Thursday, August 20, 2009

Summer Harvest at Hastings-on-Hudson

The Hudson Valley is hot right now -- literally and figuratively. The New York Times travel section just happened to do a piece on farmers markets in the region last Saturday, the same day I was scouring the lower Hudson in my quest to find a slice of village life within a 30 minute commute of Manhattan. While you could call the article a wee bit pretentious (full of quotes from city folk who have weekend homes in Dutchess and Columbia counties), my visits to the "river towns" of Hastings-on-Hudson and Dobbs Ferry, NY showed them to be anything but.
Both villages are in southern Westchester county and are station stops along Metro-North's Hudson line. And both have very active farmers markets. Although I missed the Friday market in Dobbs Ferry, I did get to check out the Saturday market in Hastings-on-Hudson.
First: the view. Perched high above the river in the library parking lot, the market looked like something out of a movie set. And there were more vendors than I expected, crammed into the lot and set up along the path down to Maple Ave.
Second: the variety. Want to buy some lasagna to take home? How about pickles? Or olive oil from Greece? Flowers for the table? Or just some stone fruit? No problem. They had it.
Third: the services. The market offers more than just food (prepared or raw). While one stand offered knife sharpening, another woman was giving impromptu yoga lessons just beyond the market boundary and some enterprising kids were
setting up a lemonade stand (at 50 cents a cup, high competition for the folks from The Station Cafe who were churning out iced coffee at 6 times the price). The overall atmosphere was one of a food fair versus collection of farm stands.
Finally: the unique. While I've seen ice cream at farmers markets, I've never seen gourmet popsicles for sale. Like the iced coffee, the Go-Go Pops were not cheap -but $3 is a small price to pay for some cool relief in 85 degree weather.
Beyond the market, Hastings-on-Hudson has some cute foodie shops too -- from the independent organic food store to a pharmacy complete with soda counter (serving my favorite Frogurt brand of frozen yogurt) to a really-well regarded butcher. Not a bad way to eat a Saturday away.

No comments: