By Himanee Gupta-Carlson
We get it. It’s January. It’s cold. It’s COVID, year three.
And while you might love the Saratoga Farmers’ Market, you feel it has changed.
You’re right. We’ve changed. Some longtime, well-established vendors are gone. Their owners retired or chose amid the COVID-19 pandemic to shift their operations toward online, home delivery, or mail-order sales.
But we are still the same market in many ways. We still offer some of the best locally grown, raised, or made foods and craft items. We’ve continued to do so by shifting our definition of local away from the six counties that traditionally defined our vendor base toward a more inclusive idea. That shift has helped bring in vendors from other counties, from anywhere within 50 miles of Saratoga.Our new vendors give our market a new face. But they value good products that are local. Stop by and say hello. In time, they’ll be quite familiar to you.
Here’s the lowdown on a few:
- Pork & Greens. This farm hails from the Hudson Valley and is woman-owned. Isabel Buenaga started the farm in July 2020, with a mission to create healthy soil, reduce food waste, and produce high-quality pork and nutrient-rich greens. Her pigs “graze and laze” on 15 acres of woodlands and receive a carefully monitored diet of repurposed foods. Foods that would otherwise be trashed or composted become nutrition for the pigs and yield nicely flavored pork chops, sausages, ham steaks, and other pork items. As for the greens, they are chosen for their ability to withstand our region’s bitterly cold winters and sweltering summers. Check out Buenaga’s kale, pea shoots, and lettuces.
- The Mushroom Shop. This farm, based in Salem, is run by Jacob Howard and Elise Olsen. They joined the Wednesday market last spring and are continuing through the winter to offer gourmet specialty mushrooms for culinary and medicinal uses. Check out their oyster, beech, and cinnamon cap offerings.
- Boozy Moo. Yes, ice cream in winter. Boozy Moo, based in Albany, is the brainchild of Leila Kiosse. Kiosse had opened a craft cocktails bar and games house in early 2020. Like so many retail outlets, hers was shuttered amid the pandemic. Kiosse began experimenting with craft ice creams, infusing them with alcohol, and realized she had a great new approach to a popular dessert on her hands. Ask for a sample and let Kiosse’s cool treats warm your soul.
This week’s featured recipe: Pork Chops with Apples and Onions