Halloween, farmer-style

Ready for Halloween? Pumpkin painting, face painting, healthy sweet potato snacks are all happening at the first indoor farmers market of the season, Sunday, October 30 from noon to 4 pm at the Senior Center. If you’re wondering what local vegetables and fruits are still available, come and be impressed: a dozen kinds of apples, bartlett, bosc and seckel pears, 28 varieties of potatoes and sweet potatoes, salad greens, mesclun, sprouts, kale, fresh eggs. Find Hudson Valley cheeses from Real Live Amazing Food Company, local meats (including rabbit), wine, gluten-free and specialty baked goods, granola, handmade chocolates, apple cider and more. Pre-order Holiday foods and find the perfect handmade gift from craftsmen.

“We’ve got hundreds of pumpkins for Halloween and pies”, says Tom Maynard. His investment of 30,000 feet of irrigation system assure good crops of late autumn vegetables like Brussels sprouts, eggplants, and celeriac. “It’s the first year I’ve been glad to be up on the hillside, away from the rich bottom lands that were inundated by the floods,” shared Tom. “We were challenged by a really hot July, so we don’t have much cauliflower, but everything else is in good supply.” Treasured Honey Crisp apples, plus Fuji, Golden Delicious, Empire, Cortland, Granny Smith, Braeburn should all be at the market. “We have some 1 and 2 year old trees that are beginning to bear really dark Alabama Blacks and Esopus Spitzenbergs, that date from the 1860’s,” adds Maynard. “Not enough to bring to market, but look for them next season.”

Hudson Valley heirloom apples like Spitzenbergs were shipped in barrels to England by Colonel Oliver Payne, a hundred years ago, from his estate in Esopus. Maynard explained, “Spitzenbergs store well and their flavor make them prime cooking and cider apples in winter. We add Esopus Tarts to our late season cider, for a tangy taste, offered along with our sweeter cider.”

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By February, Maynard begins the painstaking task of creating benchgraft apple stock from old trees and new roots. A cutting of the desired apple variety, including Maynard’s Spitzenbergs, is attached to a hearty 1-year old rootstock. A good benchgraft tree will grow quickly, start to bear fruit sooner and be a healthier tree over the span of its life.

Maynard Orchard is a property saved from development, when the market went soft back in 1992. With spectacular views to both the Catskills and across the Hudson, it’s a special spot for seasonal apple picking. Maynard’s six figure investment into drip irrigation ensures the economic viability. Maynard stated, “I think our investment ensures agricultural use of this land for the next century.”

“Most of our sales are in farmers markets, and to be successful, you need a variety to sell,” continued Maynard. “We expanded from apples and pears into stonefruits: cherries, apricots, peaches, pluots, plums and hybrids. Then we added vegetables that store well, plus heirloom tomatoes. Our Brussels sprouts are harvested from the field right up to March, so they are really sweet.”

The Garden Project of Cahill School will be tasting out sweet potato fries from Maynard’s stocks, and send you home with the recipe. Face-painting by the Boys & Girls Club plus origami paper folding taught by Anita Barbour round out the holiday festivities.

Lunch from Block Factory Tomales, Reggae Boy and Heather Ridge Farm can be enjoyed under the market umbrellas, along with cider, coffee and pastries.

The Saugerties Holiday market is scheduled on five select Sundays at the Senior Center, 207 Market Street. Note November 20, December 18, January 15 and February 12 on your calendars. For further information, www.saugertiesfarmersmarket.com. EBT/Food stamps gladly accepted.

 

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