Photos by David Gordon
As the farmers headed into town to set up their booths, Mother Nature seemed to be threatening a repeat of last year’s market opening, when wind and rain battered Saugerties and the few brave souls who stayed worked without tents or signs.
But last Saturday, May 24 was a different story. The rain slowed and eventually stopped, making for a cloudy but dry opening for the market’s 14th season. Market co-manager Ayla Rector said about 25 vendors turned up for the opening. They offered a variety of products; the usual fruits and vegetables in season, but also plants — in particular tomatoes for transplanting — baked goods, prepared foods, crafts and specialty food items.
Ze’ev Willie Neumann’s “Floor to Ceiling,” a sculpture combining long, brightly colored strips of wood, stood near the entrance to the market. His work became a jail cell, a maze and a vision for the various people who interpreted it. Neumann carried one of the wooden rods around the market like a knight’s lance.
One major attraction was a spinning demonstration by Mariepaule Rossier, who spun the fur of her French Angora rabbit, taking the material right off the rabbit’s body as it sat on her lap. The rabbit molts every four months, and the loose fur can be spun, Rossier explained. Her husband, Arturo Cebello, sold fur creations from the adjacent booth.
The market has two new managers, Ayla Rector and Ken Dumont. Dumont is also writing a blog on the market website.
The market’s visiting chef, Jim Tamayo, prepared a yummy grilled prosciutto and asparagus dish for an admiring and hungry audience.
Art Lab had its usual children’s tent with educational art materials and projects for the young people. Students from the Paul Green Rock Academy performed intermittently throughout the day.
Peanut brittle is a familiar treat, but take it to the next level with all kinds of brittle confections, such as wasabi pea brittle, sea salted caramel brittle with cocoa nibs, praline pecan and chipotle brittle. They aren’t easy to make, said proprietor Ken Cohen of Bearsville, but they taste great and they go especially well with goat cheese.
“We started selling our brittle in Woodstock, and it went really fast,” he said. “On our first day, in one store we sold 80 pieces.”
Since then Cohen and Gayle Burbank have distributed their product to stores around the area and to specialty stores in New York City, Cohen said.
The market is not just about farmers’ products; it includes a variety of processed foods. In addition to the farm-fresh vegetables, vendors sell cheeses, candies and other processed foods, wine, plants (especially tomato plants), bread and even soap and lotions.
The Saugerties Farmers Market is open on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. through October in the parking lot across from Cahill Elementary School on Main St.