November 2, 2006

To Market, To Market

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I love farmers’ markets. There seems to be something about meeting the farmers, something about the food, and something about being outside. Something seems so right about farmer’s markets. How lucky we are that in our own home of Ithaca, a farmers’ market thrives.
The Ithaca Farmers’ Market, full of vendors from all over the Ithaca-area, is located so close to campus. The hours and locations of the market vary from day-to-day and from season-to-season. For the months of November and December, the market is set up on Saturday only at the Steamboat Landing. The Landing, for those unfamiliar with the location, is a handsome open-air pavilion on the edge of Cayuga Lake. Vendors set themselves up in one of many dozen booths. Those who visit the market can stroll through the pavilion while enjoying a beautiful view of the nearby water.
Those savvy enough to frequent the market will find many excellent potential purchases: fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses, baked goods, dairy products etc. Vendors come from as far away as thirty miles to share their local specialties. Are you intrigued?
The most troublesome questions faced with a trip to the farmers’ market is what to buy, what not to buy, what to eat now, and what to eat later. So much good food and an inadequately sized stomach. These truly tough questions can, however, be tackled with careful prioritizing. In an attempt to make the market more manageable, and as bait to lure you to the fun, I will describe a few of my favorite booths.
Booth #28: Imagine a sudden craving for a first-rate pastry. Neither a cookie nor a brownie will suffice; you need something more unusual. Perhaps, this hunger can be satisfied with a cinnamon roll from the Cinnamon Shoppe and Deli. Among the treats you can choose from at this booth are cinnamon rolls, pies and sweet breads. I would personally suggest a cinnamon roll. Packed with lots of cinnamon sweetness, the rolls are truly special. What a wonderful excuse for a sweet breakfast.
Booth # 15: On a cold Ithaca day, what could be better than hot soup? At Your Daily Soup, multiple varieties of both hot and cold vegetarian soups are delicious and ready to eat on the spot. On a break from walking, find a quiet bench overlooking the beautiful Cayuga Lake. How picturesque: eating good-for-you soup while looking over the beauty that is Ithaca.
Booth #60: In search of something organic and healthy? Looking for a brightly colored source of antioxidant compounds and vitamin A? You are looking for a carrot! Lucky for you, Unexpected Farm of Watkins Glen, New York specializes in naturally grown vegetables, including carrots. All natural and so good for you, the colorful carrots are too tempting to resist.
Booth #14: Looking for something healthy and crunchy and local to the Ithaca area? An apple could meet your demands. Visit the Black Diamond Farm where you can choose from over sixty varieties of modern and heirloom apples. For those who prefer other sorts of fruit, plums, grapes, pears, cherries and blueberries are also sold at the booth, depending on the season.
Booth #79: You want something nourishing. You want something you can put on bread to make a sandwich, in an omelet to make a meal, or on top of an apple for a filling snack. You want cheese! The good news is that at booth #79, Northland Sweet Dairy, you have the opportunity to choose from many varieties of farmstead sheep’s milk cheeses. Yum!
Booth #10: If you are lucky enough to come to the farmers’ market with an appetite large enough for a whole meal, I suggest stopping at Sri Lankan Curry in a Hurry. The booth is filled with specialties from Sri Lanka made with neither eggs nor wheat. Treat yourself to one hundred percent vegetarian foods: vegetable curries, rice, Sri Lankan specialty snacks, cool drinks and more.
Hurry! Take advantage of every the Ithaca Farmers’ Market through December. Such a great number of excellent foods and not enough time. For a detailed scheduled, visit
(Please note: The fun at the farmers’ market doesn’t stop with food. Many local artisans have booths at the market where beautiful items can be found. Local ceramics, quilts, pillows, pot holders and much more can be found. The farmers’ market is a terrific place to find gifts for those not lucky enough to make the trip themselves.)