Before she moved to Saratoga Springs in 2004, Marianne (Frenchy) Loeb of Frenchy Loeb Jewelry and Art was already a loyal customer at farmers’ markets. So it was a given that she would seek out the Saratoga Springs Farmers’ Market shortly after moving to the area, and later joined the Market as a vendor.
While Frenchy is staffing her table of sparkling jewelry and fancy hats at the Winter Farmers’ Market, her husband James Zack will pick up their CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) shares for vegetables and eggs, and shop for cheese, yogurt and milk, apples and other fruit in season, baked goods and other staples.
Many vendors at the Market have had prior careers, and Frenchy is no exception. “My parents were jewelers for many years in Albany where I worked as a teenager,” she remembers, “Then I chose another path, and while living in New York City worked for the Metropolitan Transit Authority.” Even so, art was always part of her life, and after leaving the MTA, she was a watercolor artist for five years on Saint Martin before moving to Saratoga and embarking a new career making hand crafted jewelry from her own designs.
Before joining the Market, she ran a shop in the Beekman Arts District in Saratoga Springs, and was a vendor at area craft shows. Her long connections to farmers’ markets as a customer and her devotion to a locally-based economy led her to apply to the Saratoga Farmers’ Market about five years ago. “I was elated when I was accepted to the Wednesday Market at High Rock Park, and later joined the Winter Market, when it moved to the Division Street School.”
Frenchy creates jewelry for any budget. “My crystal earrings cost as little as $5.00 for a pair.” She also makes gold filled or sterling silver necklaces embellished with faceted gemstones. “One of my favorite projects is designing bridal and bridesmaids’ jewelry sets.” Frenchy noted, “And I also repair beaded jewelry, even taking on complicated projects that other jewelers have turned down.”
Last summer, Frenchy introduced hats and hair accessories to the Market. When fascinators became all the rage in Britain, Frenchy made several clever designs which were quite popular, especially during the track season.
Frenchy will be at her usual spot at the Winter Market until April 27. Instead of rejoining the Market for the summer, she’s made an important change. “In early October, I was driving north on Route 9 in Wilton, when I saw a sign, ‘Commercial Property for Rent.’ Right away, I knew the cute cottage near Saratoga Wine and Spirits would be the perfect location for a retail outlet, and I’ve called it Frenchy’s.”
In addition to her work and sales spaces, she will offer jewelry and hat making classes, and exhibit other artists’ work. “Now Jim and I have reclaimed the part of our house that my projects had taken over.”
Although Frenchy won’t be a vendor at the Summer Market, she and Jim will be making the rounds every week for their groceries. They especially enjoy using a variety of vegetables for the following hot and spicy recipe with cool yogurt on the side.
Spicy Ethiopian Vegetable Stew – Ye’atakilt W’et
(Adapted from World Vegetarian Classics, by Celia Brooks-Brown)
Serves 4. Ingredients market * are available now at the Saratoga Farmers’ Market
1 tbsp sunflower oil
1 large onion, diced *
2 cloves garlic, chopped fine *
1 tbsp berbere (Purchase this Ethiopian hot seasoning from health food stores, or make it yourself from one of the many recipes on-line.)
1 tbsp paprika
2 cups green beans, cut small pieces (or use frozen saved from summer)
1 large carrots washed, cut to a ½ inch dice *
1 potato about 7 oz, cut to a ½ inch dice *
2 medium tomatoes, coarsely chopped *
¼ cup tomato paste
2 cups vegetable broth or water, (plus an additional 3/4 cup for the couscous)
1 cup parsley chopped fine *
¾ cup dry couscous
¾ cup low fat plain yogurt *
Salt and Pepper to taste
In a small sauce pan with a lid, heat ¾ cups of vegetable broth to a boil, remove from the heat, stir in the couscous, cover and set aside.
In a large saucepan, heat 1 tsp oil on medium heat, add the onion and cook until soft with over medium heat. Add the remaining oil, garlic, berbere spice and paprika, and sauté for about 2 minutes.
Add the green beans, carrots, and potatoes. Stir to coat the vegetables with oil, cover the pot, lower the heat, and cook for another 5 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, 2 cups of vegetable broth or water, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring the mixture to a boil, then simmer, uncovered until the vegetables are all tender.
Stir in the parsley just before serving.
Serve on four plates with ¼ of the couscous and ¼ of the yogurt each plate.