EAT, DRINK & SHOP LOCAL: Capital District Farmers’ Markets

Here’s our round-up of the area’s top markets you won’t want to miss this fall—or winter.

Photos by LAWRENCE WHITE

Fresh, homemade, local—these three terms are gaining more importance with each passing year, just as access is becoming easier. That’s due in no small part to doz- ens of area farmers’ markets, responsible for bringing artisan foods and products into more communities than ever.

So embrace the cooler weather this fall and do your shopping outdoors. You can feed your family and your friends, and even tackle some holiday shopping while you stroll from stall to stall. And we’re not just talking about great local produce here—but also fresh cheeses, sweets, breads, pastas, wines, spirits, dips and sauces.

Read on to see what’s open when and where (most are even open year-round), and which highlights you won’t want to miss.

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Saratoga County: Saratoga Farmers’ Market

Saturdays, 9 a.m.–1 p.m. and Wednesdays, 3–6 p.m. through October (High Rock Park Pavilions); November through April (Lincoln Baths Building)

Variety is what you’ll find at the Saratoga Farmers’ Mar- ket—fresh produce, flowers, chocolates, liquors, baked goods, pizza, even fresh-squeezed juices—so you’re bound to find something for even the pickiest eater.

For those with a sweet tooth, head to Saratoga-based Bon Bon Brazil NY for brigadeiros, a Brazilian treat made from milk, sugar, butter and chocolate that’s often compared to a truffle or bon bon. Choose from flavors like lemon, cappuccino, coconut and Neapolitan, or choose them all. If you’re more tempted by pastries and baked goods, stop by Mrs. London’s for many of the same offerings you can get at the boutique location in Saratoga Springs. Classic croissants, scones, Danishes and tarts sit side-by-side with loaves of fresh-baked bread—and yes, it’s perfectly acceptable to head home with a basket-full.

If you’re looking for something a little more savory, the Mariaville Mushroom Men of Delanson can help. They’ve got everything from shiitake to lion’s mane to oysters to intriguing varieties like pioppino—and they have recipes to share for daring mushroom newbies.

The Spa City Farmers’ Market happens year-round at the Lincoln Baths, inside the Saratoga Spa State Park. Open Sundays from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. through December, and open until 2 p.m. January through April. Stop by for fresh produce from area farms and plenty of prepared foods that make family mealtime a breeze, as well as honey, jams, rubs, sauces—and even cheesecake. It’s also “100 percent dog-friendly” and the parking is always free.

Expert tip—Vendors differ on Saturdays and Wednes- days, so you may even want to stop in twice a week.

Shoppers peruse produce from Denison Farm at the Troy Waterfront Farmers’ Market.

Rensselaer County: Troy Waterfront Farmers’ Market

Saturdays, 9 a.m.–2 p.m. (Riverfront Park)

Open every Saturday, rain or shine, the Troy market is a go-to for fresh produce, baked goods, ready-to-eat items, catered meals and gifts. Every product up for sale has been proudly produced within 100 miles of downtown Troy, courtesy of more than 80 vendors. So when they say local, they mean it. Live music and family activities are always available, as are tastings, six-packs and bottles from local breweries and distilleries. Adults and kids will leave happy.

Fan favorites include family-owned BuddhaPesto, based in Woodstock. Stop by to score some from-scratch pesto that will impress dinner guests and kids alike. There’s also Flour City Pasta from Macedon, whose dried artisanal pasta is made the traditional way with imported tools and fresh, organic ingredients. Check them out for truly beautiful pasta varieties, like their tri-color Bon Vivant Orzo made with wild mushroom, saffron, spinach and cayenne, or their Habanero Fettucine that has the spice built right in. Goat’s milk bleu cheese and cow’s milk mozzarella are just a few of the samplings offered by Troy-based R&G Cheese Makers, which specializes in high-quality cheeses and yogurts.

Expert tip—Park for free in the Uncle Sam, 5th Avenue and State Street parking garages.


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Schenectady County: Schenectady Greenmarket

Sundays, 10 a.m.–2 p.m. through October (near City Hall); November through April (inside Proctors Theater)

You can get it all at the Schenectady Greenmarket—produce for Sunday dinner, a bottle of something to share, and even prepared foods to pop in the freezer and thaw for an easy weeknight meal. Bring the kiddies along as there’s a new children’s activity each week, and a different musician to keep things lively.

Rotterdam-based 3 Chicks and a P specializes in fresh- flavored hummuses like Garlic Breath, Roasted Red Pepper and Black Bean, made exclusively with homegrown herbs. Satisfy your sweet tooth with organic, handcrafted truffles from Cooperstown chocolatier Le Marais Chocolat, or indulge in something of the adult variety: small-batch potato vodka crafted with local spring water, courtesy of Middleburgh’s own 1857 Spirits. And they don’t just sell bottles—they pour tastings, too.

Expert tip—No pets allowed, and don’t bother showing up early. Vendors are held to a strict “don’t sell before the bell” policy.


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 Albany County: Delmar Farmers’ Market

Saturdays, 9 a.m.–1 p.m. through December (Bethlehem Central Middle School)

With at least one, sometimes two, music performances every Saturday, this market is never the same from week-to-week. Besides produce staples and organic farm products, head to the Delmar market for everything from wine and spirits to fair trade handicrafts.

Cotton Hill Creamery, a small family-owned farm in Middleburgh, sells pasteurized milk, fresh cheeses, and drinkable yogurt—all made with goat milk. If you’ve recently jumped on board the celebrity-loved bone broth train, stop by Troy’s Cave Baby Kitchen for fresh bone broth, nut milk, and granola. You can even get your knives sharpened by the Delmar Sharpener, based in Slingerlands—perfect timing, considering the holidays are nearing.

Expert tip—The market prides itself on a reuse and recycle mentality. They ask that patrons bring their own bags and reusable cups to reduce waste.


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Washington County: Cambridge Valley Farmers’ Market

Sundays, 9 a.m.–2 p.m. through December (behind Hubbard Hall) Sundays, 9 a.m.–1 p.m., January through April (Lovejoy Building)

This year-round market offers everything from fresh-brewed coffee, courtesy of Round House Bakery, to pasture-raised meat and eggs, certified organic veggies and a score of homemade baked goods, and of course, homemade hard cider thanks to Saratoga Apple.

Stop by Earth Sky Time Farm, of Manchester, for specialty wood-fired bread: sourdough peasant, French poppy seed, sesame semolina and Pugliese, which is topped with toasted sunflower seeds. Oh, and they’ve got French pastries too, when you’re craving something buttery. If you’re on the hunt for organic and small-batch personal care products, check out Woods and Whimsy’s line of all-natural “Happy” products—from lip balm to deodorant, and body butters to bug repellent.

Expert tip—Skip your morning cereal and coffee routine, and grab breakfast at the market.


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Warren County: Glens Falls Farmers’ Market

Saturdays, 8 a.m.–12 p.m. through October (South Street Pavilion) Saturdays, 9 a.m.–12 p.m. November through April (Sanford Street School)

Several area farms and farm stands sell here, not to mention more than a few artisans specializing in woodworking, soaps, pottery, coffee and more. With gift-giving season approaching, you can find something here for everyone on your list.

The Argyle Cheese Farmer has hard cheeses for sale—many of them being their own varieties, like Mercy, Grace and Revival—as well as Greek yogurt and curd. If you’re looking for something fresh to pour over your cereal or add to your coffee, stop by Battenkill Valley Creamery and pick up milk and cream by the pint, quart or gallon. Bonus: They have egg nog in season, and chocolate milk year-round.

Turned bowls, spoons, cutting boards, wine cradles and jewelry are on hand from the Adirondack Wood Artisan, just in time for the holidays. Spot on Soap offers lotions, soaps, candles and body care products in scents like patchouli, hemp and Guinness, and even offers tree-scented balms for hunters.

Expert tip—Too busy to stop by on Saturday? Check out this market’s Monday location in Queensbury. SL