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Go Organic in the Capital Region: Visit Your Local Farmers’ Market

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Capital Region Farmers’ Markets: Albany, Schenectady, Troy & Others

Who doesn’t like a win-win situation? Everyone wants to make themselves feel good, whether you admit it or not. And it’s a huge plus if the things that you like to do help others as well. One of the biggest win-win situations of the summer months is the abundance of farmers markets in the Capital Region.

Did you ever taste a tomato fresh from the garden? Or experience the snap of a just-picked green bean or the sugary sweetness of a new pod of peas? What about seeing the uncanny red of a perfectly ripe strawberry? If you have, you know store-bought produce just doesn’t compare. And that’s my number one selfish reason for going to farmers markets in the summertime. Another is the price, because you can often get produce cheaper than at the grocery store.

But farmers markets can also help out in a number of other ways. They give the farmers who sell their produce a good source of income, they help put money back into local economies, and they are beneficial to the environment because you are not supporting the carbon-depositing shipping enterprises needed to transport food grown in other areas of the country or the world.

These reasons for eating from a farmers market I already knew, and this week on the news I saw even more! Pesticide residue is quickly becoming a huge concern for people trying to eat organically and avoid certain health problems. The list of the “Dirty Dozen” most contaminated foods of 2010 includes staples such as potatoes, celery, spinach and apples. So I realized that a great way to still feel okay about eating those foods is to buy from local farmers who you can ask about their growing practices. Something about talking face-to-face feels more comforting than seeing a sign claiming the food is “organically grown,” right?

Albany Farmers Markets

Empire State Plaza Farmers' MarketIf you want a healthy dose of history with your fresh foods, you can head down to the Empire State Plaza Farmers Market, open Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays during the summer from 10am to 2pm. The ESP Market season is May through October. On Wednesdays and Fridays it is located in the Empire State Plaza, a great place for sightseeing and tours before and after you check out the wares. On Thursdays, the ESP Market is located at the Harriman State Office Campus, 1220 Washington Avenue. The best thing about this particular market is that it’s open in the winter months as well. When the cold moves in around October the ESP market also moves indoors to the Concourse, the main connecting hallway of the complex, on Wednesdays from 11am to 2pm. As with most farmers markets, all the products sold at the ESP Market, no matter the season, are grown or made by the sellers themselves. For more information about the market, visit! Or call Kurt Vincent at 518-474-4986; you can also check out their Facebook page at

Claiming the name of Capital District Farmers Market, the Capital District Cooperative’s market in Menands is one of the largest in the area. Its great size is combined with a rich history, dating from as early as 1933. It features a wholesale market, which opens Monday through Friday at 5:30am to sell produce to local businesses and groceries. Then there is the Saturday Retail Market from 9am to 1pm that gives these same farmers a chance to sell their fruits, vegetables, plants, flowers, wine, cheese, breads, etc. at retail prices to consumers. In addition to selling great food and wares, the market holds events every other Saturday to spice it up. On Saturday, July 16 they’re holding a Blueberry Festival, with all contestants contributing a blueberry dessert. Desserts will range from cookies to pies to puddings. The Capital District Farmers market is located at 381 Broadway in Menands. If you’re a vendor and want to apply to sell at the Capital District Farmers Market, or just a shopper looking for more information, visit You can also call 518-465-1023 or email

The CDPHP Farmers Market is an effort by the health insurance company to help not only its own insured individuals, but the entire community, to stay healthy by eating fresh foods. The market was implemented in 2008 and is still going on every Thursday from 11:00am to 1:30pm during May, June, July, August, September, and the first week of October in the CDPHP parking lot on Patroo Creek Boulevard in Albany. Vendors include tree fruit and baked goods from Bowman Farms, beef, poultry, and eggs from Kings roaming, homemade chocolates, gourmet nuts and snacks from The Peanut Principle, and bedding plants, hanging baskets, and veggies from VR Saulpaugh & Sons. For more information visit

Colonie Farmers Markets

The Farmers Market at the Crossings is Colonie’s spot for fresh produce and homemade products. Located on Albany-Shaker Road across from Emerick Lane, the market is open Saturdays from 9am to 1pm through September 24. This year there are more than 30 vendors, including most from years past, selling goods from flowers to maple syrup. Last year’s vendors included Burger Farm, Karen’s Produce, Happy Hounds Treats, Meadow Brook Dairy, Sticky Fingers Apples, Cascade Mountain Winery, and Worldling Pleasures Cheeses. Parking is available in a field adjacent to the market. Call Alison Lane at 518-783-2728 or visit for more information.

Schenectady Farmers Markets

Albany, Schenectady & Troy Farmers MarketsThe Schenectady Greenmarket is a great way to get delicious food and unique gifts year round. The market is open from 10am to 2pm every Sunday from May through October around City Hall in Schenectady, and then moves inside Proctors during the winter months. The great thing about this market, besides its year-round offerings, is the fact that there are always events and live music going on while you shop. This past Sunday, June 26 there was a bouncy bounce for the children sponsored by the Schenectady YMCA and The Dependents, a three-piece classic rock and modern country group made up of teenagers from Fort Plain, will perform while customers shop from vendors including Susie’s Climax Creations and Cooper’s Ark Farm. Visit for more information, lists of upcoming events and vendors, and more information on anything having to do with the Schenectady Greenmarket.

Troy Farmers Markets

Farmers Markets in Albany, Schenectady & TroyAnother great year-round market, the Troy Waterfront Farmers Market is open every Saturday from 9am to 1pm. During the summer months the market is located in the Riverfront Park in Troy, and during the winter months it takes place at the Uncle Sam Atrium in Troy’s downtown business district with free parking all year in the Uncle Sam parking garage. The market offers free parking year-round in the Uncle Sam parking garage, over 50 vendors, close access to downtown businesses and restaurants, music, and activities. Vendors for last year included Aegean Delights selling baklava, baked goods, and prepared Greek food, and Vegan Creations selling vegan baked goods. Visit or call 518-708-4216 for more information.

Other area farmers markets to check out:

The Dana Park Farmers Market at the intersection of Delaware, Madison and Lark in Albany on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays 10am to 2pm.

The Clifton Park Farmers Market in the St. George’s Church parking lot on Route 146 on Thursdays 2pm to 5pm.

The Cohoes Farmers Market in the Remsen Municipal Parking Lot on Fridays 4pm to 7pm.

The Delaware Area Neighborhood Farmers Market at St. James Church in Albany.

The Niskayuna Farmers Market at the Niskayuna Reformer church on Route 7 on Tuesdays from 3pm to 7pm

The Rensselaer Farmers Market at the Twin Town Little League Field in Troy on Thursdays from 2:30pm to 5:30pm.

The Schenectady Farmers Market outside City Hall on Thursdays from 9am to 1:30pm.

The Schenectady Union Street Farmers Market in the lot behind Trusco Bank on Upper Union Street on Saturdays from 9am to 1pm.

The Watervliet Farmers Market in the parking lot across from the Watervliet Fire Department on Tuesdays from 2:30pm to 5:30pm.

–Jessica Nicosia is an Assistant Editor at The Free George.

The Free George is the online magazine and visitors’ guide of Upstate NY, covering things from Albany to Lake Placid, including Saratoga, the Lake George region and the Adirondacks. Check out our new City Blogs section for our extended coverage areas as well.

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