SARATOGA SPRINGS —At last weekend’s opening of the indoor Saratoga Farmers’ Market at the Lincoln Baths in Saratoga Spa State Park, vendor tables displayed the broad diversity of products being grown and produced in this region.
Outside the building, on either side of the circular driveway, several vendors sold a wide range of produce, fresh fish and décor items including pottery, autumn-themed floral centerpieces and evergreen swags. Inside the building, more than three dozen additional vendors and farms loaded their tables with everything from apples to duck eggs to handmade soap to pasture-raised Angus beef.
The steady stream of cars arriving at the park made it clear that local residents are fond not only of farm-fresh vegetables and handmade crafts, but also tasty Saturday morning market traditions such as fresh-baked pastries and muffins, steaming hot cocoa and coffee, warm egg sandwiches, cold-pressed juice and filling burritos.
Inside the building customers were shopping on two levels. The upper level showcases many vendors with prepared and ready-to-eat foods, including pastries, bread, cookies, smoothies, jam, crackers, pickles, olive tapenade and peanut butter. On the lower level, farms sold a variety of produce, milk, cheese, meat, honey, apples and handmade items including soap, goats’ milk lotions, herbal tick repellant and pottery.
With gift-givers already preparing for the upcoming holidays, here are some ideas for “buying local” this year and supporting the region’s farms and producers:
The market sells many items that make great gifts and are relatively small and easy to ship: handmade soap in a variety of scents and fun shapes that kids and adults adore; lotions made of goats’ milk; herbal tick repellant; beeswax candles; handcrafted pottery that is both functional and a work of art.
In addition to baked goods such as small cakes, pies, tea breads, cookies, pastries and brownies, vendors sell gift-ready breakfast items including granola, jam, honey, maple syrup and peanut butter (plain and with mixed-in extras).
Gifts from Nature
For Thanksgiving, local flowers, gourds and pumpkins at the market make a welcome gift for anyone you visit. Looking ahead to December, the market is already featuring evergreen swags and other small décor items and in a few weeks will have garland and Christmas trees. Unique glass terrariums in a range of sizes will last through the winter with a minimum of care.
Fresh Food and Market Gifts
For someone who would enjoy selecting their own fresh produce, special cheese or dairy items, fresh fish and locally-raised meat, a market gift certificate can be the perfect choice. Combine it with an insulated shopping bag or stainless steel mug, or a decorative pouch with wooden market tokens that can be spent like cash and your gift recipient will be ready to shop on Saturdays this winter. These items are available at the Market Table in the front lobby of the building.