We headed down to Bidwell Parkway on Saturday morning, looking to see if there was a reason to go downtown to the Elmwood-Bidwell Farmers Market instead of heading to North Tonawanda’s market on Saturday mornings.
Our visit didn’t really settle the question, as the last week of June is really just the beginning of the season. Another three or four weeks and the array of produce on display will triple. Then we’ll see whether North Tonawanda – which seems to have about 50 percent more sellers – is going to remain our first choice.
One of the things that makes Bidwell different is that the stuff has to be local or you can’t even put it out for sale. If memory serves, North Tonawanda has no such restrictions, meaning that you can buy lemons there, and all manner of boxes come from the Bailey-Clinton wholesale produce market, and not the stallholders’ farms.
Somehow, I don’t think the colorful assortment of beets at Bidwell (right) would be confused with supermarket wares.
Even though we didn’t buy more than the cherries, it was instructive to see so many possibilities. Here’s a few glimpses of what we saw.
Native Offerings‘ farmstand featured an array of radishes, some of which the farm’s community supported agriculture subscribers have already enjoyed, along with cilantro, asparagus, arugula, and other greens.
The sage, thyme and parsley looked verdant, only a shock of rosemary short of a Simon and Garfunkel tune. (If you don’t know who Simon and Garfunkel are, ask your parents. Or maybe your grandparents.)
The White Cow Dairy stand offered various types of dairy indulgence, including creme fraiche, and he heard people praise the chocolate pudding.
There was beef from Hanova Hills on offer, and all sorts of sausage, chops, roasts, bacon and other bits from Blossom Hill Farm‘s organically raised free-range animals. The Avenue Boys were also represented, concentrating on sausage as usual.
But most of the stands confined their wares to products gained from savagely abusing plants. Case in point, this spray of beheaded garlic, otherwise known as garlic scapes:
Tower, below, a fixture at the market forever, likes to wear a leather hat of indeterminate age.
His little creamer potatoes were awfully cute, but the red raspberries were downright gorgeous.
But of course, it wouldn’t be a June farmer’s market without strawberries to gaze upon adoringly. Get them while they last, folks.