Market Creates Community at High Rock Park

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By Himanee Gupta-Carlson

Shortly before 9 a.m. tomorrow, Saratoga Mayor Joanne Yepsen will cut a ribbon at High Rock Park to officially open the Saratoga Farmers’ Market’s summer season. With her will be farmers and other vendors, volunteers and staff, artists and musicians, community service providers, dignitaries and other guests.

The brief ceremony captures a sense of how the market twice a week from May through October creates a sense of community that is vibrant, festive, and supportive.

“Community is our sustenance,” says market director Julia Howard. “It brings us all together.”

The Saratoga Farmers’ Market started in 1978 with starter plants and produce. Over the years, meats and dairy products, prepared foods, wool and fiber, household cleaners, gift items, and crafts were added the offerings.

For farmers and other vendors, the market is a vital source of income. But the market also is much more.

Running the River by Eric Jenks

Running the River
Photo by Eric Jenks

“Having music at every market helps local performers gain exposure,” Howard says. “Plus, we work with such organizations as Saratoga Bridges to offer employment for some of our janitorial tasks to individuals who need it. And our weekly children’s activities are often the result of our relationships with local businesses, libraries, and youth groups. We couldn’t be who we are without those networks of support.”

Tomorrow’s market will highlight these networks. CAPTAIN Youth & Family Services will offer a free planting of flower seeds to children of all ages. Musician Thomas Brady and the band Running the River will perform. Mamatoga will co-host a meetup from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for mothers and children. And new vendors – among them Zoe Burghard Ceramics, Freddy’s Rockin’ Hummus, The Smoothie Shoppe, Dickinson’s Delights, and Slate Valley and Nettle Meadow farms – will join the market’s regulars.

Setting up market at Rock Park by Eric Jenks

Setting up market at Rock Park
Photo by Eric Jenks

Behind the scenes, the Friends of the Market volunteers will operate its compost collection and recycling programs, assist shoppers with its veggie valet service, gather donations for the Franklin Community Center food pantry, and be on hand to relieve vendors. Also behind the scenes vendors will arrive early and stay late to put out market signs, traffic cones, and help clean up High Rock Park before and after the market.

“That cooperative spirit makes us so much more than a shopping place,” Howard says. “We’re in it together.”

Visit the Saratoga Farmers’ Markets at High Rock Park from 3-6 p.m. Wednesdays and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays.


Chopped Spring Salad

Adapted from recipe by Jenny Rosenstrach and Andy Ward featured in Bon Appetit
4 Servings

Ingredients

*Ingredients currently available at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market

• ½ cup plain yogurt*
• 2 tablespoons olive oil*
• 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
• 1 garlic clove, finely grated*
• ¼ teaspoon Vital Eats Sriracha Ketchup*
• 2 tablespoons finely chopped chives, plus more for serving*
• 2 tablespoons finely chopped mint, plus more for serving*
• Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
• ½ Asian cucumber, chopped (about 1 cup)*
• 2 asparagus spears, chopped*
• 2 scallions, chopped*
• 3 radishes, trimmed, chopped*
• 1 cup pea shoots*
• ¾ cup cherry tomatoes, quartered*

Preparation

1. Whisk yogurt, oil, lemon juice, garlic, Sriracha, 2 Tbsp. chives, and 2 Tbsp. mint in a small bowl to combine; season with salt and pepper and let dressing sit at least 1 hour to allow flavors to meld.

2. Just before serving, toss cucumber, asparagus, scallions, radishes, pea shoots, and tomatoes in a large bowl to combine; season with salt and pepper. Divide evenly among plates and drizzle with dressing. Top with chives and mint.

Do Ahead: Dressing can be made 3 days ahead. Cover and chill.