Displaying items by tag: saratoga springs

Ensuring that fresh, local, and healthy foods are accessible to the local community is a top priority for farmers’ markets. Thankfully, there are various programs available that can help bridge the gap.

Year-round at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market’s Wednesday and Saturday markets, customers who own an EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer) card can exchange their SNAP benefits for farmers’ market tokens to purchase fresh 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 are also approved purchases with EBT coins. The market additionally offers SNAP incentive programs, such as FreshConnect, that provide extra coupons or tokens to spend, meaning customers receive more value than they spend. With FreshConnect, every $5 a customer spends with their EBT benefits; they receive a $2 FreshConnect coupon to spend at the farmers’ market.

More seasonally, the Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) is a New York State program that offers WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) participants and seniors coupons to purchase fresh fruit and vegetables at the farmers’ market. Our local WIC office distributes WIC coupons. Senior coupons will be distributed by the Saratoga County Office for the Aging on-site at the Saratoga market on Saturday, August 7 (9 a.m.-1 p.m.) and Wednesday, August 11 (3-5 p.m.) at High Rock Park. The Office for the Aging will also distribute the coupons at the Clifton Park market on Monday, July 26 (2-5 p.m.) and Monday, August 16 (2-5 p.m.) at the Shenendehowa United Methodist Church. Individuals aged 60+ who live on a limited income may pick up a booklet of coupons containing five $4 coupons (limit one per person). 

To spend your WIC or Senior FMNP coupons at the market, look for the blue poster at participating vendors’ stalls or simply stop by the market information table for a complete list of farms accepting FMNP coupons. The FMNP season runs from June through October, after which unused coupons expire.

Utilizing the available nutrition assistance programs is a win-win-win situation. Low-income consumers have more access to healthy foods, local farmers gain income and connect with new customers, and more food dollars stay in the local economy.

The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is open Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Wednesdays from 3 to 6 p.m. at High Rock Park. Find us online at saratogafarmersmarket.org and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

FM VeggieStirFry

Published in Food
Thursday, 22 July 2021 14:05

Celebrate Saratoga Window Winners

1st Place: Lifestyles of Saratoga - Lifestyles' “Queen of Saratoga” themed window honors Marylou Whitney.
2nd Place: Tailgate and Party - Street mural depicting a bright scene of galloping horses and jockeys inspired by the Saratoga Race Course.
3rd Place: G. Willikers - "And they're at the gate..." Playful display of toy horses "at the gate."

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Downtown Saratoga welcomed racing fans back to the city with a creative racing-themed contest for local business owners – and the results are in.

The Saratoga Springs Downtown Business Association has recognized the winners of the Celebrate Saratoga window decorating contest, sponsored by NYRA. Participating local businesses in downtown Saratoga decorated their storefronts in a racing theme for the contest. 

“The collaboration between the Downtown Business Association and NYRA represents the community collaboration that is so important in a city like ours,” said Heidi Owen-West, Vice President of the Saratoga Springs Downtown Business Association. 

The decorations were judged on July 14 by volunteer judges Liz Bishop, Walt Adams, and Tom Durkin. The winners were announced during opening weekend at the track, on Saturday, July 17, in the winner’s circle. 

First place went to Lifestyles of Saratoga, who won two tickets to the Rail at 1863 club, including buffet and lunch. Second place went to Tailgate and Party, who won two Clubhouse Reserved Seats. And, third place went to G. Willikers, who won two Grandstand Reserved Seats. 

Owen-West, who is also the owner of Lifestyles of Saratoga, and her team decorated their storefront as a tribute to Marylou Whitney. There was no racing season in 2020, following her passing in 2019, and so Owen-West and her team came up with the idea to honor her.

“It feels great winning, but most important were the comments,” said Owen-West. “People have walked in and choked up with tears and thanked us for our tribute to Marylou Whitney. It really feels like Saratoga is back and racing again.”

Other participating downtown locations included: Celtic Treasures, Complexions Spa, Crafters Gallery, Holiday Inn Saratoga Springs. Impressions of Saratoga, Saratoga Dance, Saratoga National Bank, Saratoga Saddlery, Saratoga Tea and Honey, Spoken Boutique, The Dark Horse Mercantile, and Walt and Whitman Brewing. 

Published in News

Top quality local restaurants give huge compliments to many Saratoga Farmers’ Market vendors by using their products. Vendors make sure they also have plenty of products for the Market.

Kelley Hillis, from Puckers Gourmet, explained that Saratoga Springs restaurants approached them for their pickles. They sell Kim Chi and Pak Dong to Thorn and Roots at the Fresh Market Plaza, and five-gallon pails of Kim Chi to the Kraverie on Beekman Street. Their pickles have won several awards, including first place at the International Rosendale Pickle Festival.

Amy Smith from Saratoga Arms BnB was the first to approached Elihu Farm for their eggs. In addition, The Mouzon House uses their eggs, as well as lamb. In June, Mouzon bought several boneless butterflied legs of lamb. Elihu Farm also sells lamb to Amuse on Broadway, and eggs to 15 Church, Adelphi Hotel, Comfort Kitchen, and Whole Harvest.

The Mouzon House, a Farm to Table restaurant, buys products from many farms. Dave Pedinotti said they use vegetables from Gomez Veggie Ville, including their heirloom tomatoes for Capreses. Mouzon also uses Gomez’s strawberries for “Strawberry Rhubarb Sparkler” cocktail.

Dave and Marge Randles, from the award-winning Argyle Cheese Farmer, sell their yogurt to Dizzy Chicken Barbecue in Saratoga, cheese curds to Northway Brewing in Queensbury, buttermilk to Common Roots Brewing Company in South Glens Falls, and Unified Beer Works’ café in Malta.

Nettle Meadow Farm, based in Thurman, makes cheese from milk from goats, sheep, and cows. Their varieties have won many awards, especially in 2018 and 2020 from the Good Food Foundation for Kunik. That award was special for Sheila Flanagan and Lorraine Lambiase because the Foundation also considers care for animals, the environment, and staff. Distributors send their cheese to all states, except Alaska.

Another vegetable farmer, Leaning Birch Farm, sells to Hamlet & Ghost in Saratoga. Nic Fera said they use their salad mix, pea shoots and tomatoes. Bobby Chandler noted that Mariaville Mushroom Men sells to Jack’s Oyster House in Albany, and Common Roots. And Laurie Kokinda sells Kokinda Farm’s French beans to Lake Ridge Restaurant in Round Lake.

The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is open Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at High Rock Park. And on Wednesdays from 3 to 6 p.m. also at High Rock Park. Find us online at saratogafarmersmarket.org and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.  

FM CucumberSalad

Published in Food

“All life begins with mother. Mother Earth gave birth to us all, and it is our responsibility to take care of her.”

These words from Lovin’ Mama Farm owners Corinne Hansch and Matthew Leon, explain why they farm. Using organic and regenerative methods to grow food helps heal the earth and represents farming as stewardship. 

Lovin’ Mama joined the Saratoga Farmers’ Market this year and offers Certified Organic vegetables, microgreens, herbs, and cut flowers each Saturday. 

Hansch and Leon use no-till methods that have given their soil resilience amid climate change. “We lay down a thick layer of our compost/peat moss mix right on top of the bed, then plant right into that,” they explain. “The worm activity is just amazing, the thick layer of compost suppresses weeds, and the plants go crazy with growth.”

Without tillage, they explain, soil aggregates form, enabling the holding and acceptance of water. Soil neither dries out in times of drought nor floods during heavy rains. 

Hansch grew up with parents who were market gardeners. She worked on farms along the West Coast and studied biology. Leon grew up in New York City and studied agricultural ecology. He was more a lover of the outdoors than of farming – until he met Hansch.

Their love story began in a permaculture course. There, they saw how sustainable farming could create solutions in “a world troubled with environmental disasters and social inequalities.” For Hansch, farming linked gardening with positive change. For Leon, farming enabled an intersection between nature, the outdoors, and a basic need for food.

They started Lovin’ Mama in northern California, regenerating an abandoned field with plantings of such perennials as fruit trees, berries, and asparagus. Then, a blow came: The landowner terminated their lease, leaving them homeless and their hearts broken.

For farmers like Hansch and Leon, losing land is like losing a loved one. However, when Leon’s father offered them space to farm land he owned in Amsterdam, they knew they could begin anew. 

In New York, they have built a network of CSA subscribers, market goers, employees, and family. Leon’s parents offer child care and other support; a niece manages one of their farmers’ markets, and their children – Sam, 15; Oak, 13; and Rosemary, 9 – are skilled, trustworthy workers who grew up with the farm, love it, and know it intuitively. 

The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is open Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Wilton Mall and Wednesdays from 3 to 6 p.m. at High Rock Park.  Find us online at saratogafarmersmarket.org and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

FM CarrotTopPesto

Published in Food
Thursday, 01 July 2021 13:28

Cooking Fresh and Flavorful Summer Meals

At home, when the weather gets hot, we often turn to cool meals and eat al fresco outside on the patio. It’s time for hearty summer salads, refreshing chilled soups, cold drinks and smoothies, and grilling flavorful fish, seafood, meat, and poultry.

Summer eating becomes a way to connect with our immediate environment and the seasons - a ritual that we savor in Upstate New York. For inspiration, Diane Whitten, Food and Nutrition Educator for Cornell Cooperative Extension in Saratoga County, reminds us that fresh food is the best food. “In the summer, it’s so much easier to eat healthy with fresh produce,” says Whitten. “At the farmers’ market, the produce is so fresh and flavorful that it calls out to you. You can’t get it any fresher,” she adds.

Produce sold at the farmers’ market is harvested sometimes within hours of being placed on market tables and sold to customers. “Because it’s so fresh, fruits, vegetables, and herbs are flavorful on their own with little added ingredients,” explains Whitten.

In following the farmers’ market tradition of eating fresh, Diane Whitten shares three of her favorite in-season summer recipes: chilled cucumber soup, green peanut butter and banana smoothie, and sesame snow peas. These recipes feature in-season ingredients available at this week’s markets.

The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is open Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Wilton Mall and Wednesdays from 3 to 6 p.m. at High Rock Park.  Find us online at saratogafarmersmarket.org and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

FM SnowPeasFM Recipes Cucumber BananaSmoothie

Published in Food

School’s out for summer! That means a few months of family fun, relaxing, and, well... boredom. The Saratoga Farmers’ Market’s Power of Produce (POP) Club is here to keep local kids active and learning all summer long with educational activities, interactions with their local farmers, and challenges to try fresh market produce to get even the pickiest eaters to try new fruits and veggies.

This year’s POP Club, now in its 6th season, will run June 30 through September 1, every Wednesday at the High Rock Park market. Children may show up any time between 3-6 p.m. to participate in a fun, educational activity. Every week’s activity will be hosted by a community guest, including the Saratoga Springs Public Library, Cornell Cooperative Extension Food & Nutrition, Caffe Lena Music School, The Children’s Museum of Saratoga, Northern Rivers, and C.R.E.A.T.E. Community Studios. Children may participate in cooking demonstrations, scavenger hunts, crafts, gardening, and farmer meet and greet that provide nutrition and education. 

Children who participate are given a $2 POP coin to spend on fresh fruit and vegetables at the market, and they will earn a stamp in their POP Passport - four stamps earn them a prize. Buying produce with a POP coin gives kids the opportunity to meet farmers, learn money skills, and make smart food choices. “It’s great to see kids as young as kindergarteners come up to our stand, excited to shop for themselves. Especially when that week’s POP tasting has been a fruit or vegetable they hadn’t tried before but realize they like, and then spend their token to get more,” says Mark Bascom, owner of Owl Wood Farm and the market association’s president.

POP Club is open to all local children but is especially geared toward those aged 5-12. It is a free program, made possible through the generous support of the Christopher Dailey Foundation and the Adirondack Trust Company.

On Wednesday, July 7, 3-6 p.m., don’t miss POP Club at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market’s ‘End of School Celebration.’ This free family event will offer activities for children of all ages and a concert by Jack and Steve Zucchini (formerly of The Zucchini Brothers)!

The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is open Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Wilton Mall and Wednesdays from 3 to 6 p.m. at High Rock Park.  Find us online at saratogafarmersmarket.org and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

FM KentuckyKissCocktail

Published in Food
Thursday, 17 June 2021 14:44

A Fresher Way to Get through the Week

Weekend farmers’ markets are a great way to unwind from the week, spend time with family and friends, and stock your fridge for the week ahead. But there’s no need to wait until the weekend to do this - the Saratoga Farmers’ Market’s midweek market, rain or shine, on Wednesdays, 3-6 pm, offers a way to get the freshest foods - usually picked off the land the day before or even that morning.

This year’s return of the midweek market to downtown Saratoga in High Rock Park offers a more intimate, slower-paced alternative to the Saturday markets. Product offerings include fresh produce, plants and flowers, eggs, baked goods, prepared foods, tool sharpening services, and more.

Vendors appreciate the market’s different characteristics. “Midweek markets are a great opportunity for farmers since it provides a platform to sell your freshest products that otherwise might not make it to the weekend,” says Charles Holub, owner of Scotch Ridge Berry & Tree Farm. He notes that since his farm doesn’t use pesticides or herbicides, they must pick berries every other day to avoid critters. “And naturally grown fruit doesn’t keep long after picking - just a day or two - so these midweek markets let us sell more of our product,” Holub adds.

For customers, the smaller size of the Wednesday market is a draw, especially this year. “Many customers prefer the smaller crowds - plus it makes it easier to have more meaningful personal interactions with customers,” says Becky Dennison of Shushan Valley Hydro Farms. “Since there’s less traffic, products don’t sell out as quickly, and there’s not such a rush for customers to get to the market. The atmosphere is very laid back,” adds Charles Holub.

A family-friendly affair, this season’s Wednesday 

markets will offer the Power of Produce Club with themed activities for children of all ages (running June 30th through September 1). Market-goers can also expect weekly live music and community guests (including the Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Master Gardeners offering gardening tips and soil testing every third Wednesday of the month). Also, on Wednesday, July 21 and Wednesday, August 11, representatives from the Office for the Aging will hand out free Farmer’s Market Nutrition Program coupons to be spent on fruits and vegetables at the farmers’ market.

The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is open Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Wilton Mall and Wednesdays from 3 to 6 p.m. at High Rock Park.  Find us online at saratogafarmersmarket.org and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

FM KentuckyKissCocktail

Published in Food

If you’re a regular customer at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market, you will likely recognize vendor Marcie Place standing behind her tables of neatly packaged white bakery boxes sporting mouthwatering labels like “Vanilla Ricotta Tea Biscuits” and “Pineapple Almond Teacake.” 

Place, owner of The Chocolate Spoon and long-time vendor of the Saratoga Farmers’ Market, brings her array of fresh baked goods every week to the Wednesday and Saturday markets. The secret to her success in baking? Using fresh, local ingredients from her fellow vendors at the farmers’ market. 

“I use eggs from Elihu Farm, jam from Kokinda Farm, herbs from Burger’s Market Garden, vegetables from Owl Wood Farm and Gomez Veggie Ville, berries from Scotch Ridge Berry Farm, apples from Saratoga Apple… Even the backyard herbs of Mister Edge, our knife sharpener, I use in my cocktail cookies!” 

Place says she finds the quality of local products superior and elevates the taste of her baked goods. She’s even put it to the test in front of a live audience. “I did a demonstration at an elementary school where I baked two sets of butter cookies: one using store-bought eggs versus one using eggs from Elihu Farm,” says Place. She explained that the cookies came out a beautiful golden color when using the fresh eggs from Mary and Bob Pratt of Elihu Farm. “Truly a difference you can both see and taste, and the kids agreed!” Place notes. 

When she first started selling at the farmers’ market, Place admits her baked goods were pretty traditional. However, the seasonal products at the market inspired her to start experimenting more with her recipes and incorporate fresh ingredients for unique flavor combinations. She says farmers’ market customers are very helpful in recommending new recipes, and she is always open to suggestions. For example, she recently stumbled upon pineapple sage at the market and decided to pair it with coconut for a new shortbread cookie.

When asked what customers will have to look forward to this month, Place reveals: “Rhubarb and berries are coming back in season right now, so expect lots of strawberry rhubarb pies and blueberry and strawberry muffins!”

The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is open Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Wilton Mall and Wednesdays from 3 to 6 p.m. at High Rock Park.  Find us online at saratogafarmersmarket.org and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

FM KentuckyKissCocktail

Published in Food
Thursday, 10 June 2021 13:19

Walking the Horses to Saratoga

Born in 1826, Stephen Sanford worked with his father John and then on his own to create the Sanford carpet mills in Amsterdam. He went to West Point, served in Congress and was a friend of Ulysses S. Grant.

In the early twentieth century, thoroughbred horses owned by Sanford were walked each summer to Saratoga from Sanford’s Hurricana Farm. Racing Hall of Fame trainer Hollie Hughes, who served three generations of Sanfords, recalled the annual trek in Alex M. Robb’s book, “The Sanfords of Amsterdam.” 

The trip began at the Sanford horse farm on what is now Route 30 in the town of Amsterdam.  Efforts are underway to preserve remaining buildings at the complex, originally called Hurricana Farm but later known as the Sanford Stud Farm.

“First, we’d go up to Hagaman, a couple of miles away, and then we’d head for Top Notch, or West Galway, as it’s called,” Hughes said.  “That would be about five miles.  Then we’d go three miles straight east to Galway village.  Then we’d go to West Milton, about seven miles farther east, and there we’d stop at the old Dutch Inn and feed the horses and men.  My, those breakfasts tasted good!  By that time, it would be close to daylight.  On the way over, half the horses would be under saddle with boys up.  After breakfast the saddles were put on the others which had been led by the men up to this point, and we’d walk the remaining ten miles to Saratoga, coming in by Geyser Spring.”

In 1901, Sanford built his own stable on Nelson Avenue in Saratoga.  He had as many as 35 horses at a time.  When asked why he kept so many horses, the industrialist replied he was not in the horse racing business for “margin,” in other words for profit. 

From 1903 through 1907, the Sanfords invited the people of Amsterdam to the Sanford Matinee Races at Hurricana on the Sunday closest to Fourth of July.  Trolleys ran continuously up to Market and Meadow Streets.  From there, horse drawn wagons took people to the farm.  Some automobiles went to the farm as well but were not admitted to the grounds.  There was food, drink, music and, of course, horse racing. Some 15,000 attended the event during its last year.

New York State outlawed betting in 1907 and racing stopped at Saratoga.  Temporarily, the Sanfords sold most of their horses to out-of-staters and Canadians, according to Robb.

Stephen Sanford was blind the last five years of his life. The old gentleman doted on his grandchildren, in particular his namesake, born in 1899.  He gave the boy a Shetland pony almost before the youngster could walk.  Young Stephen called the pony Laddie.  The grandfather bestowed the nickname Laddie on his grandson as well. Sanford died on February 13, 1913.  Six months later, racing resumed at Saratoga along with the first running of the Sanford Memorial. 

Stephen’s 62-year-old son John continued to head the carpet mills and racing stables created during his father’s lifetime.  According to Robb, John Sanford inherited $40 million at his father’s death. 

Robb wrote, “Hollie Hughes recalls Stephen Sanford as a man with a magnetic personality, one to whom your eyes would turn instinctively, even though he was but one of a hundred men in a crowd.  Hollie describes him as tall, thin, straight as a ramrod, his chin (and the chin whiskers) carried high, his right arm across his back.  He had a dry wit.”

Bob Cudmore writes the weekly Focus on History column for the Daily Gazette. He is author of three Amsterdam area history books: Lost Mohawk Valley, Hidden History and Stories from the Mohawk Valley. Bob is the host of The Historians, a weekly podcast heard online at www.bobcudmore.com and on several area radio stations. He lives in Glenville and is a native of Amsterdam.

A version of this story first appeared in the Daily Gazette.

Published in History
Thursday, 03 June 2021 14:14

Leaning into Farming

It’s about an hour before sunset. A truckload of deep brown compost has just arrived at Leaning Birch Farm. It sits in a heap near the garden beds and high tunnels that Dan and Rose Fera began putting in their backyard five years ago. 

Nic, their son, greets me as I pull up, but his focus is on the compost. A former coffeeshop worker and musician, he pays close attention to the aesthetics – the color, the texture, the smell. He thrusts his arms deep into the heap and pulls out a handful. He forms a ball and lets its crumble through his palms back into the pile. He then buries his nose into a handful, savoring its smell.

Leaning Birch Farm is among several new produce vendors at this year’s Saratoga Farmers’ Market. The Feras grow dozens of varieties of vegetables in approximately 1.5 acres of space. They use intensive, high-yield planting techniques to maximize their space, which as Nic notes, teaches that “you don’t need a lot of land to make a decent living.”

Nic grew up in Saratoga Springs, where his parents were renters. Dan restored violins and Rose worked as a clinical director for a special education school. All three had a flair for art and a fondness for fresh food. Nic began playing music at coffeeshops, and ultimately worked in the business himself.

Dan and Rose had a garden and relatively low rent. Still, they yearned to build equity by doing something they loved. That desire led them to purchase a house in Broadalbin. The house came with a yard filled with good soil and abutted a pond. It also came with a mortgage that was nearly twice the monthly amount they had been paying in rent. 

Dan had a plan: Pay the mortgage with garlic.

“I had heard somewhere that you could make $40,000 a year on an acre of garlic,” he said with a laugh.

Garlic as a sole moneymaker never materialized, but the idea helped the Feras see the hunger for fresh local foods. They began selling to restaurants, via a farm stand, and through a CSA. About three years ago, they joined their first farmers’ market, and now sell at markets in Schenectady, Glens Falls, and Saratoga.

“It’s a cool feeling to realize how many other people also are sitting down to dinner, eating our vegetables,” adds Rose. “We’re not just taking care of ourselves but our community, too.” 

The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is open Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Wilton Mall and Wednesdays from 3 to 6 p.m. at High Rock Park.Find us online at saratogafarmersmarket.org and follow us on Facebook and Instagram. 

FM GingerSesameSalmonSalad

Published in Food
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Blotter

  • COURT Steven E. Willetts, of Waterford, pleaded guilty July 14 to course of sexual conduct against a child in the first-degree, in connection with multiple incidents that involved a child under the age of 13, for a period of more than two years. Sentencing scheduled for Sept. 16.  James A. Duffy, of Johnstown, was sentenced July 14 in Saratoga County Court to 18 years-to-life, after pleading guilty to murder in the second-degree, in connection with the death of Allyzibeth Lamont. Duffy previously admitted to acting in concert with co-defendant Giorgios N. Kakavelos on Oct. 28, 2019 in actions resulting in…

Property Transactions

  • BALLSTON Terese Auguirre sold property at 256 Scotch Bush Rd to Cole Osgood for $460,000. Lance Law sold property at 8 Lakehill Rd to Austin Frey for $335,000. Denis Ryder sold property at 122 Scotchbush Rd to Aimee Puglisi for $305,550. Mark Modany sold property at 8 Rothbury Place to David Ross for $662,800. William Bailey sold property at 96 McMaster St to Stephen Gerding for $399,000. Caitlin Freshwater sold property at 9 Martin Ave to Amy Speanburg for $235,000. CORINTH Tammy Mitchell sold property at 371 Angel Rd to Connor Cleveland for $192,500. CLIFTON PARK Robert Klein sold property…
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