I have been meaning to expand my farmers’ market horizons beyond my beloved Clapsaddle Farm in Ilion, NY. Saturday I finally made my way to the Oneida County Public Market at Union Station in Utica.
The market is worth checking out for the location alone. Union Station is one of Utica’s architectural treasures, a magnificent brick building. The large main room (waiting area for trains and buses) has a high ceiling, marble floor, enormous columns and build in wooden benches. Yes, this would be another post where it would have been nice if I had a digital camera and knew how to post pictures. One more thing to work on in the coming year.
One of my favorite things at farmers’ markets (and the supermarket, for that matter) is when they offer free samples. My problem is I try it, I like it, I want to buy it. With EVERYTHING! Also I feel a little guilty taking something from these small vendors and not purchasing anything.
First I tried some sweets and immediately purchased one for Steven. It was his Valentine’s Day present, but I could not resist giving it to him right away, so I do not scruple to mention it here. Unfortunately I did not make a note of the business name or pick up a card. Too bad, because I would totally recommend it.
The Stoltzfus Family Dairy guy offered a number of cheese, cheese curds and yogurt samples. I told him I had seen his stuff at the Ilion Farmers’ Market, and he agreed that was another good market. He sent me away with a sample of vanilla yogurt and a spoon, so I could continue to sample as I perused other vendors.
I admired some dog treats from Redmond’s Red Deer Farm and bird houses made from gourds by Janice Wnuk, the Garden Mentor. I sampled local honey from Bardwell Farms and gluten-free baked goods from Rosemont Inn Baking Company. The baking company people also run a bed and breakfast in Utica. That might be a nice place for a romantic night with my husband. I took business cards from anybody who had one.
I chatted up my friend Tom from Three Village Cheese Company. It was due to Three Village that I went to the farmers’ market. they had posted on their Facebook page that they would be there, and I said, “Ooh, there’s a thought.” He asked if I was still blogging.
“Oh yes, every day,” I said. I told him that was one reason I was happy to be there, as the blog had been thin on community events lately.
I purchased some cheese that utilized beer in the making. I foolishly did not make note of the name and I have since thrown away the package (of course I opened it almost as soon as I got home; what else?). Then I want back to the Stoltzfus table and got some vanilla yogurt, which I also started eating soon after I got it home.
I was all pleased with myself for driving ten (or so) miles down the road to a different farmers’ market. And Steven was pleased with his Valentine treat. My only regret was that I couldn’t bring my schnoodle, Tabby. Perhaps I’ll take her on a visit to Clapsaddle Farm soon.
The Oneida County Market runs from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 9 and April 13. Weekly markets begin May 18. For more information, visit their website at http://www.oneidacountymarket.com/