By Rachel Refkin
After my sophomore research seminar on Monday, I was aimlessly strolling through Reamer, dreading my repetitive lunch of a grilled chicken fajita. Should I add salsa or sour cream to spice up my day? But to my surprise, there was a very neatly set up table with several bags of granola in front of O3.
Being a huge fan of divine granola, I approached the man behind the table with many anxious questions concerning why I was blessed with this delicious food on my campus. He even had three samples of different flavors of granola to try, including peanut butter and honey.
The vendor, from Gatherer’s Gourmet Granola, proceeded to notify me that various vendors from the Schenectady Green Market were invited to Union’s campus in order to celebrate Earth Day.
He then told me that his store was at the Schenectady Green Market every weekend, and I could come by and pick up some of his granola there. With this wonderful news, and my peanut butter granola sample, I was on my merry way.
To my delight, as soon as I stepped outside the Campus Center, there were four more tables of local vendors. I may have actually squealed with joy as I hopped over to one vendor with delicious sweets.
Emma Freter ‘13 commented, “I think having [the vendors] outside Reamer was effective. Many students, faculty and staff pass through those doors … And college students love free food.”
The next vendor, The Saratoga Peanut Butter Company, sold every peanut butter flavor imaginable; I was in heaven. Students next to me were eager to try such flavors as ‘Organic Almond Butter’ and ‘New York Maple’.
After my peanut butter fill for the afternoon, I went over to the next vendor, Pucker’s Pickles. I hesitated trying them. Because I am from New York I have very high standards for pickles. I told the vendor this, and she responded by telling me which flavors resembled the New York classic pickle; I was thoroughly impressed. They even had pickled kimchi.
The saleswoman said that they like to westernize traditionally foreign pickled foods. Of course I prefer authenticity with foreign cuisine, but I have never been able to appreciate kimchi because of its immense spiciness, and the replication was pretty accurate in taste.
While sipping on delicious tea from Wellington’s Herbs and Spices, I recounted to myself how many times I have said that I was going to go to the Schenectady Green Market. It has definitely been at least six times. But this event on campus really made me appreciate how appetizing local businesses can be.
But even more so, it made me value how eclectic Schenectady is and how much it really has to offer. I am really thankful that U-Sustain brought these local vendors to campus so students can really see what is beyond our campus bubble.
Starting May 5, the marketplace will be open on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., located on Jay Street, right near the city’s townhall. Stop by and visit the collection of vendors, shoppers and musicians who all gather at the Schenectady Greenmarket’s marketplace.
Not only is the marketplace unique and festive, but buying products from it helps out our local community, especially farmers.
Some of the local, spring vendors include 3 Chicks and a P, which specializes in homemade hummus, dips and salsas and Lloyd Spear Beekeeper, a vendor that sells beeswax candles, lip balm, skin creams and honey barbecue sauce made with honey from beehives of the Capital Region. Not to mention Buddhapesto, a family owned and operated business that produces the best organic basil-parsley pesto from scratch.
Especially now that the weather is warm, I encourage students, including myself, to walk down to the Green Market on Sundays for some great food and conversation with shopkeepers.