FARMERS AT THE FOREFRONT

More markets are dotting the local landscape

JENNIFER GISH STAFF WRITER
Section: Food,  Page: E1

Date: Thursday, June 11, 2009

At one time, farmers were an unknown to city-dwellers and suburbanites -- part of charming country scenes or children's books -- and the supermarket was the only known source of food.


Now, farmers are purveyors, the folks you ask when raspberries will be coming in season as you stuff your canvas bag with fresh arugula and radishes.


And it seems like every town and city in the Capital Region has carved out a place on its blacktop or concrete for a greener way of food shopping, one that bonds neighbors over coffee and music and under a canopy of clouds and sunshine.


This year, new farmers markets will open in downtown Albany, Troy, Clifton Park, Brunswick and Delmar. Those markets will join more than 400 statewide, up from 295 farmers markets in 2004 and 185 in 1996, according to the state Department of Agriculture.


Spurred by the success of large, varied markets like the Troy Waterfront Farmers Market and Saratoga Farmers Market, smaller communities and neighborhoods are now looking for their own taste of local food.


The events have become such a trend that farmers who once lamented the lack of local markets for their produce, meats and dairy products now sometimes struggle to have enough staffing for all the market sites.


"Every neighborhood should have a market," says Jean Krueger, co-organizer for the new Monument Square Market in Troy and for the Little Italy Farmers Market, which started last year at the historic Marketplace site on Hill Street in Troy. "People eat, and when you come together to eat, you're meeting your neighbors, you're getting along with your neighbors, you're helping your neighbors. It becomes a really happy thing."


Both of the markets Krueger has helped develop under the umbrella of the Troy Neighborhood Market organization operate on Wednesday. Monument Square, set up along Broadway between Second and River streets, targets those who work downtown and may want to do their shopping during the market's 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. hours. The Little Italy market, which is held from 3 to 6 p.m. (with extended hours until 7 further into the summer) was created to serve the residents, a group of neighbors who value fresh food at an affordable price.


In Delmar, market manager Paul Tick hopes to create a weekend gathering place for those who can't get to the town's weekday market. The Delmar Farmers Market, home to 25 vendors, held its opening ceremony last Saturday, and operates from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays at the Bethlehem Central Middle School.


"Delmar is already a great community. Most people who live here really love it, but we don't have sort of a Saturday morning center of town," Tick says, adding that the "Four Corners" intersection and shopping area is a traditional gathering spot. "We really needed a bigger place for people to not just shop but congregate together to get the feel of community rather than traveling to another town."


The market has a green focus, urging shoppers to either bring reusable bags or buy ones branded with the market logo and made from recycled plastic bottles, and to consider bringing their own cups to purchase coffee or other beverages there.


A new market in Albany, held outside The Linda: WAMC's Performing Arts Studio, also looks to draw neighbors with the goal of community-building, educating (through environmental activities for kids) and supporting local farms.


The market launched at the end of May, but will hold a special "grand opening" this weekend during normal market hours of 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. Grand opening activities include live goats, music by children's artist Uncle Rock and free barbecue, says market manager Molly Belmont, also a freelance writer for the Times Union.


"The more farmers markets there are the better," she says.


And it appears that the Capital Region, now hooked on crisp local greens and juicy strawberries, agrees.


Jennifer Gish can be reached at 454-5089 or by e-mail at jgish@timesunion.com.


BOX:


Here is a list of area farmers markets. If your market would like to be added the list, which will appear at blogs.timesunion.com/eatlocal throughout the harvest season, e-mail jgish@timesunion.com:


Mondays


Altamont Farmers Market: Altamont Orchards next to Orsini Park, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. June 27 through mid-November.


Queensbury Farmers Market at the Elks Club: on Cronin Road, 3-6 p.m. through Oct. 22.


South Glens Falls Farmers Market: Village Park, Spring Street, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. through October.


Tuesdays


Altamont Farmers Market: Altamont Orchards next to Orsini Park, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. June 27 through mid-November.


CDPHP Farmers Market at Clifton Park Center: 22 Clifton Country Road, 10 a.m.-1 p.m., June 9-Oct. 20.


Delaware Area Neighborhood Association Farmers Market: St. James Church parking lot, 391 Delaware Ave., Albany, 4-7 p.m. through October.


Delmar Farmers Market: First United Methodist Church, 428 Kenwood Ave., 2:30-6 p.m. through Nov. 10.


Johnstown Farmers Market: Johnstown Professional Building, 55 E. Main St., 3-6 p.m. through October.


Niskayuna Farmers Market: Niskayuna Reformed Church at Route 7, from 3-7 p.m. through October.


Schenectady Farmers Market: St. Luke's Church parking lot, between Albany St. and State St., 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m. through October.


Watervliet Farmers Market: "The Dome" parking lot, across from the Watervliet Fire Department, 2:30-5:30 p.m. through mid-October.


Wednesdays


Empire State Plaza Farmers Market: at the outdoor plaza along State Street, Albany, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. through October.


Saratoga Farmers Market: High Rock Park, High Rock Avenue, Saratoga Springs, 3-6 p.m. through October.


Schoharie Country Music Festival: Rua & Sons Lot, Rt. 7, Cobleskill, 3-5 p.m. from late July-late September.


Troy Neighborhood Market: Hill Street between Washington and Liberty streets, one block east of Route 4 North, 3-7 p.m. through Oct. 14.


Uptown Amsterdam Farmers Market: at Amsterdam Memorial Hospital, 3-6 p.m. through the end of October.


Thursdays


Altamont Farmers Market: Altamont Orchards next to Orsini Park, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. June 27 through mid-November.


Ballston Spa Farmers Market: Wiswall Park, Front and Low streets, 3-6 p.m. through Sept. 24.


Bethlehem Grange Farmers Market: 24 Bridge St, Selkirk, noon-6 p.m. July through October.


CDPHP Farmers Market: 500 Patroon Creek Blvd. in Albany, 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m. until Oct. 1.


Clifton Park Farmers Market: St. George's Church parking lot along Route 146, 2-5 p.m. July-October.


Dana Park Farmers Market: intersection of Delaware Avenue, Madison Avenue and Lark Street in Albany, 8 a.m. until dark.


Downtown Albany Farmers Market: Maiden Lane Park at the corner of Broadway and Pine Street, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. through October.


Downtown Amsterdam Farmers Market,: Horace J. Inman Senior Center, 53 Guy Park Ave., 9 a.m.-1 p.m. through October.


Harriman State Office Campus Farmers Market: Harriman State Office Campus off Western and Washington avenues, Albany, 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m. through October.


North Creek Farmers Market: next to Upper Hudson River RR station, Railroad Place, 4-7 p.m. through Oct. 29.


Rensselaer County Farmers Market: Twin Town Little League Fields, Williams Road, North Greenbush, 2:30-5:30 p.m. through Oct. 15.


Schenectady Farmers Market: City Hall, Franklin and Jay streets, 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m. through October.


Fridays


Altamont Farmers Market: Altamont Orchards next to Orsini Park, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. June 27 through mid-November.


Chatham Farmers Market: 15 Church St. (Route 203), 4-7 p.m., through August.


Cohoes Farmers Market: Remsen Street Municipal Parking Lot, next to Smith's Restaurant. 4-7 p.m. through Oct. 2.


Empire State Plaza Farmers Market, at the outdoor plaza along State Street: Albany, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. through October.


Hilltown Farmers Market, at Jimmy Walker's Greenhouse: along Route 145, Preston Hollow, 4-7 p.m. July 10 through October.


Stuyvesant Farmers Market: Stuyvesant Railroad Station, Riverview Street and Route 26A, 4-7 p.m. through Sept. 25.


Warrensburg Riverfront Farmers Market: Historic Mills Park, River St., 3-6 p.m. through October.


Saturdays


Altamont Farmers Market: Altamont Train Station next to Orsini Park, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. June 27 through mid-November.


Ballston Spa Farmers Market: Wiswall Park, Front and Low streets, 9 a.m.-noon. through Sept. 26.


Canajoharie Farmers Market: Mohawk St. & Rt. 10, 10 a.m.-1 p.m. through September.


Central Avenue Farmers Market: The Linda parking lot, WAMC's Performing Arts Studio, 339 Central Ave., Albany. 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. through Sept. 26


The Farmers Market at the Crossings: Albany-Shaker Road across from Emerick Lane, Colonie, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. through Oct. 31.


Glens Falls Farmers Market: South Street Pavilion, 8 a.m.-noon through Nov. 21.


Gloversville Farmers Market: Elm Street Pavilion between Church and Spring streets, 8 a.m.-noon through October.


Hudson Farmers Market: Motor Vehicle Parking Lot, Sixth and Columbia streets, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. through Nov. 21.


Kinderhook Farmers Market: Village Square and Green, 8 a.m.-12:30 p.m. through mid-October.


Menands Farmers Market: 381 Broadway, Route 32, Menands, 8 a.m.-1 p.m. through Oct. 31.


Saratoga Farmers Market: High Rock Park, High Rock Avenue, Saratoga Springs. 9 a.m.-1 p.m. through October (inside the Salvation Army Building on Woodlawn Avenue from November-April).


Schoharie Country Music Festival: Rua & Sons Lot, Rt. 7, Cobleskill, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. from mid July-mid October.


Town of Ballston Farmers Market: Dollar General Plaza, Route 50, Burnt Hills, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. through Oct. 31.


Troy Waterfront Farmers Market: River Front Park, just off Front Street, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. through October.


Union Steet Farmers Market: along Upper Union Street from Lakewood Ave. to Palmer Ave., Schenectady, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. through Oct. 31.


Sundays


Altamont Farmers Market: Altamont Orchards next to Orsini Park, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. June 27 through mid-November.


Menands Farmers Market: 381 Broadway, Route 32, Menands, noon-4 p.m. through Oct. 31.


Schenectady Greenmarket: City Hall at Franklin and Jay Streets, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. through October.


Waterford Harbor Farmers Market: 1 Tugboat Alley, 9 a.m.-2 p.m. through October.


Compiled by Bethany Bump


TIP:


E5 Listing of Farmers markets.