June 26, 2013

Editorial: Fresh from fields to table


---- — Food trends across the nation are all about freshness, and that makes the North Country an opportune place to live.

You can’t get any fresher than eating food that was picked from a field just miles away, as opposed to produce that is harvested across the country — or world — and trucked or flown in.

People who live in the heart of New York City or some other metropolis must envy our ability to purchase produce just picked by neighbors.

The options for buying North Country produce are plentiful. Some chain grocery stores sell local food, especially corn and eggs, but look for signs or labels that say specifically that it comes from an area producer. Stores like Pray’s in Plattsburgh, Conroy’s in Beekmantown and many other markets offer homegrown produce and local meat.

During the summer, stands outside area farms offer food choices straight from the field, often with signs telling customers to serve themselves and leave cash. We doubt that happens in urban areas.

One of the best choices for locally produced food products is the farmers market, and those abound in this region.

Many of the markets are already open or will be soon. In fact, today is opening day for the farmers market in Port Henry and for the Wednesday session of the Plattsburgh Farmers and Crafters Market, which has already been operating on Saturdays.

To make your shopping easier, here is a list of some of the farmers markets around the region and when they are open:

Chateaugay: Route 374, lawn of the Hollywood Inn, Route 374, Saturdays through Aug. 31.

Chazy: Amazing Grace Vineyard and Winery, 9839 Route 9, first and third Sundays, July 7 through Sept. 15.

Elizabethtown: Behind Adirondack Center Museum, Fridays through Oct. 11.

Keene: Route 73, Marcy Airfield, Sundays through Oct. 13.

Keeseville: Behind the library in the park, Wednesdays through Aug. 28.

Lake Placid: Lake Placid Center for the Arts. Wednesdays through Oct. 23.

Malone: At Malone Airport, Route 11, Wednesdays through Oct. 16.

Paul Smiths: Under the pavilion at the Paul Smith’s Visitors Interpretive Center, Fridays through Sept. 20.

Plattsburgh: At the market building on the Durkee Street parking lot, Wednesdays and Saturdays, through at least Oct. 9.

Port Henry: Back of Bonnie’s Bistro, Wednesdays through Aug. 28.

Saranac Lake: Riverside Park, Saturdays through Oct. 26; and Fusion Market, Tuesdays through Oct. 1.

Schroon Lake: Town Hall parking lot, Mondays through Sept. 2.

Ticonderoga: Corner of Montcalm and Route 9N, Saturdays, June 29 through Oct. 12.

Tupper Lake: Under the tent at the Wild Center Museum, Thursdays through Sept 2.

Willsboro: Route 22, Thursdays through Sept. 5.

Another option is what has been dubbed Community-Supported Agriculture. That is where people sign on with a local farm and get a share of the produce, delivered in a package that can include items like vegetables, fruit, meat and cheese.

And area restaurants with smart owners are using local produce and making that known on their menus.

All of these options support our economy’s health as well as our own.

The North Country’s fields and gardens are producing an abundance of fresh, tasty and wholesome food. All we have to do is make the choice.