Lost in the Farmers' Market

Posted by Margaret Myers

Each Saturday morning at 103 High Rock Ave, vendors at the Saratoga Farmers' Market sell a variety of fruits, vegetables, plants and crafts. The Market is in its 33rd year and this summer was voted one of the top five farmers' markets in the country for 2010. The market includes over 50 vendors and is a short drive, walk or bus ride from campus.

Within minutes of arriving, it becomes clear why the Saratoga Farmers' Market has earned acclaim. This Saturday, my friends and I wandered among the tables: we stopped to pick up cups of freshly brewed iced tea; to listen to live acoustic guitar; and to admire the colorful heirloom tomatoes, tall cacti and freshly baked bread.

The Saratoga market is distinctive in that everything is entirely local – produced in Schenectady, Rensselaer, Saratoga and Washington counties, the only exception being freshly caught fish from Long Island.

Each vendor we encountered was friendly and offered unsolicited but helpful advice about proper care and handling of purchases.

The products themselves are a reason to check out the market, but the experience delivers more than the makings of a locally grown meal. "It makes me feel like a connected person," said Carmel Gordon '13, of the market. "It's nice to be a part of the community in town."

Attending the market is not the only way to feel like part of the community: Roz Freeman '12 works at the vegetable stand for Pleasant Valley Farm.

"I see a wide variety of people at the markets... There are many families that come to the market, often with young children. There is a wide age demographic, from Skidmore students to young couples to elderly people," Freeman said.

The Skidmore demographic that visits the market also ranges within itself.

"I think the market definitely benefits Skidmore students, particularly those that have houses or apartments with kitchens," Freeman said. "I have also seen many underclassmen who come to check out the bustling, beautiful scene and hang out downtown."

The Farmers' Market is positive both environmentally and economically. Many of the products are organic and profit from each purchase goes directly to the farms and farmers, which boosts the local economy.

Given Skidmore's sometimes-shaky relationship with the Saratoga Springs community, a chance to meet on common, environmentally friendly ground seems an entirely good thing.

The Saratoga Farmers' Market summer (May-October) hours are Saturdays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Wednesdays from 3-to-6 p.m. at 103 High Rock Avenue. The Winter Market runs from November to April on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Division Street Elementary.

For more information about the Saratoga Farmers' Market visit

http://www.saratogafarmersmarket.org

College revises Alcohol and Sexual Misconduct policies

Scripture, song, and silence