Just a few months after turning 16, I passed my drivers road test. I remember is like it was yesterday. I borrowed my mother’s Oldsmobile Ninety Eight, picked up my friends Jolie and Kathleen and drove down Indian Hill to buy corn.
My first solo spin was to Nichols Farm on Ridge Road where I also remember buying fudge. Do you remember when you could buy fudge at road side stands and it would be the creamiest fudge ever? I drove by Nichols Farm today and the road stand is long gone. There is a sign saying they are proud Welch’s grape growers. That’s cool!Saturday morning, I left my house in sweats around 7:30 a.m., intending to drive through Dunkin’ in Ransomville to get some coffee because I was too lazy to make some myself. With coffee in hand and my sweet hybrid, I drove around northern Niagara County and discovered tons of road side stands.
Sanger Farm Market is just down the street from my neighborhood yet I did not know about it until my mother-in-law introduced me to this local gem years ago. She is a big fan of their pies and other baked goods.
Perhaps the best known farm market in the area is Tom Tower’s. Tom looks and sounds like a farmer — a Cornell educated farm expert who can also teach you a thing or two about wine. I’m sure Eden corn is good but Niagara County corn is like butta! My mother-in-law has been known to drive up from Buffalo to purchase fresh peaches and other delights. There is a display near the old fashion cash register (the market workers have to know how to make change, a nearly lost art) that tells what is in season, what is past and what is not ready.
If you go to these markets bring cash and a few bags. Also, it’s tempting to buy a lot but resist if you can. These fresh foods do not have the same preservatives we are used to and spoil quickly. If you can, shop like the Europeans, buying only what you can eat in a few days.
Drive around and explore the bounty of Niagara. Happy Summer!
Here is my plea: if you are a farm market, road side stand or other type of fresh vendor below the falls, feel free to contact me weekly by Monday with what is fresh that week. I will compile a list of markets and post a list every Wednesday until the snow closes you for the season. Please include your name, location, hours and top three fresh weekly offerings. Thanks!