Pleasantville Farmers Market: Guest Blogger Peter Rogovin Reports on Chefs

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Hello there. Peter Rogovin, Chairperson of the Pleasantville Farmers’ Market Committee, guest blogging today from our market. It was a glorious day in the market; as great summer produce continues to roll in (happily eclipsing memories of last year’s rainy June), the market continues to grow and find its own groove.

I am not only new to this blog, but also to the whole realm of market oversight. A long time market visitor and fan, I casually asked our chairperson in January if maybe, possibly, I could, perhaps, be on the committee? Her eyes lit up as she eagerly said “Be ON the Committee? Peter, you can HAVE it – it is yours. Go round up some friends and knock yourself out!”  She handed over the keys, so to speak, in February, and it has been non-stop planning since then, with quite a bit to show for the efforts.

Molly, Pleasantville Farmers Market Manager Extraordinaire

We orchestrated a “growth spurt” this year; by moving from the sidewalk to the parking lot, this year’s market is safer (separating cars from pedestrians), bigger (room for 10 more vendors), livelier (weekly live music and kids activities), easier for farmers (trucks in close proximity), and more relaxing for everyone (more open space and a large seating area). Locals are still discovering the new layout and are creating their own shop and linger routines.  And our wonderful manager Molly, who works the rest of the week at Stone Barns, does a great job keeping the market humming (every week I learn how hard it is to keep everyone happy at the market!).

I started out the morning at Dragonfly, a local coffee shop with a tent and kiosk in the market with hot and cold coffee and iced tea. They are situated right next to the new seating area, but with two kids in tow, there was not a lot of sitting for me.  Some folks availed themselves of the Starbucks across the street, but I prefer the ‘Fly, as locals call it.

Today, Bialas Farms had beautiful beets, carrots, radishes, peas, garlic scapes and spinach. Kasha Bialas, a 3rd generation farmer, was about to cut off the beet greens (at my request, to make them fit in a small bag) when she offered me a recipe for cooking them. She promised that pan sautéing them with a little garlic, salt and pepper would yield a spinach-like side dish, but with a sweeter flavor and heartier, less wilty texture, and would make them worth the extra room. And she was right! (Am I the last person to learn about how good beet greens are?)

Bialas had a bounty of root veggies; I bought red and golden beets and carrots

We lost our flower vendor a few years ago to another market, but this year several farmers are bringing their cut flowers to market, including Newgate, Cowberry Crossing and Bialas. After the jump, some of Bialas’s arrangements, and photos of other vendors, plus our guest chefs for the week.

Cut flowers for sale at Bialas Farms

Feather Ridge super-jumbo eggs, 6 to a carton (Photo credit: Chad Kraus)

Mark, our friendly pesto purveyor from BuddhaPesto

Next stop was Feather Ridge, where the super-jumbo eggs are $5 per half dozen, but even if that dents the wallet you can’t help but be thankful you were not the hen that layed these monsters.

I bought some pesto from one of our new vendors, BuddhaPesto, before they sold out at noon.  When they first came to the market, I remember thinking, “Pesto?  You make one product, that’s it?” but I guess when you do it like this you can make it work. Thirty minutes after a little taste, my mouth was still buzzing with delicious mix of sheep’s milk cheese, fresh basil, oil and garlic, and I came back to buy some.

Samples from BuddhaPesto (photo credit: Chad Kraus)

Donald Sedor, Newgate Farms

Some of Newgate Farms' berries

Mead Orchards' black raspberries

Rainbow chard from J&A Bialas Farm (Photo credit: Chad Kraus)

I’ve been getting by orchard fruit from Mead and Newgate Farms. The Newgate blueberries are sweet and flavorful, as are Mead’s cherries.  Newgate has currants and gooseberries (that made it into our chef’s risotto – see below!) and Mead featured beautiful black raspberries. Everyone’s strawberries look at taste good, but they look better than they taste this year, and I don’t know why. Just me?


Last week Adina Bialas from J&A Bialas Farms gave me recipe for rainbow chard, and, at least for now, that is my new, official favorite vegetable. My wife has always liked bitter greens and now I am getting with the program.

My diet killer continues to be Dutch Desserts, which sells in several markets but we are lucky to have one of the founders and co-owners, Marjan Beebe, in our market every week. They had their usual selection of summer fruit pies; to their credit, they are quick to offer tastes, because it is impossible not to buy after tasting. The chocolate tart (my daughter’s favorite) is like a rich chocolate brownie baked inside a butter pastry crust. Doesn’t get much better. But we landed on a small peach raspberry tart instead.

Rainbeau Ridge was doing a brisk business in Rond Vivant, a goat cheese that takes about 10 days to make and has a fuller flavor. Below our farmer and a customer discuss the merits of this cheese versus some other offerings.

Rainbeau Ridge goat cheese

The big event in Pleasantville was Chef Day at the market. Three chefs from some of the most popular local restaurants shopped the market and demonstrated their skills. First Phil McGrath, with TV crew in tow, interviewed the farmers about what was fresh and delicious (the edited show will appear on Community TV, PCTV76). Chef Nalini from Bollywood Bistro prepared mint chutney and a pan friend fish with Indian spices that everyone seemed to love (to wit: ran out of recipe cards almost immediately. My bad. But I posted the recipes in the discussion section of our facebook page: www.facebook.com/PvilleFarmMarket). Finally, Dan Petrilli and his team from Haven prepared a spring risotto using squash, scapes, scallions, currants and gooseberries and goat cheese. The chef demos filled the market with wonderful scents and hopefully helped promote their restaurants as well. Pics below; next chef day is July 31.

Owner / chef Nalini from Bollywood Bistro on Wheeler Ave in P'ville prepares market-bought fish in Indian spices

Owner / chef Dan Petrilli from Haven Restaurant prepares spring vegetable risotto

Visitors lining up for tastes of Chef Nalini's fish

So that's why it tasted so good! All ingredients of today's chef demo (except the rice) were sourced in our market!

Bollywood Bistro chef's mise en place for her sautéed fish - the spearmint and cilantro in the foreground were for mint chutney (recipe on facebook.com/PvilleFarmMarket)

Yum! Pickle on a stick, a popular item for young and old alike!

We finished up the day at Pickleicious. This vendor had a line 6-7 deep all day, from opening to closing, though it was in part because they seemed understaffed. But they have loyal customers who will wait for their pickles no matter what. Above is my son enjoying his “pickle pop” and capping off a great day.

Below are additional pictures of our vendors and the new set-up in the market. The seating area has really transformed tha market from a place where people shop and leave to a place where visitors stay, linger and enjoy.

New seating area. More tables and chairs are on order!

Peter Carucci, local singer / songwriter, performs on June 26 at the Pleasantville Farmers' Market; every week except July 10 through the end of October, the market features live music.

One of two tables of kids doing arts and crafts, organized and led by local designers and professional artists Kat and Gregg Nemec. A different market-themed kids activity is scheduled almost every week, from storytelling to magicians to arts and crafts.

The team from Haven Restaurant in Pleasantville; Owner / Chef Dan Petrilli on the right

Trotta Foods from Thornwood is a great new addition to our market. THey are exploring the possibility of bringing pasta sheets and custom-cutting pasta to order in the market

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Guest bloggers are encouraged to contribute to Small Bites. To submit an idea, email food editor Liz Johnson at food@lohud.com

7 Comments

  1. Katherine Curry on

    I was there this Sat. and it is a wonderful market — this year’s even better. Parking’s still a challenge, but worth the work!

  2. Thanks for the opportunity Liz! Doesn’t the Haven sous chef (on left) look like he is getting ready to be on Chopped or Iron Chef? It was a great day! I wanted to add for your readers that as this market becomes more popular, parking is getting trickier (we have same # of spots as last year but our attendance is tracking up about 30-40%). There are two “hidden” lots that are frequently empty before noon (during market peak): the first is a 3 hour meter lot behind Dunkin Donuts and The VIllage Bookstore, diagonally across from the Burns (entrance is off Manville just as it crosses the tracks); the second is free all day on weekends and it is behind Lucy’s Lounge on Wheeler, just south of Bedford. Both are within a two minute walk of the market. And visitors are always welcome to leave their purchases with the manager and then bring their car over for loading, so even if you park far away, there is no need to schlepp it all back!

  3. Love this market. Can’t wait for tomatoes. One of the vendors carry heirloom varieties and brings almost 20 different kind. Went on opening weekend. Really great. Even had a lobster roll on grainy bread that was super. Thanks for all the hard work. Nice blog…and photos.

  4. Debbie Garbus on

    Hello, Peter. My name is Debbie and I am part of a fundraising committee for the Valhalla MS/HS. We are holding a craft fair in November, and wanted to add a Farmer’s Market to the mix. I was hoping you could give me some insight, and perhaps, put me in touch with some vendors who might be willing to do a one day event?

  5. mark chandler bailey on

    Sure – I sell a little Buddhapesto in Pleasantville on a Saturday ‘morn… 8:30AM – 1:00PM

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