It's National Farmer’s Market Week! I don’t know what’s peaking anywhere else in the nation, but here in Western NY, we've enjoyed sweet corn, sugary beets and their green tops, melons, string beans and tomatoes – cherry, heirloom and the standard bearer, beefsteak. We frolic on the cusp of blueberry and peach season. Finally, we indulge in what truly makes summer caliente—a myriad of peppers. Last week, my dad roasted a batch of Hungarian wax yellows and stuffed them with cheese and breadcrumbs. Their creamy, hot goodness rivaled even Buffalo's beloved Billy Ogden’s original stuffed peppers which, according to my penchant for piquant, should put Buffalo on the culinary map right alongside chicken wings.
Our agricultural abundance reminds us that we live in bountiful times. We enjoy a largess of farmer’s markets. From Niagara to Erie to Cattaraugus to Chautauqua counties, you could ride from one to the next all day every day from now until October.
Before I speak of another, I must tip my hat to that model of community-building, noted for urban mixed-use space, featuring products direct from the food source without middlemen, distributors or hucksters, Buffalo’s premier Elmwood-Bidwell Farmer's Market. But, I don’t think Elmwood-Bidwell Market treasurer Karl Frizlen would mind if you or I played the field.
For the past four Tuesdays I have attended the Seneca Nation Farmer’s Market on the Cattaraugus Indian Reservation thereby stumbling upon a market that is now on my all-time favorite list. This market is far afield for city denizens. But do yourself a favor on a Tuesday: drive out of the heat and humidity of August in the city and head down where Route 5 meets Route 20. Treat yourself to a picnic lunch of fry bread with salt pork and white beans, soba noodles, or kabobs, or skip all that and purchase fresh peach shortcake to go at the Seneca Nation Farmer’s market . Make sure to pluck a pint of cherries or cherry pick through your favorite technicolor berries – red or purple raspberries, blue or dusky blueberries and, of course, those classic little blackberries. Don’t forget to bring a cooler for take homes: herbs, spices, farm fresh eggs, naturally raised lamb, beef and chicken. And pick up the Seneca Nation recipe book on how to cook our most cherished native offerings – corn, beans and squash. Stop to peruse the crafts – handmade jewelry, Amish-made furniture, hand-knitted toddler pants with monsters on the butt. Look for weekly featured events: a petting zoo, a dance recital, nutritional outreach, or next week's pig roast. On your way out grab a cheap pair of sunglasses, a baseball hat, blanket or a maxi dress to go over your bathing suit.
And then hang out for the remainder of the day down the road on Sunset Beach.
That’s what I’ve been doing …
And join in the national conversation about Farmer's Market Week by using #MarketFav.