By: Jeremy Riccardi
Valentine’s Day often connotes chocolates and wine, both of which can be found at the Saratoga Farmers Market. But love at the market also means healthy eating and looking out for the ones you love.
The market will celebrate the Valentine’s Day weekend with several sweet treats as well as items like the award-winning fermented cherries made by Puckers Gourmet pickle company. The cherries can top such desserts as the yogurt parfait shown below.
“It’s a lovely versatile product,” said Kelley Hillis, owner of Puckers Gourmet. “It pairs great with chocolate and I personally love it when used with Springbrook Hollow’s moonshine as a Manhattan,”
Hillis, calls the market a great place to spend quality time with the people you love. “You have some of the finest local foods, freshest produce, and amazing wines,” she said. “A part of love is looking out for someone’s well-being and the best way to do that is by shopping at the market because it’s fresh, high-quality and locally produced.”
Hillis began making hand-made pickled products as a hobby. Seven years ago, the hobby became a family business. “The love of being a Mom led me into this business,” said Hillis. “I always knew if I found the right motivation I’d get what I needed to provide for my kids and spend quality time with them. Opening our own business has allowed us to be hands-on parents.”
Hillis says friendships with her customers and the vendors have given her a source of personal strength. Over time, these friendships have empowered her and given her the strength to run her business, she says.
“The market has been phenomenal,” Hillis said. “The friendships I’ve made have been the deepest relationships I’ve ever had.”
One of Puckers Gourmet’s popular products is pakdong, a Thai fermented cabbage dish. “It’s a little spicy and a little sweet which is exactly what love is,” Hillis said.
Chef Caitlin Parwana of Ruthless Confections has used Hillis’ pakdong to create a flavorful spring roll. Using a slotted spoon, she scooped out portions of the cabbage mix and placed it on lightly moistened rice roll wraps. Some fresh sunflower and pea sprouts add an extra touch.
The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is open at the Lincoln Baths in the Saratoga Spa State Park every Saturday from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
On Valentine’s Day, say ‘I love you’ with a parfait.
Place layers of yogurt, homemade chocolate sauce, granola and your favorite in-season fruit in a glass or bowl. Yogurt, granola, and fruit are available at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market. For a special touch, try Puckers fermented cherries as a garnish.
Chocolate Sauce Sweetened with Honey
Adapted from David Lebovitz
Makes: 2 ½ cups
*ingredients available at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market
1 cup water
½ cup raw sugar (or granulated sugar)
½ cup honey*
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped.
1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together the water, sugar, honey, and cocoa powder.
2. Warm the mixture over medium heat, whisking frequently. Once it just begins to boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook for 4 minutes, stirring frequently.
3. Remove from heat and stir in the chopped chocolate until melted.
4. Let stand until cooled. Refrigerate. It will thicken overnight.