Displaying items by tag: Saratoga Farmers' Market

Tuesday, 14 January 2020 15:58

Hanging out at the Mall with Farmers

Perhaps you (or your children) remember when life was all about the mall. Shopping, eating, watching movies, meeting up with friends.

The mall was where it was at from the 1970s through the late 1990s. Malls were a key focal point of public life. Like downtowns across the United States, malls brought people together by offering us the things we love: food, entertainment, things to buy. They gave us space to walk, to sit, to read, to browse, to eat, and to shop.

Online shopping and Internet marketing changed our buying habits in the early years of the 21st century. Malls and their traditional retail anchors struggled as a result. The loss of two retail anchors – Sears and the Bon Ton – along with the closing of such popular stores as Forever 21 and Charlotte Russe at the Wilton Mall are signs of that struggle.

Farmers markets meanwhile have proliferated, as Americans have begun to seek healthy foods grown, raised, and made locally. The crowds that throng High Rock Park on Saturdays in the summers for Saratoga’s oldest and most established farmers’ market are evidence of that.

Now, the market and the mall are joining forces. During this holiday season and into the winter, the Wilton Mall will host the Saratoga Farmers’ Market for its indoor season. The market moves indoors on Saturday, November 2, and will operate at the mall from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. each Saturday through April.

The partnership marks a transformation for both the market and the mall.

The Saratoga Farmers’ Market was established in 1978, as a summer outdoor market. It evolved into a year-round market in the late 1990s, and currently offers produce, meats, eggs, artisanal cheeses, milk, and a wide array of prepared foods and crafts throughout the winter.

But the market, like the mall, has had its share of struggles, particularly in establishing a home for its winter season. As Sandy Arnold of the market’s Pleasant Valley Farm recounts, the market began its winter season first at the Waldorf School, then the Salvation Army building in downtown Saratoga. It quickly outgrew the space at the Salvation Army and moved to the Division Street Elementary School in 2009. School rules prevented the market from staying at that locale, so it moved in the winter of 2013 to the Lincoln Baths Building at the Saratoga Spa State Park where it operated until last spring. Each of these locales presented challenges in terms of vendor space, accessibility, and parking.

The mall changes that. 

“A bus travels twice an hour from downtown Saratoga, Skidmore, and points in between to the market entrance,” says Emily Meagher, market manager. “Entrances and restrooms all are handicapped accessible, and there’s free WI-FI provided by the mall, as well.”

Mike Schaffer, manager of the Wilton Mall, noted that while malls and markets often appear quite different from one another, they also can be quite complementary. “The market board approached us because they needed space,” he said. “We have available space and are thrilled to have them here for the season.”

To visit the Saratoga Farmers’ Market during the holiday season, drive up Route 50 to the mall, or take the bus. Pull in or disembark near the main entrance. From 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., you will find Christmas trees, wreaths, and kissing balls from Charles Holub of Scotch Ridge Farm arranged artfully on the lawn outside. Nearby will be Trish Nusbaum’s Food Florist truck and wood-fired pizza from a new vendor. Enter the doors and a bounty of fresh seasonal vegetables, eggs, meats, milk, prepared foods, and other locally grown, raised and made items await.

The market stretches between the DMV to the reflecting pool near Bath & Body Works, with vendor stalls weaving in and out of such mall retailers as the Shoe Depot, American Eagle Outfitters, Kay Jewelers, and Balsam & Birch Adirondack Accessories. Hot dishes will be available for onsite eating or take-out from Euro Delicacies, Daily Fresh, Petra Pocket Pies, Giovanni Fresco, and many others. 

Skylights bring natural light to the vendor tables. In between are chairs and tables, free Wi-Fi, and an opportunity to also shop at Healthy Living Market, which already offers products from many Saratoga farmers. Both the mall and the market are looking forward to creating joint activities with the market through the winter.

“It will be a different experience for the market and for our loyal base of customers,” says market board president Beth Trattel. “But it’s giving us the opportunity to work with the mall to repurpose community space and create something new.” 

Published in News
Thursday, 09 January 2020 11:53

Creating a Menu at the Market

Those who frequent the Saratoga Farmers’ Market know it’s a special space. For four hours, shoppers, farmers, other vendors, and volunteers come together to talk food, shop and sell, and bop to the music of the week. The energy is electric, and the food is beautiful. We go home a bit tired but with our taste buds alive, eager to cook and eat. 

And sometimes you arrive and discover your favorite vendor has sold out of eggs. Beef stew meat or pork chops are unavailable on that particular day. Vendors have onions but not scallions. Fresh greens, particularly in the winter months, are scarce. 

In some ways, this unpredictability makes the market what it is. When farmers and other vendors bring to market foods that they themselves grow, raise or make, availability will vary from week-to-week, and certainly by season. The market cannot offer everything, but it can assure customers that our food has not traveled 1,500 miles to reach its destination – which is an average computed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for produce offered at grocery stores. Our foods are locally grown, raised, or made, and it is fresh.

How does one learn to navigate the unpredictability to take advantage of foods that are local and fresh?

One answer is to throw away the shopping list. Come to the Saratoga Farmers’ Market instead with a blank sheet. Browse what’s available, talk with farmers – the ultimate foodies—and make your meals plans for the week. Set a goal perhaps of trying a new item every week, knowing that full meals can be built with what we offer.

Sound ambitious? We’ll help. Starting tomorrow, we will be in a more open space in the Wilton Mall, moving from the walkway between the Department of Motor Vehicles and Bath & Body Works to the food court. Find us and look then for a white board near the market information table. On it will be a recipe based on ingredients one of our vendors or volunteers found a few minutes before the market’s opening. Take a look, snap a photo with your cell phone, and shop. Give the recipe a try and share your results.

The Saratoga Farmers Market is 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Saturdays in the food court of the Wilton Mall. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for previews of what’s fresh. 

FM SweetPotatoFries

Published in Food

Farmers lived sustainable lives long before climate change became a pressing issue. Members of multi-generation farm families tell stories of how nothing went to waste. Bones from a roast chicken became broth; food scraps from meals were turned into compost; old storage bins were repurposed to create walking paths or signposts.

Sustainability is gaining a new meaning in 2020 for farmers, the Saratoga Farmers’ Market, and all of us. Beginning March 1, a statewide ban on the distribution of single-use plastic bags at retail outlets takes effect. Farmers and other vendors at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market will no longer be able to offer such bags as a convenience to market shoppers, though certain items such as bags for storing meats and produce are exempt. 

The market has been preparing for several months with information tables and market tote bags available for a nominal fee. Vendors have been reducing their supplies of plastic bags, replacing them with those made of paper or other materials. 

We invite you to help us make the market more sustainable. Here are a few ideas:

• Bring your own bags. Washable mesh or net bags made of recycled plastic offer an easy-to-carry means of storing such items as leeks and greens. 

• Forgo bags altogether, if you can. This might not be possible for fragile items such as pea shoots or salad greens. But it’s do-able for carrots, turnips, cabbage, apples, and other items that are featured in the market’s winter months. Foods such as fish and fresh pasta also can be placed upon purchase in storage containers you bring from home.

• Return such items as egg cartons or glass jars to vendors for reuse. Vendors who sell eggs, cheeses, pickles, jams, corn, milk, yogurt, and other foods appreciate such returns as it helps reduce the costs incurred in obtaining these items.

• If you eat at the market, consider bringing your own plate, bowl and silverware.

• Finally, shop the market for crafts items that can further make your lives more sustainable. Many crafts vendors offer coffee mugs, reusable egg crates, bowls, and boxes.

The Saratoga Farmers Market is 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Saturdays at the Wilton Mall. Find us between the DMV and Bath & Bodyworks tomorrow, and in our new location in the food court starting Jan. 11. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for updates.

FM WhateverSoup

Published in Food
Thursday, 19 December 2019 13:04

Christmas on the Farm

Opening boxes of holiday decorations, preparing festive seasonal foods, and gatherings with friends and family are some of the ways that we celebrate the holiday season. This time of year evokes different memories for all of us. This week, we look to our local farmers and producers as they share some of their favorite memories of Christmas on the farm.

“When we were kids, Christmas Eve was always our big dinner and presents,” shares Laurie Kokinda of Kokinda Farm and Laurie’s Jams and Jellies. “Christmas morning, we always saddled horses and went for a trail ride through Luther Forest. Back then, it was a single dirt road and especially beautiful if we got fresh snow.” 

Jim and Himanee Gupta-Carlson of Squashville Farm explain that many religious and cultural traditions have shaped their holiday festivities. Their move to the Upstate NY area and involvement in local farmers’ markets has also guided their holiday rituals. “We always get a fresh tree from Charles of Scotch Ridge Farm,” says Himanee Gupta-Carlson. “We celebrate the Feast of the Seven Fishes on Christmas Eve with seven (or sometimes more!) types of shellfish or fish from Pura Vida Fisheries, and we like to do purple potato latkes during Hanukkah and a roast duck on Christmas Day,” Gupta-Carlson adds. 

At Nettle Meadow Farm and animal sanctuary, Christmas is celebrated with a big holiday bash hosted by the farm owners for the employees. The farm’s annual party includes a feast, a secret Santa gift swap, games, and good conversation. Farmworker Sean Dean jokes that the farm’s geriatric rescue turkey has the safest home at the farm.

Nellie Lovenduski of Slate River Farm shares memories of family snowshoeing on the farm, taking chickens for rides in snow tubes, and ice skating on Ensign Brook.

Anna Mae Clark, a long-time market member and best known as ‘the jam lady,’ recalls memories of cookies and sweet treats throughout the Christmas season. “My mother made New Year’s cookies around Thanksgiving, and the cookies aged in a crock until they were ready to be devoured at Christmas festivities,” reminisces Clark. Baking her favorite sugar cookies, her grandmother’s oatmeal-raisin cookies, and her brother’s favorite chocolate chip cookies evoke her most meaningful holiday memories of time shared with family.

This holiday season, we encourage you to build traditions of your own. Perhaps by sharing a favorite recipe, shopping for your holiday feast at the farmers’ market, or simply spending time with loved ones -- which is where the true spirit of the season lays. 

The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is 9:30 a.m-1:30 p.m. at the Wilton Mall. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

FM BreakfastCasserole

Published in Food

Last week we showed you farmers’ market items that make great gifts for the holidays. This week, our guide to help you find great local gifts continues with what the farmers’ market does best: food!

The time leading up to Christmas can be stressful, with gifting opportunities left and right. First, there are stocking stuffers. These items are usually small, not too expensive, and should be shelf-stable. For a sweet item, try Slate Valley Farms’ miniature maple syrup containers, available in seasonal shapes like gingerbread men and log cabins. Or consider Saratoga Chocolate Co.’s chocolate Santas, peppermint bark, or truffles, for some indulgence. 

What about treating your pet a little too? Mugzy’s Barkery has seasonally decorated, bone-shaped peanut butter biscuits for your dog to enjoy.

Then comes Christmas morning, which always seems to arrive in the blink of an eye. Prepare by stocking up on local gifts from the farmers’ market any Saturday before Christmas. Several of our farms offer gift packages, such as Argyle Cheese Farmer’s cheese variety baskets, yogurt combos, and a set dubbed “The Argyle Mile” which is full of goodies made within one mile of their cheese house. Or give a gift that will last through the year with Argyle’s “Cheese of the Month Club” where the recipient will receive a locally made cheese every month.

Then comes Christmas dinner, and if someone else is hosting you, it might be nice to contribute a local food item to the feast. The farmers’ market has many great farms that sell meats such as fresh lamb, poultry, beef, and even more specialty meats like goat. Christmas time also brings even more selection to the market - how good does a local beef rib roast sound?! For after dinner, a bottle of local liquor will be welcomed by all. High Peaks Distilling, Yankee Distillers, and Springbrook Hollow Farm Distillery all offer a unique set of products ranging from whiskeys to gins to cordials.

A local product always feels that much more special as a holiday gift. Our 50+ vendors offer an abundance of fantastic items, sure to please no matter what your loved one’s taste. In addition, several of our vendors (as well as the farmers’ market as a whole) offer gift certificates.

The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is 9:30 a.m-1:30 p.m. at the Wilton Mall. CDTA routes 450 (Schenectady-Wilton) and 452 (Skidmore College-Wilton) offer regular Saturday bus service with many stops in Saratoga Springs (see cdta.org/routes-and-schedules). Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

FM MulledCider

Published in Food
Thursday, 05 December 2019 13:22

The Farmers’ Market Gift Guide

When searching for holiday gifts, come to Saratoga Farmers’ Market for unique products

At the Wilton Mall entrance, shop evergreens for your home or a gift, from Scotch Ridge Trees and Berries. Charles Holub noted, “We have farm fresh wreaths, kissing balls, door swags, and table top trees.”

He will take special orders for decoration, and you can fetch a fresh Christmas tree at his farm in Duanesburg. The balsam, blue spruce, and concolor fir trees are naturally grown.

Beth Trattel has been a foodie for a few decades. She worked at restaurants since she was 19, and ran Something’s Brewing coffee shop in Greenwich.

Now she does her own roasting. “Beans are extremely fresh, sustainably sourced; roasted and flavored in small batches. She’s offering ‘Gift Bags’ with toffee and two sampler bags of coffee. “The chocolate-nut toffee recipe is tweaked by adding maple syrup from Slate Valley Farms.” 

Mary Jane Pelzer, Saratoga Suds ‘n’ Stuff, is a third-generation soap maker. She’s created natural, homemade, handmade soap in small batches for 40 years. 

Her basic body bars come in a variety of “flavors” with natural essential oils for “good clean fun.” For holidays her soaps include winter-woods trees, snowmen soaps-on-a-rope. Children (and adults) will enjoy cupcake soaps and ducklings floating on soap. 

Gretchen Tisch’s life-time creativity is inspired by exploring the outdoors. Her handmade Feathered Antler products include stationery, jewelry, hand-knit scarves and hats, and clothing decorated with hand-painted antlers, moose, and trees. 

Her unique pet portraits are created from owners’ photographs. Gretchen said, “I can still take orders in time for Christmas.” She’s also offering hand-painted mugs and wooden Christmas tree ornaments.

Zoe Burghard learned to be a potter at Earthworks in New York City. Later, like many other market vendors she concluded, “I’ve learned by doing.” From the City, she and her family moved to Saratoga because they liked the different pace.

Today her functional and Raku pottery is all wheel thrown and all one of a kind. The functional includes vases, jewelry holders, cups, spoon rests, salt and pepper shakers and clever bowls. Raku pottery originated in Japan, and Zoe’s is beautifully decorative.

Terri Smith from the Weaving Tree Studio said they offer a variety of gifts, such as snowmen socks stuffed with rice, glittery glass, hand-painted bottles with battery operated lights. She said her most popular gifts are egg crates, decorated with amusing phrases. 

Big Breath Wellness makes jewelry, skin care, natural aroma therapy, and other gifts. Tierney Carey said their jewelry is “wearable art” with many stones from Columbia. They offer “Mommy, Daddy, and Me” jewelry sets. For “making holiday magic” they have handmade dream catchers, crowns and wands. 

Tierney and partner, Yadira Roman, offer gift baskets with three themes: empress relaxation, blue goddess self-love, and sleepy witch self-care. This Saturday they’re featuring special baskets for $20. 

The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is 9:30 a.m-1:30 p.m. at the Wilton Mall. CDTA routes 450 (Schenectady-Wilton) and 452 (Skidmore College-Wilton) offer regular Saturday bus service with many stops in Saratoga Springs (see cdta.org/routes-and-schedules). Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Published in Food

Since its original publication in 2002, the Saratoga Farmers’ Market Cookbook has existed on shelves as a piece of market history. The cookbook pays homage to the founding of the Saratoga Farmers’ Market in the late summer of 1978, when a small but determined group of vendors began selling in the Spring Street parking lot. It’s a treasure trove of favorites gathered from vendors and shoppers and written in their own voices, many of whom are still selling at or supporting the present-day market. 

Over the coming weeks, the cookbook will be digitized and posted on the Saratoga Farmers’ Market website (saratogafarmersmarket.org) for all to enjoy. In the meantime, here is a sneak preview in time for the holidays. Jars of pickled beets or loaves of onion and caraway bread could be made in larger batches for homemade gifts or enjoyed midwinter for a bit of cheer long after the festivities have passed.

The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is 9:30 a.m-1:30 p.m. at the Wilton Mall. CDTA routes 450 (Schenectady-Wilton) and 452 (Skidmore College-Wilton) offer regular Saturday bus service with many stops in Saratoga Springs (see cdta.org/routes-and-schedules). Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.



Published in Food
Thursday, 21 November 2019 14:01

Creatively Extending Thanksgiving Traditions

Thanksgiving is often defined by gathering with family and friends over an abundance of food. During this time, many of us lean heavily on traditions by preparing a family recipe or sharing an activity year after year. Traditions, however, are ever changing — perhaps you cannot make it home for Thanksgiving or a family member wants to start traditions of their own. What can you do to heighten, deepen, and extend Thanksgiving to its most memorable end? Here are some ideas from the Saratoga Farmers’ Market.

Make a memorable Thanksgiving with your children by getting them involved. 
Even the most simple prepared dish can be an engaging activity offering a sensory experience, bonding with a friend or family member, and perhaps even encouragement to try something new. We recommend baked apples, a recipe shared by Saratoga Apple and available on www.saratogafarmersmarket.org, or a vegetable tian which is a wonderful way to introduce basic cutting skills and creativity with arranging colorful vegetables.

Create a holiday centerpiece as a different way to contribute to the Thanksgiving table. 
Find inspiration in a palette of local items such as colorful winter quash, flowering kale, beeswax candles, unique pottery, and holiday greens. Items may be arranged by tiers or in a long row down the holiday table. Rely on your own creative instincts and enjoy decorating a festive gathering place.

Shop for holiday meal ingredients together at the Farmers Market. 
Eating together is at the heart of the family experience, which means shopping together is just as important. Enjoy time with family and friends by organizing a holiday menu and shopping for the items at the farmers’ market. The farmers’ market provides a community gathering place for a shopping experience that is social and fun.

Bring a little bit of everything to the holiday table on a cheese plate or charcuterie board. 
Whether presented as an appetizer or part of the holiday feast, a cheese plate or charcuterie board allows for a variety of foods to be piled high and enjoyed by all. Fermented vegetables, artisan bread, fresh fruit and vegetables, meats, and cheeses are just some of the items that can be used to create a unique spread that’s as visually stunning as it is delicious. 

The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is 9:30 a.m-1:30 p.m. at the Wilton Mall. CDTA routes 450 (Schenectady-Wilton) and 452 (Skidmore College-Wilton) offer regular Saturday bus service with many stops in Saratoga Springs (see cdta.org/routes-and-schedules). Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.



Published in Food

The days before Thanksgiving call up turkey, stuffing, gravy, casseroles, and pie – namely pumpkin pie.

Pie is delicious. But there are a wide variety of squashes, too: acorn, carnival, spaghetti, sweet dumpling, butternut, kabocha, hubbard.

These squashes weigh down tables of the Saratoga Farmers’ Market squash growers. They represent the beauty of the holidays and the abundance of our region’s agriculture. 

Squash is part of the Native American three sisters plants, with beans and corn. Along with beans and corn, it was grown for its sweetness, versatility in cooking, high nutrition content, and ability to be stored for long-term use.

While squash vary in size, shape, and color, they generally all can be roasted, steamed, or made into soups or desserts.

The dark green acorn, yellow dumpling, and multi-colored carnival squashes are easy to roast. Use a sharp knife to cut them in half, scoop out the seeds from the center, wrap the halves in foil, and roast them in a 375 degree oven for about 45 minutes. When they can be sliced through easily with a knife, they are ready for eating. Savor them, as is, or add some melted butter, maple syrup, or walnuts for added flavor. Use leftovers to create a soup or hearty stew.

If cutting the squash is too hard, try steaming them whole until they have softened. Once cooled, they can easily be cut and seeded.

Bigger spaghetti squashes make a delicious substitute for pasta. Roast these squashes in halves wrapped in foil for 45 minutes, then remove from the oven, unwrap and allow to cool. Use a fork to create spaghetti-like strands. These strands can then be simmered for a few minutes in a tomato sauce or pesto. 

New England pie pumpkins are the classic ingredient for pumpkin pie. Butternut squash makes a nice pie, as well. Kabocha, and hubbard varieties can be substituted. 

Some squash varieties – spaghetti, delicata, sweet dumpling, acorn, and carnival, among them  – can be stored through early Christmas. Others such as pie pumpkins, kabocha, hubbards, and butternut will last well into late winter or early spring if kept in a cool dark area.

The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is 9:30 a.m-1:30 p.m. at the Wilton Mall. CDTA routes 450 (Schenectady-Wilton) and 452 (Skidmore College-Wilton) offer regular Saturday bus service with many stops in Saratoga Springs (see cdta.org/routes-and-schedules). Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.



Published in Food
Thursday, 07 November 2019 14:44

Exclusive Farmers’ Market Favorites

Despite cloudy skies, daylight poured into the Wilton Mall illuminating tables filled with locally produced goods this past Saturday. Amongst boxes of carrots, piles of cabbages, and stalks of Brussel sprouts are distinct, yet lesser-known fruit and vegetables. These varieties have unique flavors and unusual patterns and colors. They reflect the variety that grows in our region and they can't be found in grocery stores – making them exclusive farmers' market favorites.

Romanesco, a relative of broccoli and cauliflower, is chartreuse in color and has a striking fractal pattern. When compared to a traditional cauliflower, its texture is far more crunchy and its flavor is delicate and nutty. Romanesco can be blanched and added to salads, veggie trays, and cold pasta dishes. It may also be roasted or sauteed in olive oil.

Kohlrabi is another unfamiliar brassica. With a taste and texture that is similar to a broccoli stem or cabbage heart, its flavor is milder and sweeter. The young stem can be as crisp and juicy as an apple, although much less sweet. The bulbous part of this vegetable may be used raw in salads or slaws. Even the leaves are edible and can be used in place of collard greens and kale.

Lion's Mane 
Lion's mane is one of the most interesting-looking and beautiful mushrooms. Its flavor and texture are similar to crab or lobster meat: a sweet-savory flavor, and meaty texture. To prepare, tear the whole mushrooms into bite-sized wedges. Heat a large skillet and dry sauté the mushroom pieces until the edges begin to brown. Add a pat of butter and a clove of finely chopped garlic to the skillet and toss to coat. Cook the mushrooms until they are golden brown and finish with a pinch of sea salt.

Yellow Tomatoes 
Yellow tomatoes have thick skin and are succulent and meaty in texture. Yellow varieties of tomatoes are rather sweet, and often taste milder and less acidic than red tomatoes. Yellow tomatoes are exclusively available at Shushan Valley Hydro Farms throughout the winter.

On your next trip to the farmers' market, shop spontaneously and try something new. Ask your farmer about these lesser-known fruits and vegetables and how to prepare them – it's easy!

The Saratoga Farmers' Market is 9:30 a.m-1:30 p.m. at the Wilton Mall. CDTA routes 450 (Schenectady-Wilton) and 452 (Skidmore College-Wilton) offer regular Saturday bus service with many stops in Saratoga Springs (see cdta.org/routes-and-schedules). Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.



Published in Food
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