Roasted Garlic Soup with Beans and Kale 


For beautifully packaged, delicious cuisine that is ready to eat (or reheat and serve), stop by the bountiful tables of Zest at Saratoga Farmers’ Market. Located on the second floor at Lincoln Baths every Saturday during the winter months, Zest brings both savory and sweet items to market each week.

Attractive boxes contain both large and small tarts, quiche, and sweet pies, while clear bags tied with raffia hold a variety of homemade granola, cookies, or even special gourmet dog biscuits. Other Zest specialties include soups, frittatas, hummus and pirohi, a traditional dumpling from eastern Europe which Zest fills with potato and cheese or sauerkraut and mushrooms.

Zest’s owners, Carla and Eric Kuchar, started their catering business in Middlebury, Vermont, in 2007. They moved to the greater Saratoga area in 2010, and now offer catering services throughout the Capital Region for large-scale events and functions in private homes.

Zest shares its fabulous food year-round at Saratoga Farmers’ Market and at its summer-season sister market in Malta. In the summer of 2013, Zest opened a shop in Ballston Spa, at 3 Science Street, where it provides lunch and dinner Monday-Friday (11:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.), with menus that change frequently.

“We are constantly introducing new flavors and products.  We are influenced by seasonal availability and our customers’ requests.  Our latest introductions have been a Rosemary-Cashew Granola, and an Almond Joy pie,” notes Chef Carla.

“Whether we are catering a large event or preparing packaged goods for the farmers’ market, we focus on serving food that is fresh, personal, and elegant. Making everything in-house from scratch allows us to accommodate any dietary needs. We try to source as many local and organic products as we can,” Kuchar continued.

During Saratoga’s popular Chowderfest event on Saturday, February 1, Zest will prepare the Saratoga Farmers’ Market’s official chowder entry, using market ingredients.

“I wanted to showcase the great variety of local farm products that we have at the market,” commented chef Carla. “Our market chowder will include spicy sausage from Elihu Farm, kale and onions from Gomez Veggie Ville, sweet potatoes from Quincy Farm, milk from Battenkill Valley Creamery, and cheese from Argyle Cheese Farmer. Some of the bakers at the market are creating accompaniments for the chowder as well. It’s great to have this collaboration.”

The market will serve its chowder from the start of Chowderfest at 11 a.m. until the market closes at 1 p.m., after which Zest will continue to serve the market’s chowder in front of Saratoga Botanicals at 80 Henry Street from 1 to 4 p.m.

“We wanted to move downtown to give the Saratoga Farmers’ Market a continued presence throughout the afternoon,” notes Eric Kuchar, Zest’s project manager. “We’re looking forward to mingling with the Saratoga crowd, to encourage them to come see us at the market every Saturday at Lincoln Baths, or to visit us during the work week in Ballston Spa.”


Roasted Garlic Soup with Beans and Kale

*Ingredients can be purchased at market

Serves 6

1 cup of dried white (or other) beans*

2 heads of garlic*

Olive oil for drizzling

1 bunch of curly kale*

6 cups of stock or water

2 Tbsp of fresh rosemary, minced

Salt and pepper to taste

Soak beans overnight in enough water to cover by 3 inches.

Roast garlic by cutting off the top of the head so that the cloves are showing, drizzle with olive oil, wrap in foil and place in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes or until browned and soft.

Cook beans in broth at a low simmer for 1-2 hours or until tender.

Add finely chopped kale, garlic and rosemary and simmer for another 15 minutes.