By Himanee Gupta-Carlson
Those who frequent the Saratoga Farmers’ Market know it’s a special space. For four hours, shoppers, farmers, other vendors, and volunteers come together to talk food, shop and sell, and bop to the music of the week. The energy is electric, and the food is beautiful. We go home a bit tired but with our taste buds alive, eager to cook and eat.
And sometimes you arrive and discover your favorite vendor has sold out of eggs. Beef stew meat or pork chops are unavailable on that particular day. Vendors have onions but not scallions. Fresh greens, particularly in the winter months, are scarce.
In some ways, this unpredictability makes the market what it is. When farmers and other vendors bring to market foods that they themselves grow, raise or make, availability will vary from week-to-week, and certainly by season. The market cannot offer everything, but it can assure customers that our food has not traveled 1,500 miles to reach its destination – which is an average computed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for produce offered at grocery stores. Our foods are locally grown, raised, or made, and it is fresh.
How does one learn to navigate the unpredictability to take advantage of foods that are local and fresh?
One answer is to throw away the shopping list. Come to the Saratoga Farmers’ Market instead with a blank sheet. Browse what’s available, talk with farmers – the ultimate foodies—and make your meal plans for the week. Set a goal perhaps of trying a new item every week, knowing that full meals can be built with what we offer.
Sound ambitious? We’ll help. Starting tomorrow, we will be in a more open space in the Wilton Mall, moving from the walkway between the Department of Motor Vehicles and Bath & Body Works to the food court. Find us and look then for a white board near the market information table. On it, will be a recipe based on ingredients one of our vendors or volunteers found a few minutes before the market’s opening. Take a look, snap a photo with your cell phone, and shop. Give the recipe a try and share your results.
This week’s recipe: Sweet Potato Fries with Yogurt Honey Dip