More ways my hometown has changed for the better since I left? There’s now a thriving farmers market every Wednesday from June – September.
Way back when, we did not have a farmers market. We did have one farmer who filled his pickup truck with produce every Saturday morning and sold it in front of McCluskey Hardware. We had a CSA membership, but it was pretty flexible. My mom would negotiate with him, trading unwanted veggies (like kale) for things we ate tons of (like green beans). Plus we usually bought extra veggies on top of our share. And some weeks he had goat cheese from Nettle Meadow farm in a little white cooler by the driver’s side door. I loved that farmer and when he stopped coming out, I was really sad.
While I still like to reminisce about Ed, the Chestertown, NY Farmers Market is really something else. There’s all kinds of produce from numerous farmers, Nettle Meadow cheese has their own booth, there are baked goods and wine, and bands play each week. It’s a big outdoor party.
These are a few of the characters you might meet at the party and the goodies they’ve prepared for sale.
The one familiar thing from the one-farmer market? Nettle Meadow. The variety of cheese available is huge now as the company has grown like gangbusters over the years. I can even get a couple flavors of Nettle Meadow in Pittsburgh. Their chevre is my favorite, especially the garlic and olive oil flavor. I tried their apple cider fromage frais for the first time and loved it; the fromage frais was a huge hit at a party I had back home, too.
Microgreens are a fun addition to salads, sandwiches, and wraps. There are all kinds, enough that Gather It Up Farm specializes in microgreens. I love the bright purple amaranth microgreens, they have a mild flavor so you could put them on just about anything. Popcorn microgreens taste just like popcorn. And the arugula microgreens? They’re like pepper.
Nothing like tasting wine at 10:30 a.m., right? And when the wine is from Amorici, it’s particularly delightful. Their Marquette NOR is one of the best reds I’ve tried this year. I can’t wait to open the bottle I brought home. They make some fruit wines as well, including an Apple Honey wine that’s sweet in just the right way.
Handmade Strawberry Rhubarb Jam. That’s all you need to know. For real. It’s so good. Don’t believe me? Get a free sample at the farmers market. I bet you’ll by a jar or two.
You’ve got jam from Betty’s, now you definitely need bread good enough to spread it on. The sourdough from Rock Hill is perfect for that. I wish I’d had more time in town to sample more of their breads.
Do you like farmers markets? Tell me about your favorite one in the comments below!