5 reasons to love the Hastings-on-Hudson farmers market

betty ming liu Food 5 Comments

It’s that time again here in my hometown! The farmers market is setting up for the summer at its outdoor location overlooking the Hudson River. There’s something special about buying stuff grown and made only a few hours away. It makes me feel connected to the earth. Good for the soul. And, the stomach too.

Through the winter, a scaled-down, indoor version of the market operates at the local community center. But these folks have been outside for the past week or two, getting warmed up for next Saturday’s official launch of the summer season.

Being there this morning reminded me of all the reasons I adore a good farmers market, especially this one…

Reason #1: Everything is super-fresh. We get the most incredible fish from a Long Island vendor. Absolutely delicious. The gala apples, stockpiled from last fall’s harvest, are luscious too. And who can resist pretty flowers?

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Reason #2: Exploring new food concepts is invigorating. Never before have I seen a stick-shaped lettuce (the photo below, to your right). The farmer called it “noodle lettuce” and said these greens originally hail from Russia. I found the blades a bit bitter, like eating grass. But they’ll add depth and texture to my next salad. And look at the beautiful organic shallots and ginger — these are both kitchen staples for me.

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Reason #3: Being outdoors reminds me to slow down and savor nature. Hastings-on-Hudson sits along the Hudson River, which starts in Lower Manhattan at the Statue of Liberty and travels 315 miles north through eastern New York state. Those of us along the waterfront are part of the Hudson Valley, which is becoming known for its artisanal products and farm-to-table lifestyle.

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Reason #4: Small farmers and local entrepreneurs deserve support. Forget about the big food corporations selling processed crap. Entrepreneurs are the backbone of the American economy. Family farms work hard to survive. They’re the rock stars of the green movement. They’re brave too; I could never stake my livelihood on unpredictable weather. Could you?

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Reason #5: Community building is home-y. For years, my summer Saturday routine has always started at the farmers market. I try to get there when it opens around 9 a.m., before the crowds. But mingling can be fun if you’re not in a hurry. Shoppers bring their babies, kids and dogs. The vendors chat when they’re not busy. (Btw, you’ll want to ask about their products — for instance, at least one vendor, to my dismay, sells eggs from caged hens.)

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And now, a few links you might like:

Soooo, I’d like to wish everyone a wonderful Memorial Day weekend! Enjoy the sun and fresh air — and hopefully, good food. xo.

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Comments 5

  1. Walter

    Very good article! I live in Latham, NY moved up here two and a half years ago from NYC. The farmers markets up here generally don’t have an outside market like the one you go to. However the fruits and vegetables here taste a lot better than in the city and there’s a small family owned store called Green Grocer they get their fruits and vegetables from small farmers around NY State and they have good quality too.
    I just remembered that when I lived on Roosevelt Island in NYC, every Saturday there were small farmers that would come and set up a big covered stand much like the one you posted in your picture. Everything tasted fresh and was of excellent quality at affordable prices. The only issue was for a short time that, the local Gristedes grocery store, notorious for mid to low quality started to complain to management about the farmers coming on the weekends. Much to the store’s dismay management told them that the farmers have been coming for years and will be allowed to continue to sell their goods. To give you and your readers an example how bad the store is it got 1 and a half stars out of FIVE… http://www.yelp.com/biz/gristedes-new-york-39

  2. Post
    Author
    betty ming liu

    Ouch, Walter, that’s a terrible rating! But glad to hear you enjoy farmers markets too. A lot depends on the passion of market organizers. For that, Hastings is very lucky.

    And supermarkets just can’t match the quality possible at a good farmers market. That includes Whole Foods, which I’ll avoid as much as possible during the summer months.

    In the past, some of our local retailers complained too, about losing business. Everyone seems to have adapted now. In fact, I usually round out my Saturday shopping at the local health food store, Food for Thought. It’s a few steps from the farmers market.

  3. Skye

    Thanks for shouting out the “rock stars of the green movement!” I could only imagine having that much close a connection to where one’s food comes from would inspire gratitude. The more I acquaint myself with this
    “movement,” the less information I find available on the farmers themselves. Visiting farmers markets offers a one-of-a-kind interaction that let’s me see the bigger picture
    On another note, where can I find noodle lettuce in the boroughs?

    1. Post
      Author
      betty ming liu

      Skye, most of these farmers are not particularly good pr people. Most of the ones I’ve met are not trained to think in terms of marketing. But try the GrowNYC website, which runs the Greenmarkets.

      “Greenmarket” is their trademarked name for the farmers markets run by these folks. They have very specific standards for vendors. The location at Union Square in Manhattan is their flagship Greemarket site. Lots of fancy NYC chefs shop there.

      Maybe you can find the noodle lettuce there. The farmer is Chinese American and organic; I didn’t get his name this time but he is new to Hastings. I think he said that he sells at Union Square too. I will ask and get back to you!

  4. toby

    We have a good farm market in Trenton and a big farm/flea market at Columbus, not far south. I’m a regular. Getting fresh produce picked that very morning or the day before is a treat that takes me back to when I grew up in the country and the vegetables for dinner came from our garden minutes before they went into the pot. I don’t have the time, space or motivation to garden (except for my window boxes) so the market is a wonderful substitute – and nothing can beat fresh Jersey tomatoes, melons and sweet corn. I’m off to the market right now in fact, to get some veggies to go with corned beef for tonight’s dinner to celebrate the fabulous results of the Irish referendum on marriage equality! I’m proud of my people – God bless Ireland! Guess I’d better buy cabbage.

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