As the holidays approach and everyone is exchanging gift ideas and places to go and things to do with relatives visiting from out of town, this made me wonder what others suggest when these questions are asked of them. What do you feel are hidden (or wide open but often overlooked) gems of Syracuse and CNY? Is there a restaurant, park, event, venue that you feel is an integral part of this City/Region?
I have already written about the CNY Regional Market and really didn’t want to repeat topics, but this is a bit different. The CNY Regional Market is such a wonderful resource for this region. It is an opportunity to take in so many different things and support the local economy. Avocadough/For the Health of it! Foods has now wrapped up the “Growing Season” at the CNY Regional Market and we plan to return next year for the “Growing Season” with hopes to have a permanent spot. Unfortunately, due to prior commitments for other events and with some of our wholesale customers we will be there on a limited basis, if at all, until that time.
On one of my last days there as a vendor, a student from Syracuse University told me she felt the Regional Market was a hidden gem. She is a sophomore there and had never been to the Regional Market. She felt if a means of transportation was provided, many more SU students would attend the Market. She referenced the emphasis that is placed on healthy eating, including fruits and vegetables. How she felt this resource is so close, but at the same time so far for them! I also had another customer tell me that she had not been there in years. Her son started taking Saturday morning sports lessons in the area. This prompted her to utilize the time when he was at his lesson to walk around the Market. She said she had forgotten how wonderful the market was and the great finds and prices that were there.
The Regional Market is a thread in the fabric of the lives of many local residents. Regular customers tend to come to the market at the same time of the day and more often than not, have a routine to get through all of the sheds and list of vendors that they go to see. Some are there before the market opens at 7am. It is their time to catch up with friends or family. One customer named Mary, walks around at approximately 6:45 and has coffee with her friend. This is their weekly routine. Another man walks around with his friend for coffee as well, just a little later in the morning. He would stop and get a 3 pack of our small cookies for his grandchildren. He has three grandchildren and he felt it was the perfect size “to spoil them a little and give them a treat and not have their mother upset with me; since the cookies contain fruit!”
This was my view for the majority of this season at the CNY Regional Market and I do miss the buzz of the crowd as the market filled up and it became busy. I also miss the wonderful Red Buttercup Squash sold at the stand to my right (pictured)- if you have not tried them, seek them out next fall. They are delightful and so sweet! Roasted and mashed with nothing added they are tasty. I used one in a Raw, Vegan, Gluten Free Pumpkin Cheesecake this Thanksgiving in place of some of the pumpkin!
Some vendors that I have met along the way that are there through the winter and have some items that would make a great locally produced gift are: Witty Wicks, Better Brittle, Wake Robin Farm and B. Clean Soapery. Please leave a comment and tell me what you feel some hidden gems in Syracuse or Central New York are. What is a must see location to photograph, catch a meal or reward the senses in some way?
Enjoy your weekend!