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ALTAMONT: Market extends beyond farm

Last summer, Altamont held a farmers market in the village for the first time. It was such a success that village officials have expanded the market this year to include six new vendors selling everything from award-winning cheeses to artisan breads.

On Saturday, June 23, a kick-off event will be held in Orsini Park from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Town of Guilderland Parks and Recreation spokeswoman Linda Cure said hosting farmers markets is a great way to encourage people to eat healthy foods and support local farmers at the same time.

Supporting local farms, purchasing fresh nutritious foods from local producers and supporting the community and local businesses is a great way to spend a Saturday morning, said Cure.

Jim Barber and Jim Abruzzese sold produce last year at the market, which is held in the parking lot of the old train station on Main Street. Abruzzese and Barber will again bring in their fresh produce, including corn, summer squash and strawberries. New to the market this year will be local artisan beads, local fresh cheese, smoked sausages and maple products, among others.

Bread bakers Gary and Pam Kleppel of Altamont said they are excited about joining the market this summer.

"I started baking breads and found that is was much more than just baking. It helps me reattach myself to the earth. It is all a part of a lifestyle that my wife and I have found to be relaxing and peaceful, all while helping us to establish a feeling of independence," said Gary Kleppel.

Kleppel said there is something very satisfying about being able to provide your own food. Kleppel, who also raises sheep, said he is part of a cooperative group that helps local farmers by giving them money to help with farming costs and receiving fresh produce in exchange. He said the farmers market also provides an invaluable service to farmers by allowing them to sell produce in a convenient way.

"It is very positive for local farmers, and there are some outstanding and remarkable farmers in our area," said Kleppel.

Kleppel said in addition to cheese, produce, and other food products, floral arrangements will be available.

The farmers market will run from June 23 through the end of the summer.""

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