Displaying items by tag: Saratoga Farmers' Market

It’s 9 a.m. at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market. Not exactly “happy hour.”

But for Matt Jager and the crew who bring vodka, straight bourbon, rye, wheat, and single malt whiskeys from Yankee Distillers to the market, that’s the point. These drinks are not meant to be downed in a hurry but instead sipped slowly.

YankeeDistillersMattJagerCo-owner of Yankee Distillers, Matt Jager.

Such beverages, known as spirits, begin from grains. As such, says Jager, who co-owns Yankee Distillers with Scott Luning, they are “the spirit of the grain.”

A distilled spirit is an alcoholic beverage produced by allowing a fermented liquid to turn to vapor and then back to liquid. Grains are cooked down to a mash. During this process, carbohydrates are broken down to simple sugars. Sugars turn to alcohol as yeast eats away at them, creating fermentation. The resulting liquid is then distilled and aged.

Jager began learning to distill spirits after completing a master’s in business administration. Yankee Distillers opened three years ago in Clifton Park. Its whiskies have been in barrels aging for most of that time. As a result, last year marked their first significant rollout. The process, says Jager, has taught him patience: “I learn new things every day.”

Distilling has historic roots. New York farmers fermented and aged grains in small batch processes through the late 18th and 19th centuries, creating a vibrant craft industry. Prohibition laws of the 1920s wiped that industry out. In 2005, however, new state laws were passed that are helping distilleries make a comeback. 

For Jager, distillation allows one to experience “the grain in its purest essence.”

For him, that essence involves learning more about the grains and their origins, how they were grown, harvested, stored, and ultimately converted to the spirits that one enjoys now.

State laws require 75 percent of farm distillers’ raw ingredients to be of New York origin. Yankee Distillers uses 100 percent New York grown corn, rye, wheat, and malted grains in its products, and Jager dreams of operating a farm that would grow these crops itself.

Sip a sample at Yankee Distillers table at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market. Or visit their tasting room in Clifton Park.

The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is  9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays at the Lincoln Baths Building in the Saratoga Spa State Park. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the FreshFoodNY app. 



Published in Food
Wednesday, 09 January 2019 19:00

Red Carpet Winners at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market

Roll out the red carpet!

Oscars season is approaching, but you don’t have to wait for the announcement of nominees to bring the stars into your home. Move over Lady Gaga, make room for prize-winning pickles, cheesecakes, yogurts, whisky, milk, mushrooms and more, all available every Saturday at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market.

Just over a month ago, at the 21st Annual Rosendale International Pickle Festival, longtime Saratoga Farmers’ Market vendor Puckers Gourmet won two ribbons, placing first in the sweet pickles category and second for pickled vegetables. This past summer, Grandma Apple’s Cheesecakes won the President’s Choice award at Saratoga’s All-America Dessert Festival, and at the 2018 Ballston Spa Chocolate Fest last February, her cheesecakes tied for first place in the Judge’s Choice category and won the Fan Favorite Award.

Several of the Greek yogurts made by the Argyle Cheese Farmer have taken the gold medal at the New York State Fair in recent years, and their Amazing Grace aged cheese won a silver. Another local dairy, Nettle Meadow Farm, has won multiple awards for its soft cheeses made from combinations of goat, sheep and cow milks. These include a gold medal at the 2016 World Cheese Championship for Nettle Meadow’s Kunik, and a first place award at the 2017 U.S. Cheese Championships for its Briar Summit cheese.

At the Great American International Spirits Competition held in May of 2018, Saratoga County’s own Yankee Distillery took medals for its malt, rye, wheat, and bourbon whiskeys. Battenkill Valley Creamery is a recipient of the Highest Quality Milk in New York State award, and Saratoga Apple was lauded by I Love NY for the cider it makes from a blend of
apple varieties. 

In addition to individual vendors’ awards, the Saratoga Farmers’ Market itself is a winner! In 2016 the market was named the “number one must-visit farmers’ market in New York State” by I Love NY. It has also earned the American Farmland Trust’s award for number one market in New York State and second in the entire country, and it regularly tops polls of regional customers.

Best of all, these winners can be enjoyed close-up! Come to the Saratoga Farmers’ Market on Saturdays from 9 am - 1 pm year-round to sample these award-winning pickles, cheeses, cheesecakes, whiskeys and many other tasty local treats.

Published in Food
Thursday, 03 January 2019 19:00

Friend the Market!

VolunteerVolunteer & Vendor Camaraderie at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market! 

Connecting with community, supporting local agriculture and small businesses, and discovering new foods and recipes — that’s what motivates the Friends of the Market. The Friends organization was created in 2011 to support vendors and customers of the Saratoga Farmers’ Market and to help educate the larger community about the benefits of locally sourced food.

Alexandra Morgan, one of the original Friends, recalls “My favorite memory is of helping a vendor who was overwhelmed with customers. That situation led to a valued friendship. To be able to step into a situation and help out is very gratifying.”

Chris Toole, another long-time Friend, encourages others to volunteer for this “ambassador-like” position, particularly if they love meeting and helping people. She explains, “the joking and camaraderie of the vendors is a joy. I’ve made wonderful friends in all of the people here. They make me laugh and I’m always learning things.”

Often these lessons are about new foods to try. Toole describes, “The best new food I ever heard about here, from Pura Vida Fisheries, was for Blowfish Tails. I sautéed them in butter and garlic and they were marvelous!” Since Toole found that Blowfish Tails are only available seasonally, she now asks the Pura Vida folks for other recommendations depending on the season. Another Friend, Sally Willse, also loves a recipe she learned from a market vendor, The Vermont Spätzle Company, which combines their gluten-free spätzle with local Brussels sprouts, bacon and maple syrup. 

Friends help out in various ways depending on their talents and interests. Tasks include greeting customers and answering questions, helping people transport purchases to their cars, covering vendor stalls while the farmers and chefs take breaks, taking photos for use in social media and educational presentations, and teaching people of all ages about cooking and local food. Willse describes her favorite market experiences, “The times I help with kids’ activities. Once the kids were drawing vegetables at the market, it was fun to see and hear their perspectives about their favorite foods.”

Darlene McGraw sums up her reason for becoming a Friend this way: “I volunteer because I love to support local small businesses. I celebrate ‘Small Business Saturday’ every week!”

To learn about joining the Friends of the Market, e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or come to the Saratoga Farmers’ Market, currently at its winter home in the Lincoln Baths on Saturdays, 9 am - 1 pm.

Published in Food

The final few days before Christmas can be frantic. Gifts must be bought, Holiday meals must be cooked, and then there’s the issue of trying to get packages shipped to loved ones who live elsewhere.

We at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market invite you to relax. Come to the market Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., grab a warm drink and a pastry or breakfast sandwich, and stroll through two floors of a wide variety of products all under one roof at the Lincoln Baths Building. You’ll find an array of unique locally made jewelry, artworks, specialty foods, and other gift items to suit anyone on your gift giving list.

A quick walk through the market offers the following:

Artisanal treats. On the second floor find cured meats, freshly made pastas, handcrafted jewelry, and journals. If there’s a dog in the family, consider a gift box from Mugzy’s Barkery, which features a sampler of their dog treats. Terra Sage Gourmet also offers healthy vegetarian dog food.

Also on the second floor are first-year agricultural vendors offering locally produced mushrooms, chicken, dried beans, kale, potatoes, and nutrient-dense microgreens.

A spirited sample. Walk to the end of the second floor and head downstairs. Stop and sample bourbon-infused eggnog, made with Battenkill Valley Creamery’s award-winning eggnog and Yankee Distillers’ bourbon. Then continue your walk among fresh food and friendly faces.

Sweets & Treats to ship. On the first floor you’ll find produce, meats, jams, chocolates, cheeses, peanut butter, and hummus. Many of these items are suitable for shipping, and Slate Valley Farm makes the job easy. They offer a gift box of honey, maple syrup and maple treats in a Priority Mail package that Slate Valley will send for you.

Other gift boxes. As you wrap up your walk, you’ll find cheese samplers, nut butters, and mushroom teas from Argyle Cheese Farmer, Saratoga Peanut Butter, and Mariaville Mushroom Men respectively. And, if you like creating your own gift packages, stop by Kokinda Farms and pick up a wicker basket from Laurie Kokinda. Choose a jar of Laurie’s jam and walk through the market to fill the basket with your favorites.

The Saratoga Farmers Market is held 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on Saturdays at the Lincoln Baths Building in the Saratoga Spa State Park. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and on the FreshFoodNY app.


Published in Food
Thursday, 13 December 2018 13:56

Jam Makers Preserve a Sweet Tradition

Homemade jams are a longtime staple of the Saratoga Farmers’ Market. These treats – made from fruits grown and harvested spring through fall – gleam like jewels in glass jars. They are rich in fruit flavor, and thick with sweetness. They fill holiday stockings, they sit on breakfast tables, and they work great in holiday recipes.

Two vendors – Laurie Kokinda of Kokinda Farm and Anna Mae Clark of Clark’s Dahlia Gardens & Greenhouses – offer jam. For both, jam-making runs in the family.

“My mother taught me how to make jam as a young child,” says Kokinda. “We would go picking fruit at ‘pick your own’ farms and gather wild huckleberries in Luther’s Forest.” 

“Then,” Kokinda recalls, “as a teen, I started making it by myself.” Her mother had had a horse accident and had broken her wrist.

Kokinda joined the farmers’ market in 1997. Since then, she has sold jam under the name of Laurie’s Jams, alongside produce, eggs, and handmade items.

28 LaurieKokindaLaurie Kokinda. Photo by Pattie Garrett.

She makes jam once a week, in between driving a school bus and caring for horses, chickens and dogs. She grows raspberries, currants, gooseberries, blackberries, apples, pears, rhubarb and grapes. She obtains other fruits such as cherries, plums, blueberries, and apricots from other local growers. Of particular pride is her favorite, peach jam, made from peaches from her own trees.

Clark was a Saratoga Farmers’ Market vendor when the market started in 1978. She began selling jam around 1998 when, she recalls, she had “a freezer filled with fruit that wasn’t being used.” But she has made jam for 50 years. She inherited the tradition from her mother and grandmothers. “We all made jam,” says Clark. “We had to at the farm, or you wouldn’t have any.” 

28 AnnaMaeClark holidayjamsAnna Mae Clark's holiday jams.

Clark perfected her jam-making through 4-H and Cornell Cooperative Extension classes. She grows most of her fruit, though relies on others for products she cannot grow herself such as oranges and cranberries. She goes through a pallet of sugar a year. Jams, insists Clark, need sugar. Sugar brings out a fruit’s flavor in a way that other sweeteners cannot.

Many of Anna Mae Clark’s recipes come from her mother and grandmothers. They create “older flavors” that people enjoy, and can’t always find outside of farmers’ markets.

The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays at the Lincoln Baths Building in the Saratoga Spa State Park. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and on the FreshFoodNY app.


Published in Food
Thursday, 06 December 2018 12:16

Traditional Meals for Traditional Holidays

AS WE APPROACH our traditional winter holiday season, the Saratoga Farmers’ Market offers delicious selections for traditional preparation. Whether you’re gathering guests or enjoying a quiet celebration, the Market supplies ingredients from appetizers to entrees to desserts. Scotch Ridge Trees and Berries completes your home with holiday decorations.

What better cocktail to serve in New York State than a Manhattan made with Yankee Distillers rye whiskey, made from 100 percent Saratoga grains. You can top it with a fermented black cherry from Pucker’s Pickles. 

Battenkill Valley Creamery makes eggnog that’s ready for adding optional liquor. Or prepare homemade with their dairy products, and Market eggs, using SimplyRecipes.com.

For appetizers, check the holiday cheeses from Argyle Cheese and Nettle Meadow. Argyle’s annual gift baskets will work for a cheese platter along with yogurt dips for Market vegetables. Nettle Meadow’s holiday cheeses include pfeffernusse, cranberry, and eggnog fromage frais. Pura Vida expects to have Peconic Bay scallops, and try their blowfish, either sautéed or fried like chicken wings. Add Freddy’s Rockin’ Hummus to your appetizers, and serve with Saratoga Crackers and Mrs. London’s breads.

cheeseplatePhoto by Pattie Garrett.

For entrees, Longlesson Farm and Lewis Waite Farm offer glorious beef rib roasts. You can pre-order three or four rib, or whole roasts. Elihu Farm will have fresh lamb again, including bone-in or boneless legs, whole or half racks, and loin strips. Mariaville Mushroom Men features gift baskets and teas, along with grow kits. Their mushrooms make an excellent side dish with beef or lamb.

Don’t leave the Market until you pick up salad greens, tomatoes and herbs, potatoes and vegetables, and Momma’s Secret Salad Dressings. For an alternate starch, try Mangiamo’s pasta. And add Saratoga Apple’s hard cider to your basket.

Finally, no meal is complete without dessert and coffee. The Chocolate Spoon offers cookies and cakes all year, and for holidays one can order fruit or cream pies and cheesecakes. From Saratoga Apple you can choose varieties to make baked apples and apple pie. Grandma’s Apple also makes cheesecakes. In addition to serving cup after cup of coffee at the Market, Something’s Brewing now roasts organic coffee beans in several flavors. Add this to complete your basket of products for holiday celebrations.


The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays at The Lincoln Baths Building. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for volunteer opportunities.

Garlic Tomato Short Ribs

Published in Food

Gretchen Tisch sits at her Saratoga Farmers’ Market stall every Saturday surrounded by her art: hand-painted shirts and jackets, knitted hats, handcrafted jewelry, mugs, custom pet portraits and other customized “paintings from photos,” uniquely painted purses, boots, and more. In between customers, she knits and creates jewelry, giving shoppers a glimpse of art-in-progress.

Tisch owns Feathered Antler, one of several local arts and crafts businesses which form the market’s special Holiday Market. Many of these vendors are located on the second floor of the market’s winter location in the Lincoln Baths Building at the Saratoga Spa State Park. They vend alongside newer farmers from Greenjeans, Ramble Creek, Squashville and Saratoga Urban farms, bringing art and agriculture together. Tisch’s Feathered Antler is located at the market entrance, its vibrant colors and natural themes providing a beautiful introduction for the indoor Saratoga Farmers’ Market.

22 Feathered Antler custom pet portraits   22 Some of the Feathered Antler gifts
Photos provided.

For Tisch, the market is a year-round affair. In her eyes, her art – with its colors and its vibrancy – complement the farm-grown and handmade products that form the market’s core. “I love the market’s vibe,” Tisch says. “I love the colors, the healthy feel, the freshness of the fruits and vegetables. My colors and my artwork feed off that.”

Tisch was a regular customer of the Saratoga Farmers’ Market before she became a vendor. She had been selling her work via Etsy and in small shops, and felt as she made her weekly visits that her art could be an asset to the market. She applied to be a vendor in the winter market in 2015 and was accepted. Within weeks, shoppers were buying her creations and placing custom orders. Soon, she outgrew her home studio space and began searching for a studio and retail space. In 2016 she opened a boutique at 517 Broadway in Saratoga Springs.

For Tisch, art is like the market itself – fresh and ever-changing, much as the selections of farm-grown and raised vegetables, fruits, and meats vary with the seasons. During breaks, Gretchen loves to shop for her weekly farm products, and at times, she joins her parent’s Tisch Family Band as a dancer, performing traditional Irish Step Dancing, often in festive holiday attire. Art in its many forms and inspirations, all at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market!

The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays at the Lincoln Baths Building in the Saratoga Spa State Park. Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, and check us out on the FreshFoodNY app.

Hot ChocolatePhoto by Pattie Garrett.

Published in Food

The Saratoga Farmers’ Market’s Holiday Market, held every Saturday in November and December, features hand-made jewelry, clothing, journals, a variety of artwork, and specialty prepared foods and treats. These unique gifts provide a way to connect with a loved one’s individualized style and interests. Some of our featured local artists include Rosemary Romeo, Peggy Gray and Terri Holmes Smith.

Rosemary Romeo, owner and artist of “I Don’t Do Ordinary,” uses copper, brass, silver, gemstones, and found objects to create one-of-a-kind earrings, necklaces, rings, watches and other gifts for women, men, and children. Romeo explains, “I take designs that are current and put a not-so-current twist on them to create a new level of ‘in-style’ with a vintage twist.” Romeo’s signature items include graphic-image earrings and natural-flower jewelry, as well as pieces made from repurposed materials such as spoons, coins, and new and found stones and semi-precious gems.

Peggy Gray, of “22 Shades of Gray,” combines lush fabrics and a variety of textures to create unusual clothing for women. Her asymmetric blouses, swingy coats, fitted jackets, multi-layered wraps, and other designs complement women of all ages and styles. Peggy has been sewing since she was 17, and she now owns a studio in Buskirk, NY. Peggy says “I love to help women express their personalities through their fashion.” Peggy will be at the Holiday Market most Saturdays in December, and also sells her items online.

Terri Holmes Smith, inspired by Native American insights into beauty and spirit, has created “The Weaving Tree,” a family business that specializes in crafting personalized dream catchers and dream catcher-themed jewelry. Come see what Terri has at the market and talk to her about custom orders for the holidays or other special occasions. Terri and her family also make glass hand-painted Christmas bulbs and other glass objects and carry a line of journals that have questions and prompts designed to help people share their life stories with loved ones.

In addition to items from these artists, the Holiday Market also features other jewelers and crafters, as well as specialty foods for people and their pets. The Holiday Market is part of the Saratoga Farmers’ Market, running Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Lincoln Baths. For more information see www.saratogafarmersmarket.org.

Spatzle Sweet Potato Salad


Published in Food
Thursday, 15 November 2018 12:51

Giving Thanks With Pie

TOMORROW is one of the year’s best days to shop at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market. The Saturday before Thanksgiving offers an opportunity to fill your baskets and holiday menus with locally grown and raised foods from our region’s farms. We’ve talked up vegetables, turkeys and ducks. This week, we turn our attention to the sweet finale: pies.

Thanksgiving pie traditionally has been pumpkin, made by roasting or steaming chunks of fresh pumpkin or a similar winter squash, and then creating a puree of the pumpkin with eggs, milk, honey or maple syrup. From there, one can add cinnamon, nutmeg and/or allspice and then bake in a pie crust for 45 to 60 minutes. Such pies fill the belly with sweetness and warmth while making use of the foods that farmers bring
to market.

But pie goes well beyond pumpkin. For pie fillings, think seasonal and think abundance. Local options include apple, sweet potato, and butternut squash. On the savory side, there’s quiche, chicken pot pies, and even shepherd’s pie, a simple dish of browned ground meat (beef, pork, or goat) topped with mashed potatoes and then baked.

A basic pie crust is made by blending flour, water, butter and a little salt into a dough. As food blogger Pattie Garrett learned in a recent workshop at the King Arthur Flour baking school, keeping the ingredients cold and allowing the dough to chill for at least 30 minutes before rolling out eases the process and helps ensure a smooth, uncracked crust.

There is plenty of room to get creative with pie. For instance, Gomez Veggie Ville’s Lizbeth Gomez artfully blends sweet potatoes with butternut squash in a graham cracker crust. This combination makes a pie that is creamy and packed with a phenomenal flavor. As the accompanying recipe shows, it also is quite easy to make.

If you are in a rush to get the other holiday tasks done but want to serve a homemade pie, you can even find that at the Saturday market. Local bakers have ready-to-serve apple, pumpkin, cherry and pecan for holiday meals, and also frozen pot-pies to pull out of your freezer for a delicious
meal any time.

The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays in the Lincoln Baths Building, Saratoga Spa State Park. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and the FreshFoodNY app.

Basic Pie Crust

Butternut Squash Sweet Potato Pie

Published in Food

THE SEASON OF FEASTS creates a reason to focus on holiday birds such as turkeys and ducks. This fresh and sustainable poultry can now be found at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market. 

For turkey, check in with Ramble Creek Farm and Mariaville Mushroom Men. For duck, speak with Squashville Farm. All of these farms encourage advance orders.

In an era of convenience cooking, the prospect of roasting a bird as big as a turkey (10 pounds at a minimum) or a duck (six to eight pounds) might seem daunting. Why do it? And how? Let’s start by looking at what makes these poultry so flavorful.

Ramble Creek owner Josh Carnes explains, “our turkeys arrived on farm as little poults on July 18, and grew to maturity on pasture.” He adds, “Turkeys forage a lot, way more than chickens. If moved to fresh grass on a regular basis, they get a large amount of their diet from the land.”

34 Ramble Creek Turkeys grazing near their mobile roostRamble Creek Farm. Photo provided.

Squashville Farm owner Jim Gupta-Carlson notes that all of the animals raised on his farm – chickens, ducks, and goats – play a role in supporting the health of each other as well as the soil and vegetables that the farm cultivates. For example, “Ducks are particularly vital to keeping the populations of snails, which are pests to goats, under control.”  Additionally, Gupta-Carlson says, “Because the ducks are raised outdoors, they run and they fly, and they live and eat like ducks.”

All of these local farm animals live to near-maturity and are processed on site. According to Carnes, this eases stress on the “one bad day” and helps create “an extremely high quality and flavorful finished product.”

As for cooking, simpler is better. Our accompanying recipe shows that there is no need to do such things as piercing the skin, parboiling in advance, or adding a lot of seasonings because, as Carnes notes, “the flavor of pastured birds truly stands on its own.” The basic steps involve roasting for 15 minutes at a high heat, then lowering the heat to continue cooking. Let the meat rest about 15 minutes before serving. 

The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays in the Lincoln Baths Building, Saratoga Spa State Park. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and the FreshFoodNY app

Roasted Duck

Published in Food
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