Here it was mid-July and hopes of seeing my garden produce looked rather bleak. Though our wet spring and early summer did wonders for my lawn, my vegetable garden was pathetic. My green thumb skills did not measure up to the challenges of recent weather. Out of two packages of green bean seeds, I could boast 5 plants that have yet to blossom. Most of the planted squash seed never appeared and I figured November might show me a ripened tomato.
Craving the flavors of fresh garden produce, I planned to make an early trip to the Elizabethtown Farmers' Market. This is located on the grounds of the Adirondack History Center Museum and held on Fridays. The Lake Champlain Region is filled with these markets. One can be found practically every day of the week, but you need to know which community is hosting and on which day so check here: Farmers’ Markets. They are all unique with many different growers and artisans appearing at each. Therefore, every one is a special experience and somewhat like a treasure hunt. The market at Elizabethtown is one of the Adirondack Farmers Market Cooperatives held throughout the region.
I was on a veggie mission, in search of the perfect tomato to be exact. I arrived early knowing the market opened at 9:00, but not wanting someone to beat me to that tomato. The market area was already bustling with merchandisers and growers setting up their wares. At the museum location is a large pavilion that houses many individual booths. Nevertheless, colorful canopies shading additional farm stands were spilling out alongside, making the entire area bright and festive.
Entering the market, I viewed a collection of individual farm stands heaped with fresh veggies and fruits artfully displayed. Interspersing the vegetable and fruit stands were bakery, art and craft vendors of every variety. Though I had planned a quick in and out mission; I immediately realized that would be impossible. Clusters of flowering perennials and annuals snapped my attention. I spotted a flower my grandmother used to grow and was able to learn from its grower that it was a malva. Unique jewelry, patterned quilts, art work and pottery reeled in my decorative antenna. I absolutely HAD to stop, admire, and chat with the individual vendors.
Shopping farmer's markets is a much more personal and social experience. Potters, blacksmiths, glass workers, vegetable growers, authors, and vintners all seemed delighted to chat and share their knowledge. It was a privilege to not only meet them, but also to have them share their knowledge, experiences and inspiration of their craft. Meandering from booth to booth I tasted, sampled, touched and smelled while a delightful back drop of guitar and vocal folk music drifted throughout. I came away smiling; loaded with recipes, ideas and inspiration along with an abundance of fresh veggies and of course the PERFECT tomato.