In what’s usually a sure sign of spring, the Schenectady Greenmarket moved outdoors Sunday morning, after months cooped up inside.
Shoppers and vendors were dressed for winter, though, greeting the raw May day with ski hats, winter coats and hooded fleece jackets zipped to the neck.
The rainy, breezy weather brought early March to mind, but the new lettuce, fresh herbs, pansies and petunias for sale spoke of spring.
It was the first day of the season for the outdoor market, which is held outside of City Hall, on Jay and Franklin streets.
“We’re looking for a potbelly stove or something,” joked John Nevin of Rotterdam, who was shopping with grandsons Eli and Isaac D’Allaird.
Eli looked like he was freezing despite the sweatshirt and denim jacket he wore, but still, the 7-year-old spoke enthusiastically about the fresh pastries the market had to offer. Ten-year-old Isaac had other things on his shopping list.
“I’m going to have to get behind the pesto, and I really like the chocolate milk they have,” he said.
A modest crowd came out to shop, clutching umbrellas and reusable grocery bags.
“It’s worth braving the rain. The place is wonderful. What’s a little water? I can get everything I could possibly want,” said Claudia Donnelly of Mariaville Lake, who sported a bright purple sweatshirt and a radiant smile.
She had already purchased cookies, pickles, wine, bread, mixed berry pie and hummus before 10:30 Sunday morning, and she wasn’t done shopping yet.
Michele and Mike Melnick of Niskayuna surveyed the curly kale, rainbow swiss chard and baby beet greens at the Maynard Farms stand.
“I like that baby kale, so I need some more money,” Michele said to Mike, who handed over some cash with a good-natured look of resolve. He also handed her a bag of baby beet greens.
“He told me how to cook this. Let’s try it,” he suggested.
Ed Hirschfeld, who staffed the BuddhaPesto stand, waxed poetic about the weather.
“You know that Frank Sinatra song, ‘Luck be a Lady Tonight?’ It would be like ‘Luck be the Weather Today’ is a more apt application of that,” he said.
Hirschfeld said a warm, sunny day does attract more business. He wasn’t too concerned about Sunday’s weather, though. Wearing a blue knit winter cap for warmth, he spread bright green pesto on small slices of bread for patrons to sample. The savory concoction is made from parsley and basil, fresh garlic, pecorino Romano cheese, olive oil and pignoli nuts.
“All the necessary ingredients to ensure lasting happiness,” he promised.
Across Jay Street, Freddy’s Rockin’ Hummus stand was indeed rockin.’ Patrons gathered to sample five types of the spread, which is made with organic chickpeas.
“Customers here are pretty loyal and they’re not afraid of the elements,” said owner Mark Bocain. “We’ve had good markets even when its been windier and rainier than this.”
Tomato plants were in bloom at the Barber’s Farm stand, and nearby flats held an assortment of other young vegetable plants. Employee Lissa VanDeValk admitted it’s a bit early to put out the warm-weather-loving ones, like tomatoes, but said some shoppers like to get a jump on their gardening.
“We like to have a little bit of variety so people know what they can get here,” she said. “It’s good to get in the groove, get in the mood for gardening.”