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There’s something to be said about visiting a local farmers’ market while visiting a new city – or exploring your own. Local markets are an unparalleled way to feel the pulse of a city, get to know the community, and perhaps even savor a few tasty treats along the way. And, if you’re wondering where to find something to eat, odds of finding a vegetarian bite at a market are pretty good. Is there anything better than farm fresh produce, after all? With that in mind, VT will be checking in with great farmers’ markets around the world for a recurring series we’re calling VT Market Visit. This edition: Beacon Farmers Market in Beacon, NY.
Beacon Farmers Market
We caught wind of the Beacon Farmers Market in Beacon, New York after cookbook author Julia Turshen shared that she was lending a helping hand at the market earlier this summer — and we’re happy we did. The local market off the Hudson River is packed with things to see, do, and eat that span beyond fruits and veggies (although their organic and local produce is certainly something to write home about).
Nestled on the eastern shore of the Hudson River, Beacon, New York is home to just under 15,000 permanent residents — but the Beacon Farmers Market is big deal. Due to its proximity to Poughkeepsie, considered the capital city of the Hudson Valley region, and the abundance of local natural resources, the Beacon Farmers Market is packed with everything from organic vegetables and foraged mushrooms to ethically-produced cheeses and even local distilleries.
Beacon Farmers Market also sets itself apart through its food benefit incentive program, Greens4Greens, that promotes “food justice” by making the farmers market more accessible to all members of the community. The market also works with various other non-profit organizations geared at helping and supporting the local community while encouraging sustainable agricultural and business practices.
Must-Visit Farmers and Makers
You’ll probably want to check out as many vendors as possible (and we don’t blame you) but here are some of the must-visit vendors for all tastes and shopping needs.
This artisanal bakery is going to be one of your best bets for high quality bread made from scratch. Every pastry and loaf is baked using high-quality, locally-sourced ingredients, including locally-milled, non-GMO flours.
This woman-owned and family-operated distillery is a must-visit for anyone who has a soft spot for a good dram of bourbon, whiskey, or brandy (ahem, or all three!). Cooper’s Daughter spirits are entirely grown and distilled in the Hudson Valley and offer a selection of seasonal small batch spirits.
Looking to satisfy your craving for a decadent cheese board? Head to Cooperstown Cheese Company. This local cheese producer makes a highly curated selection of small batch cheeses—including its fan favorite Toma Celena and Jersey Girl—that are both ethically produced and made with love.
The family behind Wright’s has been farming in the Hudson Valley for five generations. Currently, they’re bringing peaches, plums, and cucumbers to the Beacon Farmers Market as well as operating their own full-time farm stand in nearby Gardiner.
Two of the initiatives the Beacon Farmers Market is currently focusing on
The Beacon Community Fridge Initiative works with Beacon4BlackLives and Binnacle Books in order to ensure the free community fridge is full at all times and accessible to those in need. The initiative is currently accepting donations by way of its “give box” locations throughout the market.
From June through November, the Beacon Farmers Market runs its Farmers Market Nutrition Program (FMNP), which works with the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program and the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP) to provide subsidized checks that allow seniors and women in need to purchase locally grown, fresh fruits and vegetables. All produce vendors at the market can redeem these checks.