Saturday, September 24, 2011

Farmers Markets on the Cusp of Fall

The Farmers Markets are back. And even our local newspaper is excited about it.

Taking the advice I gave readers last Saturday, we again visited two local markets, Vestal and Otsiningo Park (Binghamton).  Both markets are showing the transition from summer into fall, and both markets (I believe) will be closing up shop by the end of October.  (The Otsiningo Park market goes indoors, but only meets once a month.)

The Vestal market is in the parking lot of the Vestal Library, which has been closed since the flood. (the good news is, they are reopening Monday at 2pm.)  We bought some unusual decorative gourds there.  If we were so inclined, we could have bought either white or orange pumpkins from him, too.  I have been hearing of a  pumpkin shortage and I have to believe much of the local crop was lost.  I hope I'm wrong.

From another vendor, we bought a 4 lb organic free range chicken for a special occasion later this week. This is a special treat for us.  I must admit the price, while fair, (and we have actually visited this farmer so we know these are true free range chickens) is rather pricey for our budget.  But we decided to splurge.

If we hadn't had plenty of honey, a nearby honey stand would have taken care of that.  Fall honey is coming in.  The fascinating part of local honey is the different types:  the mild summer variety and the full bodied, deeper colored fall types.  Of course, that is due to the types of flowers available.  I'm sure the Japanese knotweed kept the bees happy but we noticed, when we visited Otsiningo Park, that a lot of the knotweed had been killed off by the flood.

Another stand sold us two ears of corn and a few pounds of Honeycrisp apples.  It appears the apple crop weathered the flood well.  The market was full of the seasonal Macoun, Galas, Cortlands, Ginger Golds, the beginning of the Empire crop (my favorite, next to Honeycrisp), and some unusual varieties such as Wicked Pucker.  Pears were plentiful, too.  One stand still had Pennsylvania peaches.  The winter squash are coming in, too - acorns, butternuts, and some other varieties.  At the same time, tomatoes (thanks to the heavy rains) are disappearing, as are some of the other summer crops.

Although we didn't purchase any, there were huge cabbages and cauliflower for sale, and even some eggplant (for whatever reason, it was a wonderful year for eggplant-just when we decided not to try to grow it ourselves anymore).  I wonder if this is due to all the rain.  One person's misfortune....

At Otsiningo Park we took a 4.6 mile walk to view the damage, which is extensive. (I will blog about that later this week)  At the market, people were flocking to purchase.  A couple of men provided music.  We picked up a couple of other items.

Again:  support your local farmer.  Support your local farmer's market!

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