UP CLOSE: In season
Lake Placid Farmers Market returns
LAKE PLACID — Prescott Doyle works as a field grower at the Mossbrook Roots Flower Farm in Keeseville.
He starts his day by opening up the high tunnels and keeping a close eye on the various factors that could affect how the flowers grow. He makes sure all the plants have enough water, that there’s not too much sunlight on them, and there are no pests around. He tries to cut the flowers at the right time, just before they open, so they can be put in the cooler at the right time and last longer for customers.
“Every single day you’re just running circles around the farm,” he said, surrounded by the farm’s fragrant peonies and fresh bouquets at the Lake Placid Farmers Market on Wednesday, June 16. “It keeps you busy, but it’s a fun job. And there’s a lot more to it than you think. I remember I took the gig and I thought, oh, I’ll be working with flowers all day. That’ll be nice. … It’s more challenging than you think, I think it’s one of the hardest jobs I’ve ever had. It really makes you appreciate what goes on behind the flower.”
At the Lake Placid Farmers Market, which opened for the season on June 16, Doyle has been given a new opportunity. He’s familiar with the difficult process of nursing a flower from seed to bloom, but now, he’s able to meet customers face-to-face and see the real end result of that process.
“You see people excited and it makes you excited,” he said.
With flowers, it can be pretty high-stakes — Doyle mentioned an old classmate who had visited the farm recently to talk about flowers for their wedding.
“You think about, you’re growing this flower from a little seed and it’s going to be someone’s big day and they’re holding your flower, and that’s part of their excitement,” he said. “It’s exciting, and it also adds a lot of pressure. … It’s fun, it’s cool to see the whole process all the way through.”
Doyle was one of nearly a dozen vendors selling their crops, crafts and food at the Lake Placid Farmers Market on June 16. The location of the farmers market has changed over the years, but this year it returned to the Green Goddess parking lot on Saranac Avenue every Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
One of the vendors returning this year is Janea Montroy, of Saranac Lake, who is the owner of Moon Child Boutique. She creates a variety of jewelry, some with crystals and New Age elements.
“I meet a lot of really interesting people, with the tourists and stuff that come to town,” Montroy said, when asked about her favorite part of the Lake Placid Farmers Market. “Last year I had a lot of really fun conversations with people from all over the place.”
Montroy has been doing crafts for a while, but she started her business officially about three years ago. She started off selling on Etsy — she still does that — but now she tables at the farmers market, too.
New at the Lake Placid Farmers Market this year is a table where Irma and Isaac Hernandez of Keene Valley, are serving up fresh chicken and cheese tamales. Irma cooked often when she lived in Mexico, and Isaac is a line cook at Big Slide Brewery in Lake Placid. Irma’s chicken tamales include homemade mole, a decadent Mexican sauce made with a variety of chili peppers and spices. Her mole includes guajillo, ancho chile, mulato and serano peppers.
Mole takes several hours — if not a whole day or more — to make. Isaac said Irma sometimes wakes up at 1 a.m. to start the sauce and cooks until 8 a.m. And while the Tri-Lakes region now has a place where residents can buy some European ingredients — at Euromart, in Lake Placid — many ingredients used in cuisines in other parts of the world, such as Mexican cuisine, are still hard to come by in the Adirondacks. Though they’re able to use local chicken, vegetables grown in Keene Valley and Dutch knuckle, a cheese made at Sugar House Creamery in Upper Jay, Irma and Isaac have to buy some ingredients online or ask their family in New York City to send some to them.
The result of this effort is available not just at the Lake Placid Farmers Market, but also the Saranac Lake and Keene Valley farmers markets on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.