Finkel, market taking things in stride

AFP Correspondent

CLINTON (June 1, 2017) — The parking lot of the fire house was still occupied with fire trucks from Clinton’s 125th fire department anniversary parade so Harvey Finkel moved the farmers’ market to the town’s community center lot.
Finkel founded the market seven years ago.
“This is the first time we had to move,” he said, noting the community center has its own weekend activities sometimes so it can’t always make the parking lot available, but fortunately could this weekend.
The owner of the Clinton Book Shop for 14 years, Finkel often heard customers comment it would be nice to have a farmers’ market in town.
“I take things in,” Finkel said. He got together a group of people to try to plan a market, but it didn’t get off the ground, so he got a number of town residents involved, formed a committee, drew up a proposal and went to the town council.
“The town council loved it,” Finkel said, standing in the sunny community center parking lot. The first year the market didn’t start until July.
Since then, it has run every Sunday May through October from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The last week of the market features a harvest festival.
Among the vendors Sunday, May 21, was Ashley Bishop of Amara Herb Farm.
Bishop describes herself as a full-time mom and a part-time farmer. She only sells spring herbs and only at the Clinton market.
She started growing for herself, then decided to grow for market, so she built a greenhouse.
Bishop’s big sellers are basil varieties and cilantro.
On Sunday she had several pots of Thai basil which she described as “a little spicy.”
Larry Frace of Frace Farmstand, three miles outside of Pittstown on the Pittstown-Bloomsbury Road also comes only to the Clinton market.
The farm has been represented here for five years. His son ran it summers when he was in college, then Larry took it over.
Frace has a self-serve farmstand on County Route 579. “It works out all right,” he said of the trust-based payments. “There may be a week we’re missing $20 or $30, but then several weeks go by where everything is fine.”
In season he sells lots of tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers and squash as well as dozens of eggs from his Rhode Island Reds.
When a cheese and yogurt vendor didn’t come back to Clinton this year, Finkel asked if anyone could provide cheese.
Frace does market runs for an Asbury dairy farmer, taking the milk to Pennsylvania to be processed by Mennonites and bringing back the cheeses on Thursdays.
He asked the farmer if he could bring cheese to the market and did sell some this first time.
Jon Smith of Two Barn Farm, also in Pittstown, also does the Stengel farm market in Flemington and has a CSA.
He said he has about 130 members for the coming season. His mother, Jane, grows flowers for sale.
Smith said he did a large planting of David Austin roses for selling this summer.
Another vendor is Joe Stockridge of Q’s Cookies. He does his baking in New Hope.
John Peck of Mt. Salem Farm in Pittstown sells lamb.
His big sellers tend to be loin chops, kabobs and ground lamb, thought he says the bones he sells for dogs are more popular than anything else.
Peck has been raising lambs for 16 years.