ market. 

“I use eggs from Elihu Farm, jam from Kokinda Farm, herbs from Burger’s Market Garden, vegetables from Owl Wood Farm and Gomez Veggie Ville, berries from Scotch Ridge Berry Farm, apples from Saratoga Apple… Even the backyard herbs of Mister Edge, our knife sharpener, I use in my cocktail cookies!” 

Place says she finds the quality of local products superior and elevates the taste of her baked goods. She’s even put it to the test in front of a live audience. “I did a demonstration at an elementary school where I baked two sets of butter cookies: one using store-bought eggs versus one using eggs from Elihu Farm,” says Place. She explained that the cookies came out a beautiful golden color when using the fresh eggs from Mary and Bob Pratt of Elihu Farm. “Truly a difference you can both see and taste, and the kids agreed!” Place notes. 

When she first started selling at the farmers’ market, Place admits her baked goods were pretty traditional. However, the seasonal products at the market inspired her to start experimenting more with her recipes and incorporate fresh ingredients for unique flavor combinations. She says farmers’ market customers are very helpful in recommending new recipes, and she is always open to suggestions. For example, she recently stumbled upon pineapple sage at the market and decided to pair it with coconut for a new shortbread cookie.

When asked what customers will have to look forward to this month, Place reveals: “Rhubarb and berries are coming back in season right now, so expect lots of strawberry rhubarb pies and blueberry and strawberry muffins!”

The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is open Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Wilton Mall and Wednesdays from 3 to 6 p.m. at High Rock Park.  Find us online at saratogafarmersmarket.org and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

FM KentuckyKissCocktail

Published in Food
Thursday, 03 June 2021 14:14

Leaning into Farming

It’s about an hour before sunset. A truckload of deep brown compost has just arrived at Leaning Birch Farm. It sits in a heap near the garden beds and high tunnels that Dan and Rose Fera began putting in their backyard five years ago. 

Nic, their son, greets me as I pull up, but his focus is on the compost. A former coffeeshop worker and musician, he pays close attention to the aesthetics – the color, the texture, the smell. He thrusts his arms deep into the heap and pulls out a handful. He forms a ball and lets its crumble through his palms back into the pile. He then buries his nose into a handful, savoring its smell.

Leaning Birch Farm is among several new produce vendors at this year’s Saratoga Farmers’ Market. The Feras grow dozens of varieties of vegetables in approximately 1.5 acres of space. They use intensive, high-yield planting techniques to maximize their space, which as Nic notes, teaches that “you don’t need a lot of land to make a decent living.”

Nic grew up in Saratoga Springs, where his parents were renters. Dan restored violins and Rose worked as a clinical director for a special education school. All three had a flair for art and a fondness for fresh food. Nic began playing music at coffeeshops, and ultimately worked in the business himself.

Dan and Rose had a garden and relatively low rent. Still, they yearned to build equity by doing something they loved. That desire led them to purchase a house in Broadalbin. The house came with a yard filled with good soil and abutted a pond. It also came with a mortgage that was nearly twice the monthly amount they had been paying in rent. 

Dan had a plan: Pay the mortgage with garlic.

“I had heard somewhere that you could make $40,000 a year on an acre of garlic,” he said with a laugh.

Garlic as a sole moneymaker never materialized, but the idea helped the Feras see the hunger for fresh local foods. They began selling to restaurants, via a farm stand, and through a CSA. About three years ago, they joined their first farmers’ market, and now sell at markets in Schenectady, Glens Falls, and Saratoga.

“It’s a cool feeling to realize how many other people also are sitting down to dinner, eating our vegetables,” adds Rose. “We’re not just taking care of ourselves but our community, too.” 

The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is open Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Wilton Mall and Wednesdays from 3 to 6 p.m. at High Rock Park.Find us online at saratogafarmersmarket.org and follow us on Facebook and Instagram. 

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Published in Food

This weekend, we honor the people who are no longer with us who have fought to keep our country free and safe. Food will be the centerpiece as we safely come together for family gatherings and parades or to visit cemeteries or memorials. Memorial Day envokes eating outdoors, grilling, and traditional summer recipes with a farmers’ market spin.

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Published in Food
Thursday, 20 May 2021 16:37

Smart Gardening With Starter Plants

With spring’s last projected frost date safely behind us, gardening enthusiasts take out their trowels and prepare garden plots for planting. But if you’re new to gardening, the process may seem overwhelming. We spoke with Susan Beebe, Assistant Director/Agriculture Issue Leader of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Saratoga County, to understand the basics of gardening with starter plants.

To begin, determine where you would like to plant. Perhaps you have space for a garden or raised beds in your yard, or maybe planting in containers seems more feasible.

If planting in the ground, Susan Beebe explains that the first and most crucial step is to determine the pH of your soil. “Soil pH is important because it will help you prepare to plant your garden,” explains Beebe. To collect a soil sample, walk through the area that you would like to plant and collect soil samples from various places. Dig 3” to 8” deep and scoop about ½ cup of soil into a clean container. Soil samples may be brought to Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Master Gardener table at the farmers’ market on the third Wednesday of every month or directly to their office.

If planting in raised beds, Beebe recommends combining potting soil and compost to hold water and prevent moisture from draining out. “Soil is alive and full of microorganisms that plants need to survive,” says Beebe. “Adding green manure, compost, or even a cover crop can keep soil healthy while planting in raised beds.”

If planting in containers, Beebe advises using soilless mixes rather than potting soil. “A benefit to the soilless mixes is that they are much lighter than potting soil and allow you to move your containers around. The counterpart is that these mixes have a tendency to dry out, so depending on the location, you may have to water your containers more,” explains Beebe.

Once your soil is ready, it’s time to buy plants. Several vendors offer various herbs, fruit, and vegetable starter plants at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market. These plants are typically several weeks old and have been nurtured through the most delicate early stages of growth by professional growers in a greenhouse. If you have questions about what to plant, ask the growers: Balet Flowers & Design, Burger’s MarketGarden, Gomez Veggie Ville, Green Jeans Market Farm, Leaning Birch, and Old Tavern Farm.

Now it’s time to plant. Once you’ve popped the first plant out of the container, pull the roots apart with your hands gently; you can look to see how tightly wound the roots are. “You need to pull the roots apart with your hands gently,” Susan Beebe instructs. “You may even use a little knife to break the roots because the goal is to stop their circling motion so that they can spread into the ground,” she adds. When planting, maintain the level it was grown at rather than planting deeper. “The only exception is leggy tomato plants that you can bury deeper,” says Beebe.

Once your starters are planted, water generously and ensure 6+ hours of sunlight a day. Some leafy crops like spinach can thrive with less sun; however, vegetables like carrots, beets, and peppers need 6+ hours a day.

Fruit and vegetables thrive and produce more with light fertilizing at planting. The appropriate fertilizer depends on how you’re growing and what your growing. Beebe recommends side-dressing again with fertilizer 2-3 weeks after planting to ensure healthy, productive plants.

With your new garden well underway, Beebe has some takeaway points. “You need trial and error, so don’t be scared by anything. And each year try something you haven’t tried before. It’s not always going to work, but you will continue to learn.”

The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is open Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Wilton Mall and Wednesdays from 3 to 6 p.m. at High Rock Park.  Find us online at saratogafarmersmarket.org and follow us on Facebook and Instagram. For online pre-ordering and curbside pickup, visit localline.ca/saratoga-farmers-market.

Published in Food
Thursday, 13 May 2021 14:55

Get to Know Greens at the Farmers’ Market

Spring is finally bringing warmer weather and with it an abundance of much-anticipated seasonal produce to the Saratoga Farmers’ Market. Greens, in many forms, including perennials, hearty cold-weather crops, and greenhouse-grown, have been catching our eye, and we invite you to try some fresh new flavors of the season.

Several farms at the Wednesday and Saturday farmers’ markets offer varieties of greens. This includes red romaine, baby spinach, radicchio, green romaine, red leaf, arugula, mustard greens, red chard, and tatsoi. These greens offer distinct fresh flavors and textures, and they are high in nutritional value, too. Depending on the green, some may be cooked, wilted, or enjoyed fresh as a salad. 

Vibrant sunflower and sweet pea shoots are available at Leaning Birch Farm on Saturdays. Pea shoots have the sweet, grassy flavor of snap peas with a refreshing crunch, and sunflower shoots have a nutty taste with a similar crisp bite. According to Nic Fera of Leaning Birch Farm, both are a year-round crop for their farm. “They are great to add a little fresh accent to dishes,” says Fera. 

Capital Greens NY brings varieties of microgreens to the Saturday farmers’ market, including the mixes like their Signature Gourmet, Thai Basil, and Gourmet Fiesta. Microgreens are young vegetable greens packed with nutrients and are easy to incorporate into many dishes or used as a garnish. Try them on sandwiches, in salads, on pizza, or blend them into a smoothie. 

If you’re a fan of fiddleheads, stop by Ramble Creek Farm this month while they’re in season. Fiddleheads are young shoots that grow from the ostrich fern, and with a very narrow harvest season, you can only enjoy these shoots in the early spring from around late April to early June. With a nutty and sweet flavor reminiscent of asparagus, fiddleheads may be steamed, braised, or sauteed, as they contain a trace amount of a toxin and cannot be consumed raw. 

This week, we encourage you to try something new, whether it be a new product or shopping with a new vendor at the Wednesday or Saturday markets.

The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is open Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Wilton Mall and Wednesdays from 3 to 6 p.m. at High Rock Park.  Find us online at saratogafarmersmarket.org and follow us on Facebook and Instagram. For online pre-ordering and curbside pickup, visit localline.ca/saratoga-farmers-market.

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Published in Food
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