Displaying items by tag: Saratoga Farmers' Market
For many Saratoga Farmers’ Market regulars, Saturday morning starts with a stop at Something’s Brewing owned by Beth Trattel, aka “the coffee lady.” Trattel offers coffees made from beans that she roasts herself, teas, ciders, Italian sodas, and a range of other beverages, brewed out of Trattel’s imagination and willingness to do a little “homework.”
“I’m here to support farmers,” she says. “To help them make a living.”
Beth Trattel, owner of Something’s Brewing.
Trattel grew up in Argyle, on land adjacent to a dairy farm. Her father yearned to be a farmer, but her mother wanted a home with a sidewalk in front. Her father became a cooperative extension agent with a large garden on the side.
Trattel inherited her father’s love for growing flowers, berries, herbs, and simple greens. She began working in the restaurant industry at age 19, and in 2004, opened Something’s Brewing as a coffee shop in Greenwich. In 2008, Dave and Marge Randle, owners of Argyle Cheese Farmer, suggested she bring her brews to the Saratoga Farmers’ Market.
“They had nothing of the sort at that time,” she recalls.
Trattel uses and promotes market ingredients in her offerings: milk from Battenkill Valley Creamery, cider from Saratoga Apple, marshmallows from the Chocolate Spoon, maple syrup from Slate Valley Farm, to name a few.
She also creates ingredients on her own: She makes syrup for Italian sodas out of berries she grows and creates teas with flowers and herbs from her garden, gathering, dehydrating and blending them herself. “I like experimenting,” says Trattel.
In 2018, Trattel embarked on a new experiment. She began roasting her own coffee beans, creating hearty, flavorful blends. She now sells her blends in half-pound packets, giving customers who like their Saturday morning market coffee an opportunity to make their own at home.
“I enjoy roasting,” said Trattel. “It’s interesting to work with beans in this way.”
As for her mother, she did get her house with a sidewalk when her parents retired and moved to a house in Ithaca, leaving their daughter to carry out her father’s passion for growing edible things.
The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays through April 27 at the Lincoln Baths Building in the Saratoga Spa State Park. The market moves outdoors to High Rock Park on May 2. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Maple Syrup from Slate Valley Farms at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market. Photo by Pattie Garrett.
As light returns to our region and cold nights alternate with warm days, sap runs in the trees and maple sugaring season begins. On Saturday, March 16, the Saratoga Farmers’ Market celebrates this sweet time of year with Maple Day! Vendors throughout the market will offer maple inspired samples and recipes, and Gina Willis, manager of maple production at her family’s Slate Valley Farms, will introduce a new spin on this traditional treat: maple syrup infusions.
Willis grew up learning about making maple, honey, and other farm products with her parents Pat and Susan Imbimbo. She earned a degree in Agricultural Business and Horticulture at SUNY Cobleskill, and then returned to help run the family farm.
This decision makes Willis unusual in the maple industry, as most maple operations are run by men. Willis is excited to take up the family tradition and also innovate. Last summer she attended classes at the Maple Producers Convention to learn about naturally infusing a variety of flavors into maple syrup. She has since tested over 30 infusions in her commercial kitchen, and on Saturday she’ll bring samples of four (vanilla bean, blueberry, Ceylon cinnamon, and coffee bean) plus a bourbon barrel aged maple syrup. In addition she’ll offer samples of all of the grades of syrup made at Slate Valley Farms during the 2019 harvest.
Willis is also continuing a project, started by her grandmother, of sharing a wide variety of maple recipes, from sweet to savory, salty to spicy. Instead of a traditional cookbook, Willis is developing a cooking video web series. She’ll provide a sneak preview at the market, giving out recipes like Maple Apple Sheet Cake and Savory Maple Rice and Beans, which she loves because it combines “northeast sweet flavor with southwest zest!”
Willis is thrilled to devote her life to both the beloved traditions and new possibilities of maple. She enjoys having a connection to her family’s woodlands and managing them year-round to ensure a great maple season. She explains, “Being able to have an occupation that allows me to be in tune with nature is a wonderful perk.”
Also at Saturday’s market will be an opportunity to try an old New England sugaring tradition, sweet maple syrup drizzled over a sour dill pickle, plus some local vendor creations like maple-vanilla Italian cream sodas, real maple lattes, and maple cheesecakes.
For Shane Avery, Saturday mornings begin early. He rises before 5 a.m. to harvest, prep, and bring his tiny little “vegetables” – known as microgreens – to the Saratoga Farmers’ Market.
At 9 a.m., the market bell rings and the greens – beets, broccoli, peas, radishes, and more – sit nestled in clear reusable containers, gleaming. Soon, market goers surround his table. Often, by the market’s 1 p.m. close, Avery has sold out.
Avery owns Saratoga Urban Farm. The farm is based in Gansevoort and produces microgreens, wheatgrass, culinary herbs, and other products. Avery started the business a year ago and joined the Saratoga Farmers’ Market last November. His clientele has expanded to include two farmers’ markets and a few local restaurants.
Microgreens are essentially vegetables in their youngest stage, harvested when the seeds from which they’re grown have produced their first true leaves.
“They’re about 10 days old,” says Avery. “At this stage, they have the strong flavor of their parent vegetable and a very high level of nutrient density.”
Baby greens from Saratoga Urban Farm.
Pleasant Valley Farm offers pea and sunflower shoots, among other vegetables. Avery specializes in microgreens. His packages include the greens of individual vegetables and mixes.
For many, the appeal of microgreens is ease. They require minimal washing – just a quick rinse under running water and a shake dry – and little prep. They can be sprinkled over omelets, folded into sandwiches, added to stir fry dishes, casseroles, or soups. Avery offers a handout with 52 ideas for using them, one for each week of the year.
He likes them best fresh in a bowl, with a light drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper.
Unlike sprouts, which are typically grown in water, microgreens are grown in soil. Avery soaks his seeds for a day, plants them in trays filled with an organic soil, and gives them three to four days to germinate, at which point they go under grow lights. Three to four days later, the tiny plants are ready for harvesting.
Avery times the soaking, planting, and germinating so harvests come just before market. They arrive at market 1-2 inches long, bright, crisp, and packed to remain fresh for seven days.
The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays in the Lincoln Baths Building at Saratoga Spa State Park. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
“I wonder how many peanut butter and jelly sandwiches I’ve eaten in my life?” my spouse often asks as he smears a thick layer of nutty goodness onto a slice of bread. Considering he has eaten one for nearly every lunch since he had a full set of teeth, and he’s now in his early 50s, I calculate approximately 17,167, though I do know that some of those sandwiches were PB and honey. I think that still counts.
Joe is one of the many people for whom March 1 was designated National Peanut Butter Lovers Day; according to the National Peanut Board, about 94 percent of American homes contain at least one jar of peanut butter. And it makes sense — whether eaten on toast for breakfast, in a sandwich for lunch, as a savory sauce for dinner, or with celery or apple slices for a snack, peanut butter is not only delicious, it’s also packed with protein, healthy monounsaturated fats, vitamin E, folate, and a variety of minerals, which combine to make it a particularly heart-healthy high energy food.
And here in Saratoga Springs, we have even more reason to celebrate: our very own Saratoga Peanut Butter Company! As a young adult Jessica Arceri, a physical education and nutrition expert and health-conscious parent, began crafting nut butters for her family and friends. In 2005 she started selling her creations at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market and in local groceries. Now Saratoga Peanut Butter is in stores throughout New York State and can be ordered online. But with over a dozen flavors, including some seasonal specials, it’s particularly fun to go to the Saratoga Peanut Butter table at the Farmers’ Market and enjoy a sample.
Photo courtesy of the Saratoga Peanut Butter Co.
Combining easily with many flavors, peanut butter is a versatile food. On Arceri’s website, yopeanut.com, you’ll find recipes for entrées such as Pad Thai and spicy sauté sauce, sweet treats including three varieties of peanut butter cookie, and a range of breakfast foods like low sugar, high energy granola bars, smoothies, pancakes and oatmeals. Because of Arceri’s focus on fitness, all of her nut butter ingredients are sourced in the USA, she never uses palm oil, refined sugars, or other additives or preservatives, and she uses no or low amounts of sodium.
Stop by the Farmers’ Market on Saturday to celebrate National Peanut Butter Lovers Day. In addition to samples of freshly made local peanut butter, you can pick up regular or gluten-free peanut butter cookies from The Chocolate Spoon, Grandma Apple’s peanut butter cheesecakes and cheesecake pops dipped in Saratoga Chocolate Company’s Velvet chocolate, and recipes and ingredients for more delicious meals and treats!
Paul Arnold and his daughter Kim harvest winter greens in a high tunnel.
A visit to Saturday’s Saratoga Farmers’ Market during the cold winter months brings surprises: the tables are overflowing with vegetables and fruit, and each week newly harvested leafy greens and other fresh-picked produce appear. This leaves me wondering, how is it possible to grow vegetables when the temperature is below freezing?
Paul and Sandy Arnold, who have been working the land at Pleasant Valley Farm for the past 30 years, explain that they started experimenting with winter farming in 1992 with low tunnels, and in 2006 with high tunnels. “Through much trial and error, the high tunnel winter greens production has proven to be worthwhile. Customers are excited to come every week of the year and be able to get fresh, healthy greens. Each year, our systems have been improved so that we have a more consistent supply throughout the cold winter months, though we will always be challenged by the weather,” explains Paul, with a knowing smile.
I decided to visit the farm on a cold February day. I drive down ice covered unpaved roads for miles; upon arrival I’m greeted by a hawk’s screech and an overwhelming view. Walking past several high tunnels full of colorful vegetables, I find the Arnolds harvesting vegetables, spinach, lettuce and more. High tunnels make it possible for local farmers to extend the growing season and provide us with locally grown fresh vegetables year-round at the farmers’ market. On the Arnold’s farm, the high tunnels are made of polycarbonate material and plastic over a steel structure; the tunnel protects the plants from weather extremes, controlling the environment for the plants in a safe, natural way. The vegetables are planted directly in the soil inside the tunnel. If the tunnel detects the temperature is too high or low, the tunnels’ side curtains will move up or down automatically to maintain an appropriate temperature.
The 5000 square foot high tunnels enable the Arnolds to grow tasty winter greens such as spinach, lettuce, kale, swiss chard, mustards, broccoli raab, Asian greens, arugula and more. Paul explains, “The seasons change the flavor of the produce. The cold may bring out its flavor or heat will enhance its sweetness.” So, enjoy your favorite vegetables and fruit from the farmers’ market, grown locally and naturally healthy and delicious all year, thanks to innovative farmers like the Arnolds.
Eight years ago, Captain Rick Lofstad joined the Saratoga Farmers’ Market with Pura Vida Fisheries Inc.
The customer line stretched around his tables and beyond. Fish lovers and others were entranced by the opportunity to obtain seafood freshly caught almost in their back yards. The interest was so high that a year and a half later, Lofstad opened a retail store, Moby Rick’s Seafood, on Lake Ave.
Today, that demand for fresh fish remains strong at the market, where Pura Vida offers a variety of fish and shellfish weekly.
“I grew up in New England and when I moved here, I thought we were too far inland to get fresh fish,” says Kenny Bourbeau, a personal chef. “Then, I heard about this guy who was selling fish at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market. I had to check it out.”
Bourbeau now sells fish for Pura Vida and Moby Rick’s, and helps make the chowders and other prepared foods that are also available. The store offers fish from throughout the world. However, the producers-only ethic and local emphasis of the Saratoga Farmers’ Market means that what Pura Vida brings to this market are solely those fished from New York waters, mostly off the coast of Long Island.
In other words, says Bourbeau, about as fresh as seafood gets.
Photo by Pattie Garrett.
Among the local fish available at the market at this time of year are grey sole, winter flounder, sand shark, black sea bass, porgy, skate, monkfish, weak fish, blow fish, sea scallops, cod, tuna, and squid. Lofstad’s boats go out several times a week. The catch is transported to a facility in Hudson, where it its filleted and then transported to Saratoga a day before market.
When asked what was his favorite winter catch, Adrien Johnson had to think. He likes all of it. Finally, he settled on scallops – from both the Long Island Bay and Peconic Bay. The icy cold seawater sweetens their taste. The scallops are great sautéed in olive oil or butter with some garlic and black pepper, or can be cooked into a stew (see accompanying recipe).
For more suggestions, visit Pura Vida’s table at the 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 Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and FreshFood NY.
Josh & Ann raise pigs on pasture. Photo by Pattie Garrett.
Ann and Josh Carnes met in September 2015 at a fire department pig roast near Josh’s farm in Laporte, Colorado. Ann was growing edible flowers and herbs in nearby Wellington. Josh had just retired from the fire department and had a handyman business and a garden on a three-acre homestead. They fell in love and began farming together the next spring.
In November 2017, they uprooted their lives and moved to New York to start Ramble Creek Farm. They joined the Saratoga Farmers’ Market in 2018, selling mushrooms, pork and poultry. Late last summer, amid preparations for their first autumn on the new farm, they married.
Their story highlights an important but not always talked about aspect of farm life – its reliance on interdependence. Nine out of 10 farmers farm as families, often as couples. While hard work and low profitability can strain such relationships, these factors also can make the romances more resilient. Nationwide, farm couples divorce less than others. Shared commitments to making farms grow often also help such relationships grow.
For Ann and Josh, that has meant a division of roles alongside frequent consultation. Josh does most of the animal care and the “building and fixing of things.” Ann’s creative talents put her in charge of marketing and branding. She represents Ramble Creek at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market. Josh once a week rises at 2:30 a.m. to drive to New York City for the Union Square Greenmarket.
Both love the work and try to not let it take over their lives completely.
Their wedding illustrated that. It took place on their farm on the last sunny weekend before the turn toward cooler weather. They said their vows in what they now call “the wedding pasture,” before friends and family from all over the country. A friend officiated, and as Josh put it, “we all drank, ate, and danced our butts off.”
“Neither of us are sure why we decided to stack a wedding on top of starting our new farm and everything that comes along with that,” says Ann, “but we wanted to make it official.”
“And here we are,” adds Josh, “doing our best for our land, our animals, and ourselves.”
The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays at the Lincoln Baths Building in the Saratoga Spa State Park. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the FreshFoodNY app.
Mid-winter meals often call for “something fresh.”
At the Saratoga Farmers’ Market, “something fresh” in February usually means stored fruits and vegetables from late summer harvests, or items like microgreens and pea shoots that can be grown in flat trays over heating mats or under lights, or small tomatoes and cucumbers that can be grown in greenhouses.
All that is good. But sometimes the taste buds want something more – out of season peppers, beans, broccoli, a wide variety of tomatoes, or corn.
In the past, saving foods for the winter was a necessity. In a practice known as “putting foods by,” families salted, pickled, dried, canned or otherwise preserved freshly harvested fruits or vegetables for later use.
The rise of global shipping and grocery chains caused many to abandon the practice, as did changes in the societal structure that led to longer working hours and more activities outside the home. It became faster and easier to just drop by the store.
But I hate buying non-local produce. I love growing food with my husband and supporting my farmer friends by buying what they grow. Last September I decided to try putting foods by in a simple way: I stored fresh tomatoes, beans, peppers, broccoli and sweet corn in freezer bags. On my mind then was Chowderfest, and its fabulous chowders, many of which get their zest from non-winter foods.
The result? Winter meals with more variety, flavor, and color – fresh tomato sauces, roasted broccoli, and braised beans served alongside the apples, turnips, carrots, and microgreens I can still get weekly at the market.
I hope to finish off these delights by early May when the market moves to its outdoor location on Wednesdays and Saturdays at High Rock Park. Then, I will start planning for next winter. I invite you to join me in this venture as you visit the market now and in the future.
As for chowder, I am thinking classic New England, made with clams (Pura Vida Fisheries) or chicken (Squashville Farm, among others), milk (Battenkill Valley Dairy), potatoes, and kernels of sweet corn, purchased last summer for weekends like this.
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 FreshFoodNY.
Photo by Pattie Garrett.
In the cold of winter, it’s time for the comfort of warm savory stews. The Saratoga Farmers’ Market has the needed ingredients and ideas from different cultures to spice your stews up.
Arnold Grant, of M&A Farm, is celebrating his 20th year at the market. Although most known for his family’s delicious breakfast sandwiches, he also raises and sells pork. Stewing pork is versatile; it can be used for Indian curry or French stew. Longlesson, Lewis Waite, Moxie Ridge, and Mariaville also raise pork. Pork butt (a shoulder cut) makes an excellent stew, as does fresh pork leg.
Christophe Robert, of Longlesson Farm, grows weaned piglets on pasture from spring until the snow falls. He also raises grass-fed beef until they are three to four years old to ensure flavorful and marbled meat. Since Christophe is from France, he recommends making boeuf bourguignon, a stew with red wine and vegetables including onions and mushrooms, or a Flemish stew, boeuf carbonnade, with dark beer. He offers cubed beef for stew, but suggests that chuck will make stew that is more moist and flavorful.
Lewis-Waite Farm also raises grass-fed beef. Janet Lampman, who works for owners Nancy and Alan Brown, said it’s important to stew or oven-braise grass fed beef very slowly. She likes shanks or round roast.
Ann Carnes, of Ramble Creek Farm, offers a variety of chicken. She finds the best cuts for cooking a chicken stew are thighs or drumsticks. Squashville Farm’s Himanee and Jim Gupta-Carlson offer fresh heritage-breed roasting chickens, from which they use leftover meat for soups and stews. In the last ten minutes of cooking, the chicken is added to warm through. Most recently Himanee made a Peruvian stew called Cazuela (casserole).
Bob and Mary Pratt, of Elihu Farm, have raised lambs for over 30 years. After weaning, lambs graze for three seasons, and eat hay or baleage in winter. The best stew cuts are shoulder, shanks and neck. They enjoy making Moroccan tagine, Indian curry, and osso bucco.
Come talk with the farmers at the market to get recipe details and other ideas.
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.
Co-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.