By Mary Pratt
Before Bob and I started Elihu Farm, we lived in New Scotland, self-employed writing about acid precipitation and climate change (before it became a ‘hot topic’).
Eventually one of us said, “We should do something agricultural.” Soon we bought our Elihu Farm in Easton, named for Revolutionary Patriot, Elihu Gifford. Instead of raising vegetables and berries, the book left in our house, “Raising Sheep the Modern Way,” pushed us that way. We’ve raised sheep since 1987. And concentrate on lamb cuts, pastured eggs, and wool.
The way we started has made me curious about how other Saratoga Farmers’ Market vendors began.
Before we joined the Market, we met Marge and Dave Randles. Dave and his brother ran Randles dairy farm, founded in 1860 in Argyle. Dave explained, “Seventeen years ago, the price of milk was abysmal, so we thought of doing value-added products.”
Making cheese was Dave’s first idea, at Argyle Cheese Farm. But “Marge is a visionary,” he said, “who thought about a variety of products.”
They offer fantastic yogurt, award-winning cheese, cheese spreads, cultured buttermilk, smoothies, gelato, and more. Check out tzatziki sauce, new breads, doughnuts, and baked goods.
When the Market needed a new coffee vendor, Beth Trattel, Something’s Brewing, at first shared a small space with Argyle Cheese Farmer. “The Market was a better fit than my coffee shop in Greenwich.”
“About two years ago, I started coffee roasting.” with sustainable beans. “It’s like making wine, or cooking,” she said. “…more creative and flexible.”
Her Battenkill River Coffee has several varieties, and she blends her own teas, blueberry lavender this week. In addition, she makes lemonade, iced black tea, iced mocha, Italian cream soda.
Mark Bascom and Lindsay Fisk, planted Owl Wood Farm in Salem five years ago. They heard owls in woods at a leased farm and their current farm.
They studied environmental science at two colleges, including sustainable agriculture. Lindsay explained, “We started working on farms during summers, and took various apprenticeships after college.”
After the apprenticeships, they decided to raise Certified Naturally Grown vegetables, herbs, and strawberries. Lindsay said, “It’s a grassroots alternative to the National Organic Program, and we do it so we can be third-party verified.” At Farmers’ Market, salad greens are the most popular.
This week’s recipe: Iced Mocha