I first visited the "Second Saturday" Farmers Market back in February, when I chanced to meet Debby Zahn, a member of Things From Here, the Poolville-area community activists who organized the market, while dining at Circa. Debby's good nature and enthusiasm for local farm products were immediately apparent, and I made plans to drive out to Poolville that weekend.
Actually getting to Poolville, I soon learned, is easier said than done. After printing out directions from New Woodstock, which I regrettably left at home, and referring repeatedly to Google Maps on my iPhone, I still got thoroughly lost between Georgetown and West Eaton and had to stop several times to ask for directions.
Despite my cursing and exasperation, I eventually found my way to the Poolville Community Center. By the time I arrived, the farmers market was already in full swing, with a healthy crowd of 30 to 40 shoppers chatting with the vendors, sampling and purchasing the available products, and enjoying cake and Chenango Coffee Roasters coffee at the Dump Run Cafe.
Among the stand outs of that first, February trip were the meat providers -- Drover Hill, Maple Avenue, Maple Hill and Quarry Brook farms -- who are already well known for their high quality meats and sustainable farming practices. As anyone who has watched the documentary film "Food, Inc." or read Michael Pollan's "The Omnivore's Dilemma" can attest, raising livestock is among the most commercialized areas of the U.S. industrial food chain, and we are lucky to have so many small farmers who are committed to providing us with natural, pasture-raised meat.
Jewett's Cheese House, an Earlville institution, also stood out with spectacularly good 10- and 12-year old aged New York State cheddar cheeses. Terri Jewett Larkin, the proprietor of Jewett's, told me that the cheddars were made specifically for them by local farmers, and that they have even older cheeses at their shop. I found the 10-year old cheddar to be especially good, with a rich, full flavor, a nice balance of sharpness and creaminess, and a firm yet crumbly texture.