By Julia Howard, Market Director
The bell rang at 9 a.m. Saturday, announcing the start of the Saratoga Farmers’ Market. Then, the clouds opened. Rain poured in sheets, drenching everyone, creating pools on vendor tents, and a creek between Dickinson’s Delights and the Feathered Antler.
Such has been the scene often this summer, with our more-frequent-than-usual rainfalls. Does this matter? To market goers? To vendors? To me, as the market director tasked with the job of ensuring that all who visit the Saratoga Farmers’ Market have an enjoyable yet safe experience?
“We’ve had a lot of cool weather and recently some very heavy downpours at the market,” said Sean Dean, of Nettle Meadow Farm. “I don’t worry if it’s raining when the market begins because ten minutes later it could be a beautiful day.”
Our customers seem to agree, as our market has been as busy as ever. Most of our regular customers are like our market – rain-or-shine shoppers. For that, I am grateful.
“I think these rainy days are an adventure,” said market regular Pattie Garrett. “And, kids love splashing through puddles. Everything is under a roof. You just need to dash between tents and pavilions.”
To keep vendors and customers safe, we take precautions. We weigh down tents with concrete-filled buckets, sandbags or disc weights. We monitor the pavilion gutters for leaks and are prepared to move vendors if necessary. Vendors come prepared with rain jackets, boots, and increasingly brooms or sticks to help shake accumulating water off the tops of their tents.
Stored on-site are tarps and tent panels, extra tent weights and rope in case of high winds, a flashlight, and a variety of tools that a pop-up market might suddenly need.
While heavy rains have damaged crops, farmers are replanting and continuing to offer the best of what they have. And with the rain the best often is even better. Think of stalks of Swiss chard freshly (rain) washed; beets, carrots, patty pan squash and zucchini in brilliant hues, the white salad onions tasting even sweeter.
Meanwhile, I monitor forecasts on two weather apps. I watch the sky and try to get a feel for the humidity. Regardless, I know we’ll be open, rain or shine.
The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is 3-6 p.m. Wednesdays and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays at High Rock Park. Find us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Blueberry Freezer Jam
Adapted from recipe by Amy Johnson, She Wears Many Hats
Serves: about 3 cups
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 10 mins
*Ingredients currently available at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market
- 2 cups fresh blueberries*
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons (.875 ounces) no-sugar-needed fruit pectin (like Sure.Jell in the pink box)
- Place blueberries and lemon juice in a medium saucepan. Use a potato masher or flat bottom glass to mash the berries. Mash them as well as you can, but don’t worry if you don’t have them all mashed.
- Bring berry mixture to a boil.
- Add granulated sugar and return to a boil. Continue to boil for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in pectin, bring to a full boil and boil hard for only 1 minute. Remove from heat.
- Transfer to canning jars or freezer containers leaving ½-inch space at top. Seal jars/containers. Let stand at room temperature until cool.
- Refrigerate up to 3 weeks or freeze up to 6 months.
Notes: This recipe is for a small batch. Easily double the recipe if needed.