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SAVOR THE SEASON: Farmers, consumers connect at local farmers markets

September 21, 2018
By GRIFFIN KELLY - Staff Writer ( , Lake Placid News

KEENE - Helen and Joe Todora had two must haves on their shopping list Sunday, Sept. 16. - tomatoes and bread.

The two are from Jay, and they said they try to visit the Keene farmers market every weekend in the summer and fall. The produce is a big draw for the Todoras.

"Whenever we can buy local, we do," Joe said. "There's a limited time frame for getting fresh local vegetables and fruit, so we try to take advantage of it."

Article Photos

Helen and Joe Todora go shopping Sunday, Sept. 16 at the Keene farmers market at Marcy Field.
(News photo — Griffin Kelly)

Keene is just one of the many farmers markets in the North Country under the collective the Adirondack Farmers' Market Cooperative. Other markets include Malone, Elizabethtown, Chateaugay Lakes, Tupper Lake and Willsboro. In addition, the AuSable Valley Grange Farmers' Markets coordinates the farmers markets in Lake Placid and Saranac Lake.

"I'd say these markets are pretty popular," Joe said. "A lot of the vendors have quite a following, especially the folks who make bread. You have to get here early before they sell out."

The Keene market runs every Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. until Oct. 7. The market is located at Marcy Field at the base of Mount Marcy and a few other High Peaks - a long stretch of flat open land with an airfield attached to it. You might even see a few small airplanes take off and land while you're shopping.

Some of the vendors include Fledging Crow Vegetables in Keeseville, the Sugar House Creamery in Upper Jay and Gristmill Distillery in Keene. You can buy produce, milk, cheese, meat and alcohol in one spot, all from mom-and-pop businesses.

Though farmers markets tend to bring up images of produce and livestock, the markets are also places for artisans and crafters to present their work.

Gabrielle Altizer sold her father Darrell's unique woodworking pieces such as giant nutcrackers, hobby horses and wooden neckties, both regular and bow.

"You can wear them for work and weddings," she said. "My brother started wearing them during game days in high school."

The walnut, cherry and maple woods used for the products are locally sourced in the Adirondacks, too.

The highlight of any farmers market is local food. Juniper Hill Farm located in Wadhams had a large poster hung up at their stand that said, "Don't let California feed New York." California has about 25.5 million acres of farm and lands. Two-thirds of the country's fruits and nuts come from the Golden State, and roughly all U.S. almonds and raisins come from there, too.

"We try to encourage people to buy more from the producer and buy food that's closer to them instead of getting their food that's shipped across the environment," said Lizzie Wilford, a Juniper Hill Farm employee. "It's better for the environment, and it supports local business and food producers."

Juniper Hill offered a variety of products that day - squash, specialty mushrooms, hot peppers, celeriac.

"We've got tomatoes here," Wilford said. "Somehow we're still able to grow them here in the Adirondacks at this time of year.

"This area has an awesome collection of small local farms, started by young people, which is really cool. With that comes the focus of having people buy local food, which is healthy for them and the world around them."



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