By Julia Howard, Market Director
More often than not, spring arrives in Saratoga with snow. Temperatures still struggle to climb above freezing, and a warm cup of soup seems more soothing than a frozen fruit smoothie.
Still, we know spring is coming as the snow starts to melt and the days lengthen. And with it comes a fresh start, an opportunity to reflect on lessons of the past alongside a chance to learn something new. In this spirit, the Saratoga Farmers’ Market will host its annual Spring Festival at the Lincoln Baths Building in the Saratoga Spa State Park tomorrow.
Last year’s inaugural festival drew a rousing crowd of newcomers and regulars, eager to learn about keeping bees, cultivating mushrooms, and preserving fresh foods. This year, we hope to see an even bigger crowd. Our lineup includes:
• 9-10 a.m.
Using Native Plants in Your Landscape, with Susan Schurman O’Donnell of Dutch Girl Garden Design.
• 10-11 a.m.
Food Preservation 101: Canning, Freezing & Dehydrating, with Diane Whitten of Cornell Cooperative Extension.
• 11-Noon a.m.
The Ins and Outs of Composting, with Michael Cohen of Sustainable Saratoga.
Live cooking and food sampling, with Chef Dan Spitz
Cornell Cooperative Extension information tables, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
• Master Gardener advice on gardening, soil preparation, plants and trees, along with soil testing for $1.
• Food preservation methods.
• Cooking with seasonal produce, healthy eating, and nutrition.
Children’s activities, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
• Planting seeds in eggshells, with Sustainable Saratoga.
• Making paper plate banjos, with the Northeast Parent and Child Society.
All workshops are free and will take place on the second floor of the Lincoln Baths Building. Please ask market volunteers or staff at the informational table for elevator access, if you need it. All workshop attendees also will receive a gift for attending.
In addition, many of our regular farmers will be providing information on their seasonal community shared agriculture programs (CSAs). CSAs offer subscribers a chance to receive seasonal produce on a regular schedule while investing in local farms. Like our Spring Festival, they build community and help sustain our region’s rich agricultural heritage for the generations to come.
The Saratoga Farmers’ Market remains at the Saratoga Spa State Park, Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. through April 29. The summer season at High Rock Park begins Wednesday, May 3, 3-6 p.m.
Potato Gratin Topped with Fresh Spinach
Adapted from recipe by Cook’s Country, shared by My Saratoga Kitchen Table
*Ingredients currently available at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market
- 1½ cups heavy cream*
- 1 cup salt free chicken broth
- ¾ cup Parmesan cheese*
- ⅛ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 8 cups fresh baby spinach*
- 3 garlic cloves, minced*
- 4 ounces thinly sliced bacon, chopped fine*
- 2 pounds potatoes, russet or desired potato, peeled and sliced ⅛ inch thick*
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Grease 9 X 13 inch baking dish. Whisk milk, broth, ½ cup Parmesan and nutmeg together in bowl. Set aside.
2. In 12 inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, cook bacon until crisp. Remove, allow to cool on a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Chop the bacon into small pieces. Add spinach and garlic to the skillet and cook until spinach is wilted, about 3 minutes, stirring often. Transfer spinach mixture to paper towel-lined plate to drain.
3. Arrange potatoes in even layer in prepared dish. Distribute spinach mixture evenly over potatoes. Pour cream mixture over spinach mixture and sprinkle remaining ¼ cup Parmesan. Bake until potatoes are tender and cheese is spotty brown, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes. Serve.