Saturday, August 20, 2011

Vestal Farmers Market and Garlic Ice Cream

Today, in between two exercise walks, my spouse and I visited the Vestal, NY farmers market and the garlic festival at the American Civic Association in Binghamton.

We weren't able to do our scheduled blueberry picking.  We wanted to make a second pick to enjoy fresh berries for another couple of weeks before we had to return to supermarket berries.  Normally, the season would still be going strong on August 20. But not this year.  Spouse called three places.  Two were closed down - the season ended yesterday with torrential rain and hail.  The third still had berries but warned they were sparse and small.

We decided the drive to the U-Pick place wasn't worth the gas we would expend.

The Vestal Farmers Market did have berries, but we passed, buying instead sweet corn, some garlic (Music) and a head of green cabbage.

The parking lot was jammed - the market sets up in the parking lot of the Vestal Public library, alongside one of the most heavily traveled roads in this area, the Vestal Parkway.

Here is a display of melons, potatoes, cucumbers, and more.  Besides what I reported in the post on Binghamton's market yesterday, were plumcots, cauliflower, hand spun wool products and a Binghamton coffee shop sampling its quiche and salsa. (the salsa was excellent.)

And here a bounty of corn, including the two ears we bought.
The tragic thing about the American Civic Association on the edge of downtown Binghamton is that if you do a Google search on it, what you will come up with is multiple accounts of the tragic shooting of April 3, 2009 which left 14 dead (including the gunman) and put Binghamton on the national map for a few days.  But you won't find very much about the organization and its works, at least in an initial search.  The ACA is a most worthwhile organization and should not be remembered just for that shooting.

One of the annual events the ACA puts on is its annual Multi-Ethnic Garlic Festival.  In 2009 it was cancelled as the ACA was still dealing with the aftermath of the shooting, including the need to (gross, but true) fix up the building.  Last year the festival was held again, and again this year the garlic vendors were out in force.

I loved this vendor's crafted wooden sign. We bought some German Red garlic from this vendor after a taste test.

Braided garlic on display.
The many varieties on sale included German Red and German White, Elephant, Music, Carpathian.  One vendor also had (small) shallots for sale.  There was a mustard vendor, a couple of flavored oil vendors (garlic, of course) and even a local winery had a booth set up.

There was a Kettle Corn vendor and people kept asking him if it was garlic flavored.  It wasn't.  I think that vendor lost an opportunity, but maybe he will come back tomorrow with garlic flavored kettle corn.

And last, but not least, was the food for sale inside, including kielbasa, German potato salad, and more.  The line was long, so we went outside where several other cooks from the ACA had set up. The lines were shorter and we enjoyed some - yes, enjoyed - garlic ice cream.  Theirs was vanilla ice cream with raw garlic combined into it.

Believe it or not, it was good.  But I tasted it for a good hour after.  Roasted garlic might work better.

Luckily, for once, there is no such thing as smell-o-blog.


  1. My favorite blueberry place here in NE Pennsylvania had a short season too. They're still open, but the berries are few and far between at this point. Usually I can count on a Labor Day weekend trip up there, but not this year! :(

  2. Wow. I had no idea the blueberry harvest had been negatively impacted this year. I'm sorry to hear that. What about other fruits?

    I wonder if they mixed in a bit of honey with roasted garlic if that might a tasty ice cream. Sounds pretty yummy!


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