Displaying items by tag: Saratoga Farmers' Market

Normally, farmers’ markets are a space for customers to interact with their local food producers and community, sipping iced drinks while watching musicians play. But in the age of social distancing, making that gathering happen is impossible.

On March 20, Governor Cuomo declared farmers’ markets essential businesses. Local food vendors were allowed to sell their products as long as they followed certain requirements, such as limiting the number of customers at their tables and changing the presentation of their stalls in order to encourage social distancing.

Fast forward nearly half a year, and our vendors have settled into the new way of doing business. We caught up with some of our vendors to see what this means for them, and noticed a trend: for many, the coronavirus has all but slowed down sales.

“My sales have been up 200%,” states Christophe Robert, a local meat producer who runs Longlesson Farm, as he chalks “sold out” next to another one of his products. He notes that since markets are outside and enforcing social distancing, more customers feel at ease. Robert continues, “Customers know that it’s only one person who’s touched the packaging, it’s not a big store where you don’t know where the product has been before it landed in your hands.”

In an effort to maintain these safe production lines, vendors have changed their displays to allow for more visual browsing. 

“Usually, I have more of a built-up display, but now I make sure everything is spread out and visible, so [customers] don’t have to pick it up in order to admire it,” says Gretchen Tisch, artist and owner of Feathered Antler. She believes that the alterations have changed shopping behaviors, causing customers to make more instant decisions about the products they purchase.

One concern has arisen for vendors that work with outside businesses. When chatting with Trisha Nussbaum from the Food Florist, which specializes in pre-made meals, she mentions that it became harder to acquire raw ingredients, encountering a chicken, pork, and beef shortage due to COVID. Though this has slowed down their production, it hasn’t slowed down their order demands. 

“For us, we’re just doing what we always have, but with more ovens,” she summarizes with a laugh.

Saratoga Farmers’ Market runs at Wilton Mall 3-6 p.m. Wednesdays and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram. Subscribe to our newsletter: www.saratogafarmersmarket.org/weekly-newsletter.

FM BostonButt

Published in Food
Thursday, 30 July 2020 14:32

Echo Creek: A Growing Family Farm

After his first day of work at Pleasant Valley Farm, Mike Palulis came home to his wife Jennifer and told her that he had bought a tractor and wanted to try his own hand at farming. Despite his lack of experience in the field, the efficiency and dedication he saw at the farm resonated with him. 

As the owner and operator of The Sushi Bar at Stratton Mountain, Mike’s work was seasonal, and with a growing interest in where his food was sourced, he decided to spend his off-season working with Paul and Sandy Arnold at Pleasant Valley Farm in Argyle, NY. Jennifer, a former gardener, while caught a bit off guard, agreed to dive headfirst into this new adventure with her husband. 

Now in their seventh season of farming at Echo Creek Farm and joined by their three children, the Palulis have worked hard to make their small, family-run farm produce top quality, USDA certified organic vegetables that anyone could feel good about eating.

Jennifer speaks very highly of the Arnolds, who also attend the Saratoga Farmers’ Market every Saturday, describing their help as invaluable over the years. The efficiency of Pleasant Valley Farm is what initially grabbed Mike’s attention and impressed him so highly, that it inspired a change in his career and livelihood. The Arnolds have mentored the Palulis over the years on everything from the timing of planting their seeds to new and innovative structures that will improve growing capabilities in all seasons. The mindful manner of farming practiced by the Arnolds has been one of the strongest impressions that influenced Echo Creek Farm over the years.

When asked why Echo Creek chose to become a certified organic farm, Jennifer replied, “we’re a family farm, growing food in a respectful manner is so important.” With their three young children growing up and playing on the property, Jennifer and Mike knew they wanted the farm to be the cleanest possible environment. While it is not an easy process to become certified organic, the Palulis want to grow produce that they can feel good about feeding their children as well as the rest of the community.

Echo Creek Farm attends the Saratoga Farmers’ Market every Saturday, ensuring their natural, organic produce is accessible to all. Along with an assortment of vegetables and greens, Echo Creek also produces honey, eggs, potted herbs, and flowers. 

Saratoga Farmers’ Market runs at Wilton Mall 3-6 p.m. Wednesdays and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram. Subscribe to our newsletter – saratogafarmersmarket.org/weekly-newsletter.


Published in Food
Thursday, 23 July 2020 14:01

Starting Small Begins with Dreaming BIG

Before Bob and I started Elihu Farm, we lived in New Scotland, self-employed writing about acid precipitation and climate change (before it became a ‘hot topic’). 

Eventually one of us said, “We should do something agricultural.” Soon we bought our Elihu Farm in Easton, named for Revolutionary Patriot, Elihu Gifford. Instead of raising vegetables and berries, the book left in our house, “Raising Sheep the Modern Way,” pushed us that way. We’ve raised sheep since 1987. And concentrate on lamb cuts, pastured eggs, and wool.

The way we started has made me curious about how other Saratoga Farmers’ Market vendors began.

Before we joined the Market, we met Marge and Dave Randles. Dave and his brother ran Randles dairy farm, founded in 1860 in Argyle. Dave explained, “Seventeen years ago, the price of milk was abysmal, so we thought of doing value-added products.” 

Making cheese was Dave’s first idea, at Argyle Cheese Farm. But “Marge is a visionary,” he said, “who thought about a variety of products.” 

They offer fantastic yogurt, award-winning cheese, cheese spreads, cultured buttermilk, smoothies, gelato, and more. Check out tzatziki sauce, new breads, doughnuts, and baked goods. 

When the Market needed a new coffee vendor, Beth Trattel, Something’s Brewing, at first shared a small space with Argyle Cheese Farmer. “The Market was a better fit than my coffee shop in Greenwich.” 

“About two years ago, I started coffee roasting.” with sustainable beans. “It’s like making wine, or cooking,” she said. “…more creative and flexible.”

Her Battenkill River Coffee has several varieties, and she blends her own teas, blueberry lavender this week. In addition, she makes lemonade, iced black tea, iced mocha, Italian cream soda.

Mark Bascom and Lindsay Fisk planted Owl Wood Farm in Salem five years ago. They heard owls in woods at a leased farm and their current farm.

They studied environmental science at two colleges, including sustainable agriculture. Lindsay explained, “We started working on farms during summers, and took various apprenticeships after college.”

After the apprenticeships, they decided to raise Certified Naturally Grown vegetables, herbs, and strawberries. Lindsay said, “It’s a grassroots alternative to the National Organic Program, and we do it so we can be third-party verified.” At Farmers’ Market, salad greens are the most popular.

Saratoga Farmers’ Market runs at Wilton Mall 3-6 p.m. Wednesdays and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram. Subscribe to our newsletter: www.saratogafarmersmarket.org/weekly-newsletter.

FM IcedMocha

Published in Food

Connecting our community with locally produced food is a priority of the Saratoga Farmers’ Market. While this connection supports the local economy, it also ensures that people of all economic levels have access to fresh, locally-sourced food.

With this purpose, the Saratoga Farmers’ Market has partnered with the federal government’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), FreshConnect program, and Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program for WIC participants and Seniors (FMNP). 

“These programs are vital for providing our community with food while also supporting the livelihood of farmers and producers,” says Emily Meagher, the market’s administrator. “We are proud to offer these ongoing programs that encourage our community to shop local and eat healthily.”

At the farmers’ market, SNAP participants and veterans, service members, and their immediate families may use their Benefit card at the market information tent on Wednesdays and Saturdays where market staff can exchange EBT money for farmers’ market EBT coins. These coins never expire and may be spent directly with farmers’ market vendors. Vendors are not able to give cash change for purchases; however, they will make up any difference in product.

EBT coins may be used to purchase EBT allowable foods including fruit and vegetables, bread and baked goods, meat, fish, and poultry, dairy products, honey and maple products, and value-added foods like soup mixes, sauces, and jams and jellies. Herb plants and plants that produce food may also be purchased with EBT coins. 

In addition to participating in the SNAP program, the farmers’ market also offers FreshConnect coupons. For every $5 a customer spends with their EBT benefits, they will receive a $2 FreshConnect coupon to spend at the farmers’ market. 

Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (WIC and Senior) coupons may also be used to purchase fresh fruit and vegetables at the farmers’ market. FMNP senior coupons are given to individuals age 60+ who are living on a limited income. The Saratoga County Office for the Aging will be handing out booklets of 5, $4.00 FMNP coupons (limit one per person) to eligible seniors on Monday, July 27, 2-5 p.m., at the Clifton Park Farmers’ Market and Wednesday, August 5, 3-5 p.m., at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market. No proof of income or identification is needed; individuals simply sign a paper attesting that they are over the age of 60 and their income is under the limit.

The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is 3-6 p.m. Wednesdays and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays at the Wilton Mall. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram, and subscribe to our newsletter at www.saratogafarmersmarket.org/weekly-newsletter.

FM Kebabs

Published in Food
Thursday, 09 July 2020 13:50

A Farmers’ Market Guide to Berries

Sweet, sour, tart, juicy — berries are a highlight of the summer season. At the Saratoga Farmers’ Market, local farms bring the very best. The variety includes gooseberries, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and saskatoon berries. 

These locally sourced berries signify the diversity that grows in our region from late spring to early fall. Berries are known for their health benefits and antioxidants, but it’s their taste that makes them a coveted summertime treat.

Gooseberries are produced by a thorny shrub and are easy to grow, according to Laurie Kokinda, owner of Kokinda Farm. “Pick off the stems, rinse, and you can freeze them whole or cook them down first,” explains Kokinda. Gooseberries have a strawberry-grape flavor and are popular in jams, pies, and as a dessert topping. 

Strawberries can be found in bountiful harvests in the early summer with additional everbearing varieties that produce berries into late September. Locally grown strawberries are often smaller than those found in stores, however, they have much more flavor. 

Blueberries are just beginning to ripen and at Butternut Ridge Farm, Debbie Stevens reports that their harvest will begin in 1-2 weeks. Sweet, juicy, and loaded with antioxidants, blueberries are ideal for eating fresh, or in sauces and baked goods. 

Raspberries are cold-hardy and long-lived. They produce sweet, flavorful fruit suitable for fresh eating, sauces, and preserves. “Our raspberry and blackberry bushes have been on our farm for generations,” says Andy Burger of Burger’s Market Garden. “We hand-pick these all-natural, small-batch crops fresh for every market, and our purple raspberries are really wonderful.”

Blackberries are renowned for their nutritional value as they are packed with fiber and vitamins C and K. The delicate fruit is popular in desserts, jams, seedless jelly, and sometimes wine. “Get them while you can because their growing season can be short-lived depending on the weather,” advises Andy Burger. “Freezing these berries is as easy as spreading them on a baking sheet to freeze overnight and throwing them in a zip-lock freezer bag.”

Saskatoon berries are exclusively available at Scotch Ridge Berries & Trees. Saskatoons are similar to blueberries in their composition and nutrition, though they are more closely related to the apple family. Many describe their taste as having a sweet, nutty almond flavor. They typically ripen in late June or early July depending on the seasonal climate.

The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is 3-6 p.m. Wednesdays and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays at the Wilton Mall. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram, and subscribe to our newsletter at www.saratogafarmersmarket.org/weekly-newsletter.

FM BlueberryFool

Published in Food
Thursday, 02 July 2020 13:34

Out of the Frying Pan and into the Instant Pot

What are we having for dinner? This daily asked question requires a different answer each time, but the response must always sound delicious, nutritious, and most of all, be easy to make.

These exact requirements crossed Mary Song’s mind before she started Healthy Gourmet Kitchen. Prior to opening her business, Song worked as a business analyst designing large scale computer applications. She helped improve life for people around the world, but she never met any of them. She was working long hours and found it challenging to cook healthy dinners.

This inspired Song to create her business selling packaged seasoning blends, dips, soup mixes, and meal starters that can be made in a slow cooker, pressure cooker, or simmered in a saucepan for those who are too busy to spend much time cooking.

“I’ve loved to cook my entire life,” says Song, recalling how living in the Middle East and France influenced her cooking style. In the Middle East, she lived in an international expat community, where cooking was “like an art with a lot of heart.” While in France, she was taught traditional French cuisine and to use the freshest ingredients, stating that the process was “a bit fussy - but this was the 1980s after all!”

Song learned to combine the Middle Eastern and French food cultures and not to be afraid of spices, herbs, and flavor. She advises her customers to step outside their comfort zone when it comes to food, so rather than offering bland mixes, Healthy Gourmet Kitchen invites you to make flavorful and exciting dishes like a “Coconut Curry Chickpea Stew” or “Chicken Marengo.”

Everything is blended and mixed by hand and packed into clear packaging so customers are able to see the ingredients they are buying. Plus, there are no unnecessary added ingredients like you find in store-bought mixes. “When I first started Healthy Gourmet Kitchen there were few or no low sodium, low-fat options that also tasted great,” says Song, “I felt there was an opportunity to create healthy, delicious meal starters that didn't rely on salt, sugar or chemicals for flavor.”

When she created her business, Song knew she wanted to participate in the Saratoga Farmers’ Market to finally be able to meet the people she helps. Healthy Gourmet Kitchen attends the market on Saturdays and will be back at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market on July 11!

The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is 3-6 p.m. Wednesdays and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays at the Wilton Mall. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram, and subscribe to our newsletter at www.saratogafarmersmarket.org/weekly-newsletter.

FM InstPotBolognes

Published in Food
Thursday, 25 June 2020 13:20

POP Club Offers Children’s Activities To-Go

Summer has officially begun and throughout the state, summertime activities have been re-imagined to ensure safety and to stop the spread of COVID-19. The Saratoga Farmers’ Market’s Power of Produce Club, or POP Club, will continue to offer children nutrition education with new take-home activities and online support..

Beginning on July 8, children can participate in POP Club by visiting the Saratoga Farmers’ Market on Wednesdays with their parents or caregivers. At the market, they will receive an activity bag “to go.” The POP Club activity bag will include a take-home activity, recipe cards, and a $2 POP coin that can be used to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables at the farmers’ market. POP Passports will not be handed out and stamped this year, but families can anticipate nourishing activities with complete directions and supplies. Although the club is open to children, it is especially geared toward those aged 5-12.

In addition to weekly POP Club ‘to go’ bags, parents and caregivers can visit the farmers’ market’s website for video tutorials and photos that pair with each activity. This online platform will give children and parents the opportunity to ask questions, share experiences, and connect with the farmers’ market for additional support.

“We are very happy to host our fifth season of POP Club with the generous support of the Christopher Dailey Foundation,” says Emily Meagher, market administrator. “It’s important that we give children the tools to be involved in agriculture and community, to help them understand that food and farming are intrinsically connected.”

POP Club continues to be a free program and will run for 8 weeks beginning on Wednesday, July 8, and running through the end of August. POP Club activity bags will be available at the green market information tent on Wednesday, 3-6 p.m. at the farmers’ market.

This season’s take-home activities include crafts, recipes, experiments, and information using seasonal fruits and vegetables as POP Club continues to give both children and their parents a chance to learn about local foods and farming in a hands-on way. 

Buying produce with a POP coin gives children a chance to meet farmers, learn money skills, and make smart food choices.

The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is 3-6 p.m. Wednesdays and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays at the Wilton Mall. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and subscribe to our newsletter at www.saratogafarmersmarket.org/weekly-newsletter.

FM StrawberryShortcake

Published in Food
Thursday, 18 June 2020 13:22

Fresh Herbs Bring Flavor and Beauty to Food

At the farmers’ market, fragrant herb bouquets and pots spilling with over with leafy herb plants offer market-goers an abundance of culinary exploration. While common herbs do compliment specific foods, there are no rules for what to use them in. Fresh herbs may be mixed and matched to your liking. 

Common herbs can be put into two categories: woody herbs such as thyme, rosemary, and sage, and soft herbs such as basil, parsley, and cilantro. Woody herbs can be added earlier in the cooking process while soft herbs are commonly added towards the end of the cooking process or as a garnish. 

Herbs can be easily stored upright in a jar of water or between a damp paper towel in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Here are just some of the common herbs available on Wednesdays and Saturdays at the farmers’ market.

Basil is recognized by its glossy, pointed leaves and sweet-savory flavor. Basil pairs well with tomatoes, strawberries, mozzarella, beef, and shrimp.

Parsley is a mild bitter herb that many use as a garnish for food, but it helps dishes like stews achieve a more balanced flavor. As an added benefit, parsley can aid in digestion. 

Cilantro is a delicate citrusy herb most commonly used fresh at the end of cooking. Cilantro is popular in Asian, Indian, Middle Eastern, and Mexican cuisines.

Mint has a subtly sweet and peppery flavor, and it is used for a variety of culinary and medicinal purposes. Its powerful flavor compliments lamb, feta, mojitos, and even chocolate.

Dill is a delicate and feathery herb with slender stems. Dill pairs with salmon, cucumber, and potatoes, and is commonly used in pickling mixtures, dressings, and egg dishes. 

Chives have a subtly oniony flavor with hints of garlic. Recognizable by its grass-like leaves and vibrant green color, chives make the perfect garnish for dishes with eggs or potatoes.

Thyme has small, pale green leaves and pungent aroma that pairs well with hearty meat like pork and chicken. Thyme holds up well to heat and can be used during the cooking process.

Oregano is a sweet, slightly peppery member of the mint family. This herb is commonly used in dishes like tomato sauce, yogurt sauce, and kebabs, and is a staple in Italian and Greek cuisine.

Rosemary has been prized for its sturdy, aromatic sprigs and oil for centuries. Its needle-like leaves can be used for roasted vegetables, goat cheese, and even flavorful bundt cakes. 

Sage is known for its fuzzy leaves and savory flavor with a peppery bite. Fresh sage leaves are commonly used in sausage and gnocchi. Sage can be cooked or fried as a garnish for squash.

The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is 3-6 p.m. Wednesdays and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays at the Wilton Mall. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

FM HerbYogurtDip

Published in Food
Thursday, 11 June 2020 14:26

Cheesemaking is a Passion, an Art

basic cheese can be easy to make. You heat milk to a particular temperature, stir in an agent such as vinegar or lemon juice to create curds, drain off the liquid known as whey, and wait for the curds to cool. Making a really great cheese, however, is more complex. 

“It is about using old world craftsman methods to produce cheese in a deliberate and careful, hand-crafted way,” says Sheila Flanagan of Nettle Meadow. “It is not overly industrialized or mechanized. It is connected to the animals whose milk is used. It is a way of life.” 

That way of life is reflected in the broad array of cheeses that Nettle Meadow brings each Saturday to the Saratoga Farmers’ Market, along with R&G Cheese Maker and Argyle Cheese Farmer.

The cheeses are made from goat, sheep, and cow’s milk. They include soft chevres, camemberts, cheddars, mozzarellas, manchegos, blue cheeses, and more. 

Artisan cheesemakers such as Flanagan, Argyle’s Marge Randles, and R&G owner Sean O’Connor draw on historic customs to create cheeses with minimal machinery. Often, recipes are unique to the cheesemaker and evolve over years. 

For instance, Dave Randles’s favorite cheese – Mercy – evolved out of a recipe that Marge found in an old British cookbook, accompanied by several farmstead processes for making cheddar cheese.

Flanagan notes that many Nettle Meadow cheeses are complicated to make. “Those complexities make them stand out.” 

One favorite – Briar Summit – is made with goat, cow and sheep milk with raspberry leaf tea and cream added in. The ratios of milk vary by season. Two cultures plus a coagulant create the cheese. 

“After two hours, the curd is cut and then we wait an additional two hours to pour the cheese by hand into pyramid molds,” Flanagan says. “The next morning, we flip the molds and let the cheese fall out of them and place them on a tray where they travel down to the again cellar to rest for two days.”

Flanagan applies salt and a mold powder to help ripen and flavor the cheese. She turns it every few days while it ages.

Flanagan says, “It is a true cheesemaker’s cheese.” 

The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is 3-6 p.m. Wednesdays and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays at the Wilton Mall. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and subscribe to our newsletter at www.saratogafarmersmarket.org/weekly-newsletter.

FM MacCheese

Published in Food

Weekends are market days for many farmers. But the Saratoga Farmers’ Market would like to let you in on a secret – there’s a midweek market, as well.

Tucked into a corner of the Wilton Mall parking lot is the Wednesday market, featuring about 15 local farmers and prepared food vendors. From 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., they offer eggs, fresh produce, plants, baked goods, and prepared foods.

“It’s our best-kept secret,” says market board president Beth Trattel. “A simple way to pick up the freshest foods in a safe, no-fuss environment.”

In years past, the market association promoted its Wednesday market as a family-friendly space to gather for music, children’s games, and food purchases. This year, with COVID-19 restrictions on public gatherings in place, live music and games are on pause. But farmers are still coming.

Who’s there and what are they bringing? 

Here’s a snapshot.

As you enter the market from the former Bon Ton parking lot, flowering plants and other seedlings from Burger Farm greet you. Nearby, Shushan Hydro Farm offers hydroponically grown herbs and vegetables. Surrounding Shushan are baked confections from The Chocolate Spoon, casseroles from The Food Florist, and Mediterranean meals to go from Euro Delicacies.

Further into the market are more farmers: Owl Wood Farm and Gomez Veggie Ville with their colorful piles of vegetables; eggs, chicken, and more vegetables at Squashville and Greenjeans farms; mushrooms and lavender at 518 Farms; and apples and cider of both the sweet and hard type from Saratoga Apple. On another end, you’ll find My Dacha Slovenian Café with its meals-to-go offerings. And tucked in between other stalls are Saratoga Garlic with its pickled garlic and aioli offerings, Gifford Farms with produce and baked goods; and Mister Edge’s popular knife sharpening service.

More vendors will start attending as the state eases its COVID-19 restrictions.

For now, Wednesday remains a great space to get the fresh ingredients for one or two meals, perhaps a prepared meal for Friday, and a few sweet treats. Try carrots dipped in aioli, scrambled eggs with arugula, radishes and lettuce tossed in a salad, and more.

The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is 3-6 p.m. Wednesdays and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays at the Wilton Mall. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and subscribe to our newsletter at www.saratogafarmersmarket.org/weekly-newsletter

Wednesday Market Vendor List

Wednesday’s Market Offers: Vegetables, Herbs, Fruit, Mushrooms, Meat, Poultry, Eggs, Handmade Goods, Jams & Jellies, Flowers, Bedding Plants & Potted Plants, Honey, Maple Syrup, Baked Goods, Take-Home Meals & Ready-to-Eat Foods, Knife & Tool Sharpening

  • 518 Farms 
  • Burger’s Market Garden
  • Euro Delicacies
  • Gifford Farms
  • Gómez Veggie Ville
  • Goode Farm 
  • Green Jeans Market Farm 
  • Left Field 
  • Mister Edge Sharpening
  • My Dacha Slovenian Café
  • Old World Farm
  • Owl Wood Farm 
  • Saratoga Apple
  • Saratoga Garlic Company 
  • Scotch Ridge Berry Farm 
  • Squashville Farm
  • The Chocolate Spoon 
  • The Food Florist
  • Underwood’s Greenhouse / Shushan Valley Hydro Farm 

Published in Food
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