Hello Small Bites readers. It’s Cara Cea here with the first of regular guest blog posts throughout the farmers’ market season. This year I am President of the Suffern Farmers’ Market and am excited for what promises to be a great growing season. In my blog posts I plan to highlight the products currently available at local markets as well as feature local growers and other food producers.
I have always favored the warmer months and do now more than ever because it means our local farmers’ markets are open and fresh food is bountiful. Opening Day of the Suffern Farmers’ Market was this past weekend and it was a huge success with happy customers and vendors coming together again after the winter months.
My first farmers’ market haul of the season included string beans, broccoli, lettuce, herbs and strawberries from one of our produce vendors, Do Re Me.
Last night I treated my family to the first strawberry shortcake dessert of the season and there were no leftover strawberries when my kids got through with it. My children also “love string beans as much as pasta” when I sauté them with olive oil, salt, black pepper and minced fresh garlic so that was another hit.
I was also happy to be able to once again purchase maple syrup from Breezie Maples Farm and freshly made mozzarella from Panzarella’s – two of my favorite locally made products that I miss during the off-season.
Our Market has several returning vendors as well as some new ones this year. Among the new vendors is Burt’s Mountain Honey, not to be confused with Burt’s Bees, and their stand was chock full of honey products including honey candy, honey straws, honey soaps, beeswax lip balm, hand cream and of course, jars of honey.
I spoke with Wayne and his wife Silvana at the stand and they tell a story of beekeeping that goes back generations in Wayne’s family. Wayne’s father, Burt, has been a professional beekeeper for over 65 years. Burt and his bees hail from the Northern Catskill Mountains. Burt and his family believe in the healing power of honey.
With hives located in Windham and on the north side of Ashland Pinnacle, Burt and Wayne’s bees get an assortment of apple blossom, white clover and wildflower nectar.
I spoke with Wayne and Silvana about the vital importance of honeybees to the world’s food supply. The Journal News’ own Greg Clary wrote about this when he came to Pace University, where I work, last year for the July 3, 2009 feature story on beekeeping at our environmental center in Pleasantville, “Honeybees make sweet work at Pace.”
According to Burt’s Mountain Honey’s web site, honeybees are responsible for the pollination of approximately 80% of all fruit, vegetable and seed crops in the United States. Clearly, we need honeybees and not just because they make delicious, sweet honey.
Our educational program this week centered around a vermicomposting activity, thanks to Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Master Gardeners, which was attended by 55 children and their parents. Vermicomposting is a fancy term for using worms to turn kitchen waste into rich soil for gardens.
Our new program director, Suffern mom Alex Silbergeld whose daughters are in the photo above, arranged for a weekly guest vendor/artisan at the Market who this week was Jeremy Honey, Director of Veteran Affairs for Rockland, who makes and sells walking sticks out of wood.
The only disappointment this past week at the Suffern Farmers’ Market was that there was no meat vendor in place yet, but that has been rectified with word from Bettinger Bluff Farm that they are on board for future weeks to sell their all natural grass fed beef at the Market.
This Saturday we hope to see the first peaches and plums from Pennings Orchard as well. So, come visit us at the Suffern Farmers’ Market or take advantage of the plentiful choices at any one of the 40 farmers’ markets in our area.
For more details on the Suffern Farmers’ Market vendors and program line-up for the season, visit www.suffernfarmersmarket.org.
Vendors at the Suffern Farmers’ Market include:
• Aunt Vicky’s Bickys dog treats
• Auntie El’s
• Bettinger Bluff Farm – all natural grass fed beef
• Burt’s Mountain Honey
• Breezie Maples Farm maple syrup
• Breezy Hill Orchard produce and plants
• Coventry Body Care
• Do Re Me Farms produce
• Emmaline’s Hot Sauce
• Hudson Valley Pantry
• Janet’s Quality Baked Goods
• Kitchen Garden produce
• Little Bake Shop
• Lynn Haven cheeses
• Meredith’s Bread/Horn of Plenty
• Nanny’s Cookies / Mostly Myrtles
• Panzarella Foods
• Pennings Orchard fruits
• Picklicious pickles
• Sleepy Hills Orchard fruits
• Tonjes Farm Dairy cheese and yogurt
• Whitecliff Vineyard wines