Written by Margot Reisner, a summer intern for Saratoga Farmers’ Market, and 2014 graduate of Skidmore College.
Fresh herbs and flowers are filling the Saratoga Farmers’ Market these days, proving that the growing season is in full swing. Balet Flowers & Design is one of the vendors offering beautiful cut flowers and plants for your home and garden.
Run by Suzanne Balet-Haight, with help from her family and staff, the farm and greenhouses in Malta provide flowers, herbs, and vegetable plants to the Saratoga community. The family’s farm has been in operation since 1978 and they have been vendors at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market since its beginning.
Suzanne Balet-Haight has been exposed to farming for her whole life and was very involved in the 4-H program when she was young. She even competed in horticulture contests on a state and national level.
In 1993, she received a BS degree in horticulture from SUNY Cobleskill/Cornell and subsequently took over management of her family’s farm. She transitioned the farm to bedding plants, vegetable and herb plants, and cut flowers.
With a five-acre flower farm and three greenhouses, the farm grows more than 150 annual flower varieties, 200 types of perennials, and more than 80 varieties of vegetable and herb plants. The products are mostly sold at the greenhouse in Malta and at the Malta and Saratoga Farmers’ Markets, but some cut flowers are sold to florists in New York state.
In Balet-Haight’s eyes, flowers are more artistic than vegetables. She has always enjoyed designing flower arrangements and is inspired by the combination of agriculture and art. Her grandfather was an artist and she has always been interested in crafts. In 2000, she took a ceramics class at Skidmore and has been making pottery ever since.
She believes that eating off of a great plate or drinking out of a beautiful and functional mug can make a meal much better. So, she creates fine ceramic pieces for eating, drinking and growing. Her signature item is upside down pots for hanging flowers.
In addition to her business selling ceramics, flowers, and plants, Suzanne Balet-Haight has a flower service for weddings and special events, a landscape design business, and offers workshops for community members.
With all of these endeavors, it is clear that Balet Flowers & Design embodies its motto, “Work hard, grow beautifully.”
To add a little more color to your life, stop by the Balet Flowers & Design stand at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market (at the north end of the High Rock Park pavilions on Wednesdays 3-6pm and Saturdays 9-1pm), or at the Malta Farmers’ Market on Tuesdays from 3-6 pm, Allerdice ACE Hardware parking lot, 2570 Route 9.
Penne Pasta with Fresh Herbs and Garlic
(*Ingredients can be purchased at farmers’ market)
3-4 Tbsp. olive oil, or more to taste
1 teaspoon minced garlic*
1 cup mixed, chopped herbs*, like parsley, dill, chervil, basil, chives, marjoram, mint, tarragon, thyme, oregano (the last three used sparingly, as they are strong)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
12-16 oz. penne pasta
Optional garnishes: crumbled or grated farmers’ market cheese* or chive blossoms*
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Combine olive oil and garlic in a small saucepan, and cook gently until garlic begins to change color.
Wash and chop the herbs. Place them in a bowl large enough to hold the pasta.
Salt water when boiling, and cook pasta until tender. Reserve 3/4 cup of the pasta cooking water.
Drain pasta and toss with herbs and olive oil-garlic mixture. Add a little more olive oil or some of the pasta water if the mixture seems dry.
Season with salt and pepper, and serve. Garnish with a bit of your favorite farmers’ market cheese, or some chive blossoms.