Saratoga Farmers’ Market wares move out into fresh air

The Saratoga Farmers’ Market, which opened its outdoor season on Wednesday, has become busier and mo

The Saratoga Farmers’ Market, which opened its outdoor season on Wednesday, has become busier and more popular in the past year or two.

Jeffrey Bowers, the current market president, attributes the increased traffic to the “buy local” trend that encourages people to buy foods grown and raised in their town or region.

“The ‘buy local’ trend is gaining more and more steam as time goes on,” Bowers said.

Many health and nutrition experts maintain that foods grown locally and naturally, without preservatives and other additives in them, are better for a person’s overall health.

Saratoga Springs Mayor Scott Johnson and Jeffrey Clark, president of the Saratoga Springs Downtown Business Association, joined Bowers in cutting the ribbon Wednesday afternoon for another outdoor season at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market pavilions in High Rock Park on High Rock Avenue.

Wednesday’s steady rain and cool temperatures in the upper 40s or low 50s kept the crowd unusually sparse. But that should change as the weather improves.

The farmers market had been held all winter on Saturday mornings in the Division Street Elementary School gym.

About 20 vendors were selling their early spring vegetables, such as leaks and swiss chard, and locally produced cheeses on Wednesday, as well as early season plants such as pansies and marigolds. As the growing season develops in late spring and summer, as many as 40 vendors will be selling their products in the open-air pavilions.

Gabriel Anthony Bifano, the executive chef at Wheatfields, was demonstrating the way to incorporate the early garden vegetables, such as leeks, fiddleheads and kale, into a dish that also includes pasta.

Bifano, using the locally raised products he gathered at the market, was frying the vegetables in a pan with olive oil before mixing them with cooked pasta.

Michael Kilpatrick of the Kilpatrick Family Farm in Middle Granville, Washington County, provided Bifano with the leeks and fiddleheads.

The fiddleheads, which cost $12 per pound, are gathered by members of the Kilpatrick family on land along the Mettawee River in Washington County through an agreement with the people who own the land.

Fiddleheads grow wild and cannot be cultivated, Kilpatrick said.

Lisa Porter, formerly of Wilton and now owner of a farm in Argyle, was selling her Homestead Artisanal Cheeses that include both goat milk cheese and cheese using cow’s milk.

Porter said she and her husband don’t make goat cheese during the winter because their goats don’t make milk in the winter. But they do make cheese using cow’s milk all through the year, Porter said.

Bowers, farmers market president, also makes goat cheese at his Sweet Spring Farm in Argyle, Washington County.

All of the people involved in the Saratoga Farmers’ Market volunteer their time and elect a new president every two years, Bowers said.

The outdoor market in Saratoga Springs will be held from 3 to 6 p.m. Wednesdays and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays under the High Rock Avenue pavilions until November. A market will also be held from 2 to 5 p.m. Thursdays in Clifton Park starting on June 23.

All members of the farmers market must raise their products and animals within a four-county region that includes Saratoga, Schenectady, Rensselaer and Washington counties.

“I think the Saratoga Farmers’ Market is the tops in the region,” Bowers said.

Categories: Schenectady County

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