Displaying items by tag: Saratoga Farmers' Market
Every year, the family of Saratoga Farmers’ Market assistant director Kristin Cleveland initiates Thanksgiving with the “great squash drop.” As Cleveland tells it, someone gets a giant squash from the farmers’ market and someone else drops it on the ground so that it breaks into pieces. Family members pick up the pieces, wash them off, and scoop out the pulp and seeds.
The pieces are then cut into bite-sized chunks, drizzled with some olive oil, salt and pepper, and roasted in a 400-degree oven until soft.
The tradition pays homage to the family’s favorite squash, the blue Hubbard. This squash is large, blue-hued and knobby on the outside. Inside, it is lushly orange and after roasting tastes like a sensual cross between a pumpkin and sweet potato.
The Hubbard, like many other squashes and late fall vegetables at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market, is all about having fun. Family and cooking and eating fun. These vegetables invite you to slow down and savor the flavorful diversity of what our farmers grow. In doing so, you become a part of our region’s agricultural heritage that stretches back centuries.
Fall vegetables are vital to our holiday palates, even as the centerpieces of our meals are often meats such as turkeys and ducks, and pork, beef, and goat roasts, all of which also are becoming available in mid-November through early winter. Vegetables enhance our meats, and offer a flavorful and healthful edge.
And, of course, they’re pretty. Imagine the blue Hubbard next to a startlingly bright green set of celery sticks, red carrots, purple potatoes, and a handful of Brussels sprouts balls. Add a head of radicchio, a bulb of garlic, some striped Chioggia beets, and perhaps a bunch of leafy kale. Your holiday meals will draw accolades for their beauty and bounty.
Look for these and other seasonal offerings on the main and upstairs floors of the Lincoln Baths Building, Saturdays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., as the Saratoga Farmers’ Market moves indoors for the winter and use the accompanying recipes to guide you in your cooking.
The holiday season is almost upon us! We at Saratoga Wine and Spirits are ready to assist you in pairing the perfect
wine, cocktail, or aperitif with your holiday meal.
For your pre-meal choices, old school cocktails and aperitifs like Manhattans and whisky sours are returning in a big way! These cocktails are often poured to be smaller in size but pack big taste. A few combinations we especially like are Bourbon and blood orange, a Brandy Alexander, and – here is a throwback - Grasshoppers with a premium crème d menthe and crème d cocoa. We also love local eggnog with a splash of either cognac or bourbon.
Sparkling wines also make a nice aperitif. One especially versatile sparkler is Cremant - a perfect choice for both before and after dinner. Before dinner it can be served with a splash of blood orange or a cordial like Chambord. It is slightly less bubbly than traditional champagnes and is also a good choice after dinner to aid digestion.
While wine and food pairing is neither an exact science nor are there concrete rules, we can make some suggestions for your holiday parties and meals. Red wines are an excellent choice with turkey. Pinot Noir, Burgundy, Beaujolais, Syrah, Grenache and even Zinfandel are some of our favorites.
Turkey lends itself to many different preparations. Many choose a traditionally roasted style. If you lean toward savory recipes with some spice you can pair it either with Pinot Noir or a French Burgundy. If you are roasting a turkey without a stuffing and with a light rub of fresh herbs served with simple roasted vegetables, try light Beaujolais.
You can also try deboning a turkey and applying a dry rub of spices. Either you or a butcher can roll and tie the turkey. You can then grill it until it forms a crust, then wrap it in foil and cook slowly on the grill or oven. This preparation nicely pairs with a Syrah. I have prepared it this way with softened dry fruit and some nuts as a stuffing. In this case you could serve a low alcohol Zinfandel or Grenache. Lower alcohol Zinfandel and Grenache wines will have a slight sweetness that will pair well with the sweetness of the dry fruit.
When paring wine with dinner you might even consider the side dishes you plan to serve rather than
how the turkey itself is prepared. If they are on the sweeter side such as candied sweet potatoes, you might consider either a Zinfandel or a Grenache. If they are on the spicier side like a dry rubbed roasted butternut squash, you might consider either Syrah or Pinot Noir.
Not all of us serve turkey. When serving beef roast or game, we suggest Cabernet and Bordeaux to complement the beef and game. We also recommend Sangiovese wines and blends. Malbec is a great choice as well: Customers say they are “easy drinking” and appeal to a variety of tastes.
If your holiday meals are vegetarian, Beaujolais and Chardonnays are excellent choices when preparing hearty roasted root vegetables. Rieslings or Gewürztraminer wines also nicely complement many vegetable dishes that feature a spice finish.
Enticing your guests to try something new can add to the holiday festivities. It is a great time of year to create your own mini wine-and-spirits tasting opportunity. You all may discover you enjoy something you thought you would never like!
Remember, when it comes to wine and food, there are no rules - only suggestions. Experiment with food and wine pairings this holiday season, and design your signature twist on the merriment!
From all of us at Saratoga Wine and Spirits, we wish you all a safe, happy, and healthy holiday season. We look forward to helping you discover a new taste to ring in the season!
Acres and acres of long, lush green grass. This is the first thing you notice about the Wm. H. Buckley Farm just off of Route 50 in Ballston Lake. It is the place you imagine all animals are raised, but in today’s factory food system; farms like this one are the exception to the norm.
Here, the 500 white American turkeys run around in flocks. Since May, they’ve spent their days outside in the summer sun, foraging for seeds and small insects. They are free to move around and go into a huge covered shelter whenever they wish.
“With the way they are raised, they are allowed to grow at a normal rate so they have some muscle. They’re not sloppy like contained birds,” said the farm’s owner, Mark Sacco.
Serve up this turkey on your Thanksgiving table and you’ll be rewarded with a flavor that just can’t be duplicated in any other way (and will make you grateful for all the bugs those pasture-raised birds ate).
“Customers say they’ve never tasted anything like it,” said Sacco.
Taste the Pasture-Raised Difference
The difference between his birds and those in the Big Ag system are startling. The average supermarket turkey spends its life stuffed into a windowless warehouse barn. Genetically-bred and given hormones to grow fast, these turkeys grow so big they can barely walk (much less run).
Living conditions like these are paired with a diet of pesticide-laden feed, creating a breeding ground for disease. Given antibiotics to control the outbreak of bacteria, these medicines get stored in the bird’s fat which can translate to antibiotic resistance and harder to treat infections in the humans that consume these meats.
After an unnecessarily cruel death (poultry is exempt from the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, which is enforced by the U.S. Department of Agriculture), these birds are pumped full of preservatives and “flavor enhancers” then frozen so they can be shipped across the country and into a supermarket near you.
By contrast, the Wm. H. Buckley Farm’s pasture-raised birds are given no hormones and no antibiotics. They are processed on-site with only hot water and refrigeration used to preserve them.
“The freshness is a huge deal. They have a rich flavor. They don’t taste watered down. Freezing dehydrates the birds. Ours are very tender and juicy because they’ve never been dehydrated,” said Sacco.
A Farm that’s More than a Barn
The reason that Mark and his wife, Elizabeth Sacco, have been able to raise turkeys in a 6-acre pasture rather than an enclosed barn has a lot to do with the farm’s most joyous workers: four Maremma sheepdogs.
These powerful fluffy white livestock guardian dogs work around the clock to assure Sacco’s flock remains safe from predators. Tecumschah, Una Tasi, Weya and Maria Tallchief are loyal, yet friendly. They eat only raw meat, prefer to sleep outside and do what comes naturally to them – courageously defending the fleet from a slew of attackers including coyotes, foxes, fishers, martins, minks, raccoons, opossums, hawks, eagles and owls.
“I would’ve lost every turkey without these dogs,” said Sacco.
The dogs’ Native American names hint at this property’s long heritage. Originally founded in the 1770’s and with structures still remaining that were built in the 1800’s, the Saccos bought it in 2013 from the Cappiello family.
The farmland had not been cultivated for years. Weeds were rampant, there were no fences and the roof was caving in. Sacco even found a red coat button on the property, likely left behind from the British soldiers who came through this area during the Revolutionary War.
Along with his parents, Kathy and Peter Sacco, and his three children, ages 11, 13 and 16, on the farm you’ll find a couple of butchers, cooks and a volunteer farm laborer.
Everything here is currently done by hand.
“I’m here to farm. We’re hand shoveling and feeding and pounding in our own fence posts,” said Sacco.
In addition to the turkeys, they raise 450 laying hens and 800 meat chickens, 60 beef cattle, 40 pigs, 3 sheep and have about 100 guinea hens running around the grounds.
Over-Delivering Every Day
The most surprising thing about this nearly 300-acre farm is just how much is happening here.
In addition to raising animals, processing and smoking their own meats, they run a butcher shop and farm store that’s open year-round. Selling items including steaks, eggs and even beef jerky, everything is reasonably-priced and fresh off the farm.
The farm café (open seasonally from April 1st until the last weekend in October), seats 24 comfortably in an adjacent rustic room at wide wood plank tables under a high ceiling and streams of natural sunlight.
Renting out two farmhouses on the property as event and wedding spaces, a large number of New York City Ballet Company members call this farm home when they’re in town for the summer season. After just a quick walk around, it’s easy to see why.
The regal colonial Lakeridge Farmhouse is flanked by massive trees in the front, has a children’s playhouse, a large pond in its expansive backyard and lake views in the distance. There are fireplaces in the living room and den, a modern kitchen, 7 bedrooms and 4 bathrooms.
The Buckley Farmhouse has 4 bedrooms and 3.5 baths, a large dining room, a living room with dual fireplaces and a third fireplace in the parlor. Just steps away from the back porch there is an outdoor fireplace and stunning grassland views.
Growing with Gusto
Farms have to innovate to survive in today’s marketplace. With all that is already happening at Wm. H. Buckley Farm, this year they also planted a variety of fruit trees and bushes. Grapes, blueberries, peaches, plums and apples will be sweetening their selection of offerings in a few years. Sacco however, pictures the farm to live on substantially longer.
“My mission is to have this stay a farm 100 years from now,” he said.
Today, he’s already offering more than many others.
“We’re on fire,” said Sacco.
Ready to roast up a special pasture-raised turkey this Thanksgiving? Wm. H. Buckley Farm fresh all natural turkeys are $4.99/lb. and weigh between 14 lbs. and 30 lbs. Order by November 16th.
Find easy online ordering at www.buckleyfarm.com, by calling 518-280-3562, or in-person at 946 Saratoga Road, Ballston Lake on Fridays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturdays and Sundays 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.
Mrs. London’s stand at the Winter Market. Photo by Eric Jenks.
As the Saratoga Farmers’ Market wraps up its outdoor season at High Rock Park this week with Customer Appreciation Day on Saturday, October 27 and Halloween festivities on Wednesday, October 31, vendors are gearing up for the indoor winter market at the historic Lincoln Baths at Saratoga Spa State Park.
Moving into the Baths for the colder months means two floors full of a wide variety of nourishing foods from our local farms, dairies, bakers, distillers, and speciality foods producers, plus an array of unique hand-made jewelry, clothing, artworks, and other items made by area artisans. Acoustic music and free children’s activities round out the festive atmosphere, making the Farmers’ Market a perfect place to shop and connect with the community any Saturday of the year.
The Lincoln Baths location offers ample parking, wheelchair accessibility, and a warm place for shopping no matter what the weather outside. Many vendors now take credit cards, and an ATM is on site for when cash is needed. Customers can also take advantage of the new FreshFoodNY App to order and pay online and have local products delivered curbside right in front of the Lincoln Baths!
Every Saturday in November and December features our annual Holiday Market, a gathering of vendors who make a wide variety of items perfect for gift giving. Saratoga Farmers’ Market gift certificates are also available to help fit even the pickiest person on your holiday list.
Customers can expect to find fresh late-season vegetables like cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and many types of greens, plus hearty storage crops including squash, onions and all kinds of root vegetables, and even greenhouse and hydroponically grown tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and herbs! Our agricultural products also include local milk, yogurt, cheeses, eggs, frozen chicken, beef, lamb, pork, goat, duck and turkey. In addition there are hot meals ready to eat for breakfast or lunch, and frozen soups, casseroles and other prepared dishes to take home for an easy meal anytime! Specialty foods at the indoor market this year include homemade jams, pickles, hummus, wheat grass juices, coffee, baked goods, meat jerky and other trail treats, and even puppy treats and vegetarian dog foods!
Special events at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market are listed in the calendar section of our brand new website at www.saratogafarmersmarket.org. Sign up for the weekly email newsletter to get updates about special events, musical guests, vendor promotions, and all-ages activities and educational workshops. Come to the Saratoga Farmers’ Market on Saturdays November through April, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Lincoln Baths.
Visit the Saratoga Farmers’ Market for perfect pumpkins to paint, carve and cook, and to get a sack full of other Halloween treats too! Between now and October 31, come to the market at High Rock Park any Saturday 9 am - 1 pm or Wednesday 3 - 6 pm to pick out products for constructing your own Halloween party, and on Wednesday October 31, come join ours!
Halloween’s mascot is the pumpkin, and at the market we celebrate this special squash in fresh baked goods, hot and cold beverages, decorations, dinners and desserts; we even have unique, locally made, pumpkin-spiced marshmallows! The tradition of carving pumpkins dates to Irish immigrants who came to America to escape famine. Legend says that Stingy Jack was a thief and trickster who even fooled the devil into making a promise not to take his soul when he died. The devil kept this promise, but God wouldn’t let an unsavory person like Jack into heaven. With just a burning coal in a turnip to use for a light, Jack’s been roaming the earth ever since. Because of this, children in Ireland put a glowing coal into a carved potato, turnip or beet to frighten away Stingy Jack. Once in America, pumpkins made the perfect lanterns. That is where we get Jack-O’-Lanterns.
Big pumpkins make the perfect carved jack-o-lantern, while small sugar pumpkins are delicious for roasting to make puree for pies, dips and pumpkin bread. Save the seeds of either to sprinkle with your favorite spice and roast as a quick crunchy snack.
If a party is on your Halloween schedule, try these tricks for some healthy and unusual treats: Use a small pumpkin or other gourd as a bowl. Fill it with a sweet pumpkin dip accompanied by sliced apples on the side, or try a savory dip or hummus with vegetable sticks.
Another fun idea is to make kebabs of fruit, veggies or cured meat and cheese. Stick them in a painted or carved pumpkin. It’ll make a wonderful centerpiece for your party table.
And on Halloween itself, come celebrate at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market! Trick-or-treat for candy at the vendors’ booths, win prizes in our costume contest, and paint a pumpkin in a mess-free craft! Before heading home, grab some veggies, a delicious prepared dish and a jug of sweet cider for a quick dinner on this spookiest evening of the year.
October brings a cornucopia of special activities to the Saratoga Farmers’ Market. Along with sales and tastings of autumn’s abundant harvest, we celebrate the last out-door markets of 2018 with llamas to cuddle, ponies to ride, a pumpkin contest, crafts and children’s activities, live music, and a Halloween Party!
Photo by Pattie Garrett.
• Saturday, October 13
Visit with Llamas, 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Stock up on fresh local farmers’ market food and beverages and meet the llamas of Dakota Ridge Farm! Pet them, learn about their origins and kind temperament and the many uses of their fiber. Children can also decorate a bookmark with llama fiber and everyone can check out the ponchos, blankets, socks, and other products made from high-quality llama fiber.
• Wednesday, October 24
Customer Appreciation Day, 3-6 p.m.
As the Saratoga Farmers’ Market’s 40th outdoor market season draws to a close, we say thank you to the community of Saratoga Springs for supporting local farms and businesses! We’ll have fall food tastings and special sales, live music, children’s activities and free pony rides from our friends at Adirondack Dreamcatcher Farm.
• Saturday, October 27
Fall Fest, 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.
In conjunction with the 17th Annual Downtown Business Association’s Fall Festival, the Saratoga Farmers’ Market will celebrate the fall season in beautiful downtown Saratoga Springs with special activities for people of all ages. Grab a hot breakfast sandwich and cider or coffee and a pastry, stock up on fresh local produce for hearty fall cooking, get a frozen casserole and other locally prepared dishes for quick healthy weeknight meals, enjoy a free fall craft, sample pumpkin-spiced treats, and enjoy the seasonal favorites of over 65 vendors gathered in High Rock Park.
• Wednesday, October 31
Halloween Party, 3-6 p.m.
Trick-or-treating, a kids’ costume contest with prizes, a pumpkin-painting craft, a children’s activity sponsored by the Saratoga Springs Public Library, music, delicious fall food tastings, and just the right amount of spooky fun!
Also, all of our market days feature fresh produce, dairy, eggs and meat from Saratoga and nearby counties; wine and spirits from our region’s vintners and distillers; cozy wool hats and other fall apparel; unique jewelry, pottery and specialty items made by local artisans; potted mums and gorgeous fall flower bouquets; and fresh baked goods, prepared food and live music! And as our outdoor season draws to a close, get ready to join us at our winter home every Saturday from November to April inside the Lincoln Baths at the Saratoga Spa State Park, 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. For more details see our website at SaratogaFarmersMarket.org or our Facebook page!
MINUTES BEFORE THE OPENING BELL RINGS Wednesdays at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market, Julz and Marty Irion fire up a burner to warm samples of their product, a gluten-free spätzle.
The bell rings and a heady aroma fills the air. Market goers walk by, stop and smell.
Marty and Julz Irion at Octoberfest 2018.
“Would you like a sample?” Marty asks.
As the shoppers taste the dish, Marty and Julz tell its story. Spätzle is a German dish made typically with wheat, flour, and eggs. The Irions’ version is gluten-free, made with a blend of tapioca, corn, and potato flours along with local milk and eggs, and nutmeg.
Together, Marty and Julz have created a no-boil spätzle that is unique, delicious, and the only one of its kind worldwide.
Marty was born in Erlangen, Germany and loved the dish, made the traditional way. He and Julz met in 1985, and married four years later. Julz started to make spätzle for the family.
Eight years ago, the couple needed to drop wheat from their diets. They were unwilling to let go of their love for spätzle so Julz began experimenting with alternatives. She found that creating a good gluten-free version of the German favorite was not easy. The experiments stretched out for seven years.
Until March 2017. “The family sat around the dinner table that night,” recalls Marty. “We tasted it and we all said at the same time, ‘This is so good.’ ” They also realized they needed to share it, and decided on March 11, 2017, to go forth with that plan.
Vermont Spätzle Company, based in Arlington, VT, sold its first spätzle in June 2017. The Irions offer it now at 60 stores and farmers’ markets.
The appeal of their spätzle goes beyond being gluten-free. On the packaging are the words “Package to pan in 90 seconds,” making spätzle a quick and easy dish to prepare.
For Julz, perfecting spätzle has been a carefully-thought-out craft. It’s not just the ingredients that matter, she says, but also the method of combining them, one at a time in layers. She emphasizes its versatility: Her spätzle absorbs flavor, retains moisture, and is readily combined with a wide range of ingredients. Marty meanwhile focuses on his love for spätzle, a love he shares as he offers samples and stories. Both he and Julz are gratified that so many customers keep coming back.
A couple of weeks ago, on my way back from a visit to a farm in Washington County, I stopped at Saratoga Apple in Schuylerville. Nate Darrow, who owns and operates Saratoga Apple with Christine Gaud, suggested I try a Williams Pride.
It was love at first bite.
Williams Pride apples are dark red, soft skinned and have a flesh flecked with streaks of red. Their flavor is delicately sweet, like summer itself. You can find them tomorrow at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market with a range of other early apples.
But hurry. Tomorrow might be the last chance to savor these fruits of summer before Saratoga Apple’s full array of fall apples roll in.
Why such a brief season? According to Darrow, summer apples do not store well. They are thinner and go soft quickly. Unlike most of the many varieties that sustain market goers throughout the year, the summer apples come and go fast.
“We call them fragile flowers,” says Darrow. “They are meant to be savored briefly, then forgotten until the following year.”
Among the “fragile flowers” are Williams Pride, Pristine, Zestar, Paula Red, and Ginger Gold. Like a bouquet of flowers, they look pretty on a plate, offering a range of colors: deep red, bright yellow, softly sheened green.
Their flavors also span a broad spectrum: extraordinarily sweet to boldly tart.
As I bit into the Williams Pride, memories of childhood surfaced. My family lived in India for a year in 1973-74. We got fresh fruits and vegetables almost daily from a vendor we called the sabzi wallah, which translates to the vegetable seller. He would pull into our compound and call out the residents to come. We would get apples that were small, red, and sweet.
This week, the calendar shifted from summer to fall. With it, the apples of fall – Cortlands, Empires, Northern Spies, and Belle de Boskoop, among others – are filling Saratoga Apple’s bins at the farmers’ market. Apple crisps, pies, and sauces beckon.
But tomorrow I hope to fill my bag with the last of the fragile flowers, for a final taste of summer until the following year.
Erin Luciani, owner of Lot 32 Flower Farm.
On Christie Road, off Route 29, lie 500 acres, deeded to the McNaughton family in 1763. Erin Luciani and her husband purchased 84 acres of it six years ago, with a plan for Erin to grow flowers from March through October and spend winters with her husband Philip, a Navy fighter pilot, wherever he was deployed. After his retirement, they would build a home on the land.
One night, while poring through historic records that a neighbor brought over, Erin Luciani discovered the land they had acquired was Lot 32. In that moment, she knew the name of her farm: Lot 32.
Lot 32 is the Saratoga Farmers’ Market’s newest vendor. Luciani joined the Saturday market in July, after a year of selling flowers at farmers’ markets in Greenwich, Cambridge, and Fort Edward. She offers cut flowers and pre-arranged bouquets. Stop by her stall on the south lawn and pick out blooms you like. Luciani will arrange them, or give you tips on doing it yourself. The bouquets will stay fresh for a week if you change the water daily and make fresh cuts to the stems.
The freshness of the bouquets is about the freshness of the flowers. Luciani grows all of her bouquet ingredients on an acre outdoors. She starts seeding in March with heat mats and grow lights, and transplants in May. Her busiest seasons are summers and falls when she works 14-hour days, doing four farmers’ markets as well as weddings and other events.
“It’s a working farm,” she says. “Pretty because there’s flowers, but not glamorous.”
And on a rainy morning, she adds, “muck boots are not a horrible idea.”
Most of her flowers are annuals, planted close together to encourage the growth of tall stems. Many are flowering herbs, vegetables and grains, such as clary sage, millet, kale and basil.
Luciani grew up in Los Angeles and taught math and science for 14 years. Her husband grew up in Washington County. On a family visit in the winter, she fell in love with the area’s beauty.
“I love having four seasons,” she says. “It creates a rhythm for flowers, for life overall.”
Chowderfest is just around the corner … well, it isn’t, but from a planner’s perspective it might very well be.
Part of farming is planning. So, even as farmers and regulars at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market are savoring the abundance of summer produce, many also are thinking ahead to winter.
Tomatoes, zucchini, corn, beans, and eggplant are plentiful now at the farmers’ market and in backyard gardens. As the days shorten and temperatures drop, they’ll disappear.
I have to confess that while my husband likes to cook down pounds of tomatoes into sauces to can, I enjoy eating what’s fresh and in season. But every once so often I get a hankering in winter for a taste of the summer – for “fresh” green beans in the legendary Thanksgiving green-bean casserole, for sweet corn in clam chowder in early February.
So how to get these tastes of summer in the middle of winter?
One simple answer is to freeze them now while they’re at their peak flavor.
I’ve also balked at freezing too much in the past, partly because I forget what I have frozen and partly because many recipes require blanching vegetables first to preserve their flavor. Blanching requires dropping vegetables into boiling water, cooking them for a few minutes, then plunging them into ice water. It prevents the enzymes in vegetables from deteriorating. But it is a chore.
However, blanching isn’t required for all vegetables, especially if you plan to use them within six months. I’ve decided to experiment this month. I’ll freeze tomatoes in freezer bags whole, probably for a month, for my husband to can. Zucchini, I’ll shred, for winter baking. Green beans are being trimmed and frozen for casseroles and stir fries. I’ll blanch a few eggplants and save them for bharta, a softly mashed Indian eggplant dish I like.
And, finally, corn. The cold of winter and the warmth of chowder are on my brain, so I’m going to try freezing some corn straight on the cob for shucking when I use it. I’ll also trying blanching some to ensure I have sweet, crunchy “fresh” corn when Chowderfest comes.