Displaying items by tag: saratoga springs

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, 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

This weekend, we honor the people who are no longer with us who have fought to keep our country free and safe. Food will be the centerpiece as we safely come together for family gatherings and parades or to visit cemeteries or memorials. Memorial Day envokes eating outdoors, grilling, and traditional summer recipes with a farmers’ market spin.

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Published in Food
Thursday, 20 May 2021 16:37

Smart Gardening With Starter Plants

With spring’s last projected frost date safely behind us, gardening enthusiasts take out their trowels and prepare garden plots for planting. But if you’re new to gardening, the process may seem overwhelming. We spoke with Susan Beebe, Assistant Director/Agriculture Issue Leader of Cornell Cooperative Extension of Saratoga County, to understand the basics of gardening with starter plants.

To begin, determine where you would like to plant. Perhaps you have space for a garden or raised beds in your yard, or maybe planting in containers seems more feasible.

If planting in the ground, Susan Beebe explains that the first and most crucial step is to determine the pH of your soil. “Soil pH is important because it will help you prepare to plant your garden,” explains Beebe. To collect a soil sample, walk through the area that you would like to plant and collect soil samples from various places. Dig 3” to 8” deep and scoop about ½ cup of soil into a clean container. Soil samples may be brought to Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Master Gardener table at the farmers’ market on the third Wednesday of every month or directly to their office.

If planting in raised beds, Beebe recommends combining potting soil and compost to hold water and prevent moisture from draining out. “Soil is alive and full of microorganisms that plants need to survive,” says Beebe. “Adding green manure, compost, or even a cover crop can keep soil healthy while planting in raised beds.”

If planting in containers, Beebe advises using soilless mixes rather than potting soil. “A benefit to the soilless mixes is that they are much lighter than potting soil and allow you to move your containers around. The counterpart is that these mixes have a tendency to dry out, so depending on the location, you may have to water your containers more,” explains Beebe.

Once your soil is ready, it’s time to buy plants. Several vendors offer various herbs, fruit, and vegetable starter plants at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market. These plants are typically several weeks old and have been nurtured through the most delicate early stages of growth by professional growers in a greenhouse. If you have questions about what to plant, ask the growers: Balet Flowers & Design, Burger’s MarketGarden, Gomez Veggie Ville, Green Jeans Market Farm, Leaning Birch, and Old Tavern Farm.

Now it’s time to plant. Once you’ve popped the first plant out of the container, pull the roots apart with your hands gently; you can look to see how tightly wound the roots are. “You need to pull the roots apart with your hands gently,” Susan Beebe instructs. “You may even use a little knife to break the roots because the goal is to stop their circling motion so that they can spread into the ground,” she adds. When planting, maintain the level it was grown at rather than planting deeper. “The only exception is leggy tomato plants that you can bury deeper,” says Beebe.

Once your starters are planted, water generously and ensure 6+ hours of sunlight a day. Some leafy crops like spinach can thrive with less sun; however, vegetables like carrots, beets, and peppers need 6+ hours a day.

Fruit and vegetables thrive and produce more with light fertilizing at planting. The appropriate fertilizer depends on how you’re growing and what your growing. Beebe recommends side-dressing again with fertilizer 2-3 weeks after planting to ensure healthy, productive plants.

With your new garden well underway, Beebe has some takeaway points. “You need trial and error, so don’t be scared by anything. And each year try something you haven’t tried before. It’s not always going to work, but you will continue to learn.”

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. For online pre-ordering and curbside pickup, visit localline.ca/saratoga-farmers-market.

Published in Food
Thursday, 13 May 2021 14:55

Get to Know Greens at the Farmers’ Market

Spring is finally bringing warmer weather and with it an abundance of much-anticipated seasonal produce to the Saratoga Farmers’ Market. Greens, in many forms, including perennials, hearty cold-weather crops, and greenhouse-grown, have been catching our eye, and we invite you to try some fresh new flavors of the season.

Several farms at the Wednesday and Saturday farmers’ markets offer varieties of greens. This includes red romaine, baby spinach, radicchio, green romaine, red leaf, arugula, mustard greens, red chard, and tatsoi. These greens offer distinct fresh flavors and textures, and they are high in nutritional value, too. Depending on the green, some may be cooked, wilted, or enjoyed fresh as a salad. 

Vibrant sunflower and sweet pea shoots are available at Leaning Birch Farm on Saturdays. Pea shoots have the sweet, grassy flavor of snap peas with a refreshing crunch, and sunflower shoots have a nutty taste with a similar crisp bite. According to Nic Fera of Leaning Birch Farm, both are a year-round crop for their farm. “They are great to add a little fresh accent to dishes,” says Fera. 

Capital Greens NY brings varieties of microgreens to the Saturday farmers’ market, including the mixes like their Signature Gourmet, Thai Basil, and Gourmet Fiesta. Microgreens are young vegetable greens packed with nutrients and are easy to incorporate into many dishes or used as a garnish. Try them on sandwiches, in salads, on pizza, or blend them into a smoothie. 

If you’re a fan of fiddleheads, stop by Ramble Creek Farm this month while they’re in season. Fiddleheads are young shoots that grow from the ostrich fern, and with a very narrow harvest season, you can only enjoy these shoots in the early spring from around late April to early June. With a nutty and sweet flavor reminiscent of asparagus, fiddleheads may be steamed, braised, or sauteed, as they contain a trace amount of a toxin and cannot be consumed raw. 

This week, we encourage you to try something new, whether it be a new product or shopping with a new vendor at the Wednesday or Saturday 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. For online pre-ordering and curbside pickup, visit localline.ca/saratoga-farmers-market.

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Published in Food

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Triple Crown winner American Pharoah (KY), seven-time Eclipse Award-winning trainer Todd Pletcher, and 13-time champion steeplechase trainer Jack Fisher comprise the National Museum of Racing’s 2021 Hall of Fame class. American Pharoah and Pletcher were elected in the contemporary category in their first year of eligibility, and Fisher was chosen by the Museum’s Steeplechase Review Committee, which meets once every four years. 

The class of 2021 will be enshrined along with the 2020 inductees – trainer Mark Casse, jockey Darrel McHargue, horses Tom Bowling and Wise Dan, and Pillars of the Turf Alice Headley Chandler, J. Keene Daingerfield, Jr., and George D. Widener, Jr. – on Friday, Aug 6., at the Fasig-Tipton sales pavilion in Saratoga Springs at 10:30 a.m. The ceremony will be broadcast live on the Museum website at www.racingmuseum.org. An announcement regarding public attendance at the ceremony will be made at a later date. 

For more information about the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame, please visit www.racingmuseum.org.

Published in Sports

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Opera Saratoga has announced the company’s return to the stage for its 60th Anniversary with a season of performances inspired by the iconic novel Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes. 

Working closely with a team of medical professionals and a dedicated COVID Safety Officer, Opera Saratoga will be produced outdoors during June and July in partnership with the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Spa State Park, and Pitney Meadows Community Farm to provide three unique performance spaces for audiences to safely enjoy two fully staged productions and a special concert. 

In partnership with SPAC, Opera Saratoga will present MAN OF LA MANCHA, the Tony Award winning musical, featuring Broadway and Opera star Zachary James in the role of Cervantes / Don Quixote; and Opera Saratoga favorite, Kelly Glyptis, returning to Saratoga Springs as Aldonza. Three performances are scheduled on the SPAC Amphitheater Stage at 8 p.m. on July 8, 9, and 10.

In a more classical vein, Opera Saratoga will also present DON QUICHOTTE AT CAMACHO’S WEDDING, a one-act comic serenata by Georg Philipp Telemann with a libretto by Daniel Schiebeler, taken from an episode from Part Two of Cervantes’ celebrated novel, in which the Knight and his squire Sancho Panza encounter some rather strange wedding celebrations as they roam the world in search of adventure. The al fresco production will be staged by Rebecca Miller Kratzer and will be conducted by Michelle Rofrano in and around the Columbia Pavilion in Saratoga Spa State Park, with the backdrop of the forest creating a natural setting for this pastoral adventure.  Twelve performances are scheduled between July 14 and July 18, with performances at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 6 p.m.

The two staged productions will be complemented by QUIXOTIC OPERA, a concert of scenes from other operas inspired by Cervantes’ novel, presented in partnership with Pitney Meadows Community Farm. Two performances are scheduled at 7 p.m. on June 24 and 25.

“As we considered how to best return to the stage this summer, I found myself repeatedly drawn to works inspired by Don Quixote,” said Opera Saratoga’s Artistic and General Director Lawrence Edelson, in a statement. “ I think we’ve all needed to channel some of the famous knight-errant’s idealism and extreme optimism – and to dream impossible dreams in the face of unprecedented challenges.  Thanks to the willingness and enthusiasm of our partners at SPAC, Spa State Park, and Pitney Meadows to dream with us, we are able to come back together as a community to safely enjoy some incredible music and theater together this summer.” 

Leading up to the Festival, Opera Saratoga will also offer an 8-week online course: Another Age, Another Place, Another La Mancha:  Don Quixote and the Birth of the Modern World. Taught by Skidmore Professor Grace Burton, this course will explore why the story of an old man’s wanderings through the dusty plains of 17th-century Spain have captured the imagination of philosophers and filmmakers, composers and choreographers, dramatists, and dreamers alike. The course will be offered via Zoom, on eight consecutive Wednesday evenings, from May 12 – June 30. 

OPERA SARATOGA COVID-19 AUDIENCE SAFETY PROTOCOLS 
As required by New York State, all ticket buyers will be required to show either proof of vaccination at least 14 days prior to their attendance, or a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of the performance they are attending. In addition, attendees will be required to complete a health screening questionnaire and pass a mandatory temperature check prior to entry. Audience members will be required to wear masks at all performances, regardless of vaccination status or proof of a negative test. Restrooms will be available with social distancing and enhanced cleaning and sanitation protocols in place in accordance with
recommended guidelines. 

TICKET INFORMATION 
Due to social distancing at all performances, tickets are extremely limited this season, and it is anticipated that performances will sell out in advance. At all venues, tickets will be sold in socially distanced pods of two seats.  At SPAC, pods of one, two, or four seats will also be available on the SPAC lawn for Man of La Mancha. Very limited single tickets will be available under the roof of the amphitheater for Man of La Mancha, but single tickets are not available for Quixotic Opera or Don Quichotte at Camacho’s Wedding due to the seating configurations at these venues. Advance ticket purchases are required for Quixotic Opera and Don Quichotte at Camacho’s Wedding. Advance ticket purchases are strongly advised for Man of La Mancha. If tickets are available on the day of performance at SPAC, ticket purchases will be subject to an additional fee.

Ticket sales open to the public on Monday, May 10. Go to: www.operasaratoga.org. 

Published in Entertainment

A good breakfast sandwich is a New York staple, and people tend to have strong opinions about their favorites. Does it come on a bagel, English muffin, or a biscuit? Do you top it with bacon, sausage, or no meat at all? Saratoga Farmers’ Market customers can put it to the test: the breakfast sandwich is back.

Returning for their 22nd year, with a one-year hiatus in 2020, M&A Farm’s staff dishes up stacks of breakfast menu items for customers to customize into their favorite sandwich. Served on English muffins, M&A uses local, farm-fresh eggs and meats (sausage and ham - combine them to order a “Manwich”) and provides the option to add a hash brown.

At 85, Arnold Grant continues as the farm owner and the main cook at M&A’s stand, but he has help from a big crew made up of three different generations in the family. The Grant family has owned their farm, located in Durkeetown, NY, between Fort Edward and Argyle, for over 200 years.

 “My first memories are of the farm being operated as a dairy farm by my great uncle, and then by my dad, still as a dairy farm,” says Grant. In 1998, he joined the Saratoga Farmers’ Market initially to sell his meats, but the breakfast sandwiches took off at the same time.

Over the years, M&A Farm has been a crowd favorite, as well as a Saturday farmers’ market breakfast tradition. Many customers were noticeably excited for their return last weekend as the summer market season officially began. 

“It hasn’t seemed right without you,” said a customer named Linda just as we walked up to speak to owner Arnold Grant. At the same time, customers who only recently started shopping at the farmers’ market since last year’s move to the Wilton Mall were pleasantly surprised to see a new ready-to-eat option. “We’re so excited to see egg & cheese sandwiches at the market! Now we know to skip breakfast and come straight here,” noted Bethany, another market-goer.

“We’ve been open for a long time,” says Grant resolutely. “I’m hoping to pass the business on to my granddaughter. At 85, I’m getting ready to retire soon, but I’d like it to stay in the family,” he adds. It sounds like Saratoga Farmers’ Market customers will be able to enjoy the farm-fresh sandwiches for some time to come.

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. For online pre-ordering and curbside pickup, visit localline.ca/saratoga-farmers-market.

FM Frittata

Published in Food

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Board of Trustees of Saratoga Independent School (S.I.S.) has named Robert C. Ahrens, Jr. as its new Head of School beginning July 1, 2021.

Robert “Bob” Ahrens has worked in independent schools for more than 25 years. For the past 7 years, Ahrens has served as the Assistant Head of School for Academics & Director of Upper School at Andrews Osborne Academy, a co-educational boarding school in Willoughby, OH. Over his vast career, he has worn many hats and served in numerous roles, beginning as a Middle School math teacher and Dean of Students before moving into administrative leadership positions. In addition, he has served as a member of six school accreditation teams as well as serving as a presenter at the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) National Conference. 

Julie S. Fuller, President of the Board of Trustees, stated, “As Saratoga Independent School approaches its 30th Anniversary this September, we will not only be honoring the school’s past by commemorating our thirty-year history, but we will also be embracing its future. With Mr. Ahrens’ consummate vision, leadership, and extensive experience, we will be looking to our Strategic Plan to continue our unprecedented growth, academic success, and financial sustainability as a fully enrolled PreK through 8th grade, accredited institution.”

Ahrens earned a B.S. from Ohio State University and an M.A. in Educational Leadership from Villanova University. Ahrens was a recipient of the National Association of Independent Schools’ E.E. Ford Fellowship for Aspiring School Heads, a yearlong program of leadership development for emerging independent school leaders.

Current head of school, Lisa Brown, announced her retirement to the Saratoga Independent School community in January.  Under her four years of leadership, the school completed a successful $1.7 million capital campaign, launched a new middle school serving grades six, seven and eight, and completed the construction of a new academic wing.

Virtual and private tours are always available for prospective families. Families interested in scheduling a private or virtual tour may visit www.siskids.org/admissions/campus-tour or contact Colleen Fortune, Admissions Liaison, at 518-583-0841 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Published in Education

WILTON — Youth2 - Youth Helping Youth is teaming up with Toilet Paper Trio (toiletpapertrio.com), to jointly host their 3rd Community Care Pop-UP Event-“Toilet Paper Towers.”

Toilet paper is being collected to be donated to Franklin Community Center, Wellspring, Lifeworks/Soup Kitchen and Saratoga Senior Center. 

The drop-off will take place 10 a.m.-1 p.m. on Saturday, May 22 at the outdoors Farmer’s Market at the Wilton Mall. The drop-off will be completely COVID-safe; you don’t even have to leave your car.

Youth2 is an organization based in Saratoga made up of both youth and adults working together to improve the lives of people around the world. For more information visit www.youthsquared.org

Published in Neighborhood Buzz
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Blotter

  • COURT Samantha Germain, 28, of Greenfield, was sentenced June 2 to 1.3 to 4 years in state prison, after pleading to criminal contempt in the first-degree.  Loreal D. Bass, 40, of Schenectady, pleaded May 28 to felony grand larceny in connection with an incident in Saratoga Springs first charged February 2020. Sentencing July 29.  Hunter Burnette, 20, of Middle Grove, pleaded May 28 to promoting a sexual performance by a child. Sentencing July 29.  Charles L. Bennifield, 20, of Greenfield Center, pleaded May 28 to reckless endangerment, in connection with an incident first charged September 2020 in Saratoga. Sentencing July…

Property Transactions

  • BALLSTON Heritage Builders Group LLC sold property at 71 Cypress St to Norbert Czelusniak for $344,683. Heidi Childs sold property at 24 Sherwood to Quiet Acres LLC for $258,500. Brookview Court Inc sold property at 2103 Stonebridge Dr to Christine Famiano for $257,424. Brookview Court Inc sold property at 2201 Stonebridge Dr to Danny Deweese for $281,517. Kent Chase sold property at 1 Chase Lane to Mark Barkyoumb for $450,000. Brookview Court Inc sold property at 2204 Stonebridge Dr to Anne Menkens revocable trust for $264,756. Brookview Court Inc sold property at 2202 Stonebridge Dr to David Kelley for $277,224.…
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