Mashed Potatoes and Celeriac
One of the newest vegetable farms selling produce at Saratoga Farmers’ Market is Quincy Farm, which raises certified naturally-grown vegetables with no synthetic fertilizers or pesticides on 40 acres of prime farmland in Easton, in Washington County.
The farm has 1500 feet of Hudson River frontage, looks across the river to the Saratoga Battlefield, and has a significant history dating back a few centuries, with ownership mostly by successive generations of the Wright family.
Originally pursuing careers in New York City, farmers Luke Deikis (formerly an electrician in the television industry) and his wife, Cara Fraver (previously with the non-profit Just Food, which focuses on farm-to-consumer distribution), purchased the farm in the spring of 2011 after several years of apprenticing for other growers.
The couple is quick to note the tremendous help they received in making the purchase from the Open Space Institute and the Agricultural Stewardship Association, which holds an agricultural easement on the property, ensuring it will remain farmland forever.
In just a few years, Quincy Farm has grown enough to sell at several different farmers’ markets in the region, and offer three CSA (farm subscription) drop-off points in Warren and Saratoga counties.
The farm produces a wide range of vegetables, including sweet potatoes, root vegetables and winter squash that store well through the winter. In the warmer months, the farm’s golden tomatoes, summer squash, and baby salad mixes are customer favorites. One of the more unusual vegetables the farm grew this past season was pea shoots, which are the clipped young shoots of the pea plant, with a distinctive fresh sugar snap pea flavor—an offering that proved so popular that Quincy Farm will continue to produce them right through the winter.
The farm’s website at www.quincyfarm.net has a full crop of information about everything from farming practices to the farmland’s earliest owners.
Asked about their passion to sell directly to the community through their CSA and market booth, Deikis and Fraver note, “We love it when someone comes back and says, ‘I bought this or that last week because you insisted it was the best, and it was, and I want more!’ That kind of thing, and the farmer-joy of growing really good cover crops that result in your soil getting healthier and stronger, yielding produce that’s even more tasty and nutritious each season…that’s what keeps us going.”
At the winter market at the Lincoln Baths, Quincy Farm has been outside for a few weeks, but will soon be located midway to the back of the building on the first floor.
Luke Deikis is happy to share preparation ideas for the items he sells, including his favorite recipe for mashed potatoes with celeriac. “What’s important here, whether you make a lot or just a little, is to maintain the proportions of roughly 2/3 potatoes and 1/3 celeriac,” notes Deikis. “The celeriac just doesn’t have enough starch to mash well on its own.”
Mashed Potatoes and Celeriac
Celeriac is one of the oddest looking vegetables at the market, but lends a delicious celery-like flavor to soups, stews, and vegetable combinations, like this recipe for mashed potatoes.
To trim celeriac, slice away the outer rough surface of the root, to reveal a crisp creamy-colored interior.
4 cups peeled, cut white potatoes
2 cups peeled, cut celeriac
Milk or cream
Salt and pepper
Boil potatoes and celeriac until fork tender. Drain cooking liquid (or reserve, if you like to use it for the mash) and then add milk or cream (or other liquid), butter, and salt and pepper in desired proportions as you mash the cooked vegetables.