When the doldrums set in, winter farmers’ markets can brighten your day with fresh local food and other products. Many stores have “local” sections. As I visited a larger one in our neighboring Vermont recently, with a bustling melee of shoppers, vendors, veggies, maple, hard cider, and other foods and crafts, it occurred to me that I’m long overdue in encouraging readers to visit the winter markets throughout Northern New York. For example, I’ll bet you didn’t know that we not only have one, but now two indoor winter farmers’ markets in Plattsburgh and Upper Jay.
Many of the regional markets are organized and managed by local farmers. Plattsburgh’s Winter Farmers Market in the City Recreation Center on the Old Base Oval has been operating for a number of years thanks to Beth Spaugh, owner of Rehoboth Homestead in Peru, NY. She has worked hard to ensure there is an off-season outlet for fresh locally produced foods.
The market gets up and running in mid-October, just when most other markets are winding down. From October to just before Christmas the market is open from 10am to 1pm every Saturday. It then shuts down for a few weeks, but look for it again on Saturday, January 24, 2015, alternating Saturdays until May 2.
What could this winter market, and others, possibly be offering? The “menu” varies by market. In Plattsburgh, Beth lists plenty from which to assemble fabulous meals including salad greens, farm-stored winter vegetables, meats, farmstead cheese, eggs, breads and pastries, jams, salsas, sauces, vinaigrettes and maple syrup. The vendors at the markets throughout Northern new York are some of your favorite producers from the summer markets so you’re sure to see familiar faces behind the tables.
One nifty convenience the Plattsburgh market offers is a “pre-order online” option. To take advantage of this you can browse the available products on their website, and choose what you’d like to pick up on market day. This assures you access to a good selection, avoids the disappointment of items that have sold out and gives the vendors a chance to prepare your order. You can even organize a group order and send one person to pick it up on market day. Wherever you shop, ask your local producers or market manager if they have a similar service.
One of the new kids on the local farmers’ market block is the Snowy Grocery. It’s a winter farmers’ market based at Sugar House Creamery and hosted by farm owners Margot Brooks and Alex Eaton. After the other markets came to a close in October it seemed a natural extension for some of the regular vendors to band together for a cozy inside venue. This market takes place every Sunday from 11am to 2pm on the farm at 18 Sugar House Way in Upper Jay. Wares include vegetables, meats, breads, cheese, local beer, and even fresh pizza and espresso.
If you’re heading to the southern Adirondack region you might want to check out winter markets at Glens Falls and Saratoga Springs. The Glens Falls market is Saturdays 9am-12pm, November to April, at the Sanford Street School. The Saratoga market runs through those same months 9am-1pm at the Lincoln Baths building at Saratoga Spa State Park, 65 South Broadway. Being in larger metropolitan areas, these markets tend to boast many more vendors and variety, so it can be fun to visit them if you’re down there.
While the winter months are a time to hunker down, why not do it with some nourishing local foods? Visit a winter market! All four of the above markets have Facebook pages for up-to-date info.