Displaying items by tag: Saratoga Farmers' Market

Friday, 25 October 2019 10:01

Cooking Advice for Farm-to-Table Meats

I consider myself to be a decent cook but I will confess that I have always felt insecure preparing dishes with meat. So whenever I want to prepare lamb, beef, goat, or pork I look to the experts; the farmers who raised the animals and know the cuts and flavors best. 

An upcoming dinner with friends prompted me to visit the farmers’ market for the right meat and cooking instructions for my visionary main course. First, I visit Christophe Robert of Longlesson Angus. “Keep it simple and cook the meat (steak) at a low temperature and finish with a sear,” Robert advises. 

Caroline from Lewis Waite Farm gave similar advice. She explains that pasture-raised, 100% grass-fed meats cook differently. “They have less fat so you need to adjust how you approach cooking it with lower temperatures and less time,” she explains. Caroline recommends flat iron steaks, which are from a tender part of the shoulder. “Just a few minutes on each side on a low-heat pan works great,” says Caroline. The meat may be sliced up for fajitas and soups, or served as a steak.

Mary Pratt of Elihu Farm has a variety of cuts of lamb that may be bought fresh year-round at the farmers’ market. Pratt recommends a lamb shoulder roast or shoulder chops, bone-in neck, and shanks which make excellent stew. “You can use lamb stew cuts in recipes from many cultures,” explains Pratt. One of her favorite recipes is for lamb osso bucco, which can be found in the cookbook From the Earth to the Table. In addition, Pratt recommends lamb recipes from Paula Wolfert’s cookbooks and USA Grilling.

Goat is another meat option available at the farmers’ market. Jim Gupta-Carlson of Squashville Farm recommends goat rib chops and loin chops. “They are flavorful and quite simple to prepare,” says Gupta-Carlson. Simply season with salt and pepper and sear the chops on both sides on either a grill or skillet. Then let them cook at a lower temperature until they are medium-rare. Gupta-Carlson recommends letting the chops rest for a few minutes
before serving. 

The farmers’ market will move indoors to the Wilton Mall on Saturday, November 2 from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. There, customers may peruse offerings of goat, lamb, beef, and pork, and gather cooking advice from Elihu Farm, Lewis Waite Farm, Longlesson Farm, Mariaville Mushroom Men, Moxie Ridge Farm, Ramble Creek Farm, Slate River Farms, and Squashville Farm.

The Saratoga Farmers' Market is 3-6 p.m. Wednesdays and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays at High Rock Park through October. On November 2, the market begins its indoor season from 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Saturdays at the Wilton Mall. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for updates.



Published in Food
Thursday, 17 October 2019 14:15

Going Green at the Saratoga Farmers' Market

Since 1994, the number of registered farmers’ markets nationwide has increased from under 2,000 to more than 8,600.Communities have renewed interest in eating locally grown food, a change that for many is motivated by the desire to be more environmentally conscious. At its core, buying local is a sustainable choice because of reduced transportation and food packaging. There are simple ways to make market shopping that much more (or rather, less!) impactful on the planet. The Saratoga Farmers’ Market collaborated with Sustainable Saratoga to compile tips for shoppers to be as “green” as the leafy collards we covet.

1. Write a shopping list
Check the refrigerator to see what groceries you already have before leaving the house. A list will also limit the number of shopping trips you’ll take for forgotten items throughout the week. 

2. Carpool
Trade off driving with family and friends to save on mileage and emissions. Bike or walk if you are able! Remember that on November 2nd, the market will move to Wilton Mall, where it will be held from 9:30-1:30 every Saturday in front of the Bon Ton entrance. 

3. Take a bag, leave a bag 
Have a stock of reusable bags at the ready. The Friends of the Market volunteers offer a “take a bag, leave a bag” initiative for those who forget to bring them, and also accepts donations of reusable totes. 

4. Return packaging
When making a purchase, ask the vendor if they reuse packaging. Battenkill Creamery sterilizes and reuses all of their glass dairy bottles that are rinsed and returned by customers. Bring back egg cartons, berry boxes, plastic planters, glassware, or rubber bands. Dump sturdier produce into a bag and return the packaging on the spot. 

5. Buy in bulk: 
Buying large quantities of staple items saves on packaging, especially when you bring containers from home. Vegetables, cheeses, and meats can be repackaged and frozen for later use. 

6. Contribute Compost: 
Divert food from the waste stream by bringing food scraps from home to add to the market compost bin, located near the market administrator’s table. The compost is brought to the Franklin Community Center and used for soil enrichment in their community garden. 

7. Ask a vendor: 
If you’re looking for tips on proper food storage, returning packaging, buying in bulk, or cooking seasonal recipes, the best source of information is the person who grew, raised, or made the product.

The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is 3-6 p.m. Wednesdays and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays at High Rock Park through October. On November 2, the market begins its indoor season from 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Saturdays at the Wilton Mall. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for updates.



Published in Food

Shorter days, grayer skies, and sweater weather all mark shifts in the seasonal cycle of the Saratoga Farmers’ Market.

The market will continue to operate outdoors from 3-6 p.m. Wednesdays and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays at High Rock Park through October. 

On Saturday, November 2, the market makes its annual move indoors.

This year, however, the move will be to a newer, larger, and more accessible location at the Wilton Mall, where the market will operate from 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Saturdays, in the area around the Department of Motor Vehicles and former Bon Ton store.

The move creates a community partnership between the nearly 60 vendors who make up the winter market and the retail businesses at the mall.

“We are excited about this change,” says Saratoga Farmers’ Market Association board president Beth Trattel. “It gives us an opportunity to give our vendors more selling space, while also offering expanded parking and a bus-accessible site to our customers.”

Vendors will offer fresh produce, meats, eggs, cheeses and other dairy items, fresh-cut flowers, spirits, prepared foods, and a variety of handmade arts and artisanal craft items. 

The Saratoga Farmers’ Market’s move comes as changes in consumer shopping patterns are causing malls to reinvent themselves. The Wilton Mall has lost two major anchors in the past year – Sears and Bon Ton – and much of its space is unfilled. Bringing farmers, artisans, and other local businesses into some of that vacant space creates a vibrant shopping atmosphere that could help the mall rekindle its potential to be a public gathering space.

At the same time, by opening up its space, the mall is helping the farmers’ market address three of its greatest challenges: ample parking, access via public transportation, and vendor visibility to the public.

“We are excited about this move,” says market director Emily Meagher. “We will have ample parking. We will be located directly by a CDTA bus stop, and being in a space that is shared with many other businesses creates a ‘one-stop-shop’ for customers’ weekly groceries and other errands.”

The Saratoga Farmers Market is 3 - 6 p.m. Wednesdays and 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. Saturdays at High Rock Park through October. On November 2, the market begins its indoor season from 9:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. Saturdays at the Wilton Mall. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for updates.



Published in Food
Thursday, 03 October 2019 15:06

5 Fall Trends at the 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. 

Published in Food
Thursday, 26 September 2019 14:06

Healthy Back to School Snacks

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. 


Published in Food
Thursday, 19 September 2019 14:26

A Versatile Trio for Fall Meals

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. 


Published in Food

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.


Published in Food
Thursday, 05 September 2019 11:01

Touch, Don’t Squeeze: Checking Produce for Ripeness

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. 


Published in Food

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. 

Chris Toole and Alexandra Morgan are conveners of the Friends of the Market volunteer program, whose members assist market-goers with the transport of purchases from the market to cars, offer vendors the chance to take short breaks, and support the market in other ways. They are eager to welcome new volunteers, and those who are interested can stop by the market shed or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Volunteering at the market has shown them what farmers go through to get their produce from the farms into people’s homes.

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.


 Basil & Parsley Stem Pesto

Published in Food
Friday, 23 August 2019 13:31

Stems Add Beauty and Flavor to Summer Roots

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. 


 Basil & Parsley Stem Pesto

Published in Food
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