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.
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?)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.