The Colonie Farmers Market Jim Franco/Spotlight News
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COLONIE — The weather people get all in a tizzy when things get unsettled — when it’s 90 degrees for days at a time or if it rains for more than two consecutive days, for example — but local farmers tend to take it all in stride.
“It’s dry and then it rain so it’s not a perfect world, but there is nothing we can do about it so we do what we can and make adjustments,” said Paul Engelke, of Engelke Farms while at his stand at the Colonie Farmers Market held Saturdays at The Crossings. “It was 90 degrees for three weeks and we just watered non-stop, as fast as you put the water on it was evaporating. And now it’s real wet, and with a lot of moisture you get disease and fungus and we have to take care of that. Too wet is no good and too dry is no good but we work with it. We don’t have a choice.”
The Colonie Farmers Market is now in its 11th year and features 38 vendors selling some locally grown produce and handmade goods every Saturday from the middle of May through Sept. 29 this year. It’s a throwback to a century or more ago when what is now Colonie was dominated by farmland and its farmers and crops fed a majority of what is now known as the Capital District.
“This is our first year here and so far it’s been great,” said John Barker, of Forts Ferry Road Farm, of the Colonie Farmers Market.
He said his crop this year has been solid despite the weather — the heat is good for tomatoes and peppers — but along with crops growing strong, weeds do too.
“We have been battling that this year,” he said. “We don’t use any pesticides or herbicides so we go in by hand and do it the old fashioned way.”
He and his wife Emma Hearst opted to abandon their careers as New York City chefs and are making a go of operating a farm, specializing in Heirloom vegetables, on 20 acres of land tucked away off Forts Ferry Road.
Saturday, July 28, wasn’t the nicest day this summer, with rain showers either falling or threatening to, so there wasn’t a band at The Crossings and the crowd may have been a little thinner than most weekends.
“It’s fun to come and walk around and I do like food, and I especially like fresh food and vegetables,” said Terri Mohyla, of Colonie. “It’s just a perfect way to spend a Saturday morning.”
Emma VanPatten was making her first trip to the famers market on Saturday.
“This is my first time here I am enjoying it,” she said. “There is really stuff here like flowers and fresh vegetables. It’s better than a supermarket because it has more of a variety of things and you can walk around outside and just the atmosphere is better than a supermarket.”