By Himanee Gupta
The month of May will be a bit different for the Saratoga Farmers’ Market this year. Normally, this is when we clang our opening day bells at our outdoor location on Wednesday afternoon and Saturday morning at High Rock Park.
This year, we will be elsewhere for a few weeks, and we invite you to join us there.
We kick off our outdoor season at 3 p.m. this coming Wednesday, May 4, outside the City Center Parking Garage while construction crews widen the sidewalks at High Rock Park and build it into the downtown segment of the Saratoga Greenbelt Trail. Our Saturday market will go outdoors at 9 a.m. on May 7 in the parking lot of the Wilton Mall, marking our third year of opening at that locale.
We look forward to being at High Rock by Memorial Day.
In the meantime, spring is in full spring. Market stalls are brimming over with fresh bags of arugula and spinach, seasonal greens like ramps and claytonia, radishes, pea shoots, and the first chard and kale of the season. Eggs are abundant. Chicken, pork, beef, lamb, rose veal, and goat meat will soon be available. Our chefs will also be in action, offering a range of warm, ready-to-eat items.
The COVID-19 pandemic coupled with construction prevented the market from operating at High Rock in 2020 and part of 2021. The market was set to return to its usual outdoor location at High Rock Park until we learned in late March that this would not be possible.
The city said it was planning to extend the Saratoga Greenbelt Trail from Lake to Excelsior avenues, right across the lawns outside the High Rock pavilions where the farmers market takes place. Construction would be in progress, and parking would be limited.
“We were taken by surprise,” admits Mark Bascom of Owl Wood Farm and president of the market’s board.
“We immediately worked to find solutions for our market to return to High Rock Park as soon as possible.”
As of now, work on the Greenbelt is in progress. Lawns outside the market pavilions are being dug up. When completed, this portion of the trail will connect downtown Saratoga to Exit 15 trail at Excelsior Avenue. It will consist of a 10-foot wide ADA-accessible paved path along High Rock and Excelsior avenues and a continuous sidewalk network. The city plans to replace 49 trees with 62 healthier trees.
For many longtime Saratoga Farmers Market vendors, news of the construction turned into an opportunity to build better relationships with city officials. Beth Trattel, owner of Something’s Brewing and market board vice president, praised both the city and the mall for expressing their support for the market’s continuation.
“The City Center and its executive director Ryan McMahon generously stepped up to let us use the space in front of the parking garage structure for the Wednesday market,” she said. “It has good visibility and will coincide with our goal of providing a vibrant community meeting place that is accessible to all.”