The Sushiholic

Smart Choice Restaurant & Food Lovers

Fresh Fruit

Seven ways to find – and save on

There are few things that can please a palate more than fresh-picked produce, especially in the summer. Short of growing your own, filling a bowl with a bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables is as easy as visiting your local grocer. However, piling tender greens, crisp cucumbers and aromatic onions harvested from a nearby farm atop your plate doesn’t require much effort either.

There are a number of ways to purchase and enjoy fresh fruits and vegetables that will not only fill your body with nutritious goodness and save you money, but also support local farmers. Options range from having your apples and asparagus dropped on your front porch to plucking your own produce fresh from the ground. 

Visit your local farmers market: The Capital Region is surrounded by farms flush with all sorts of fruits and vegetables. Many farmers haul their goods to select destinations each and every week, seasonally or throughout the year. The Troy Waterfront Farmers Market is a sprawling oasis of farmed goodness. It’s held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays at Riverfront Park. The Saratoga Farmers Market Association hosts three weekly events: Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Wilton Mall; Mondays from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Shenendehowa United Methodist Church in Clifton Park; and Wednesdays from 3 to 6 p.m. at High Rock Park in Saratoga Springs. Those are just a few, and farmers markets sell way more than just produce: Expect to find meat, cheese, milk and more. The State Department of Agriculture and Markets keeps a good running list on its website.

Join a CSA: Community Supported Agriculture, or crop-sharing, is an easy way to purchase seasonal fresh produce directly from your local farmer. When you sign up for a CSA, you are purchasing a share of a farmer’s crops early in the season and commit to receiving the bounty by box — typically weekly — from late spring through early fall. Your financial support helps the farmer harvest and distribute their edibles. In addition, you’ll know exactly where your food is coming from and you’ll be exposed to fruits and vegetables you might have never considered eating.

Joining a CSA is a commitment and costs can vary from farm to farm, but you can expect to pay between $300 and $600 for seasonal deliveries, depending on the size of the container.  To save on costs, consider splitting a CSA share with a friend, colleague or family member. There are a number of CSAs you can join locally, including Denison Farm in Schaghticoke, Forts Ferry Farm in Latham and Roxbury Farm in Kinderhook. Some will deliver to your home, while others will meet you at the farm or a fixed location. Visit for a list. As we are approaching midseason it may be too late to sign on for the full service, but prorated or weekly options may be available. If you sign up early for the coming season, you may receive an early-bird discount — just remember that spots do tend to fill quickly!

Have your produce delivered: You can fill your fridge and fruit bowl with a bounty of fresh produce without leaving home. Some CSAs will deliver right to your doorstep. Anthony Battaglia’s family has been selling wholesale produce throughout the area for more than a century and is operating from the Capital District Regional Market campus in Menands. Last year, the family launched Farmers Market Home Delivery, a farm-to-door delivery service featuring hundreds of products from local growers, artisans, dairies, butchers, chefs and foragers. Orders are packed and delivered within two days by Farmers Market Home Delivery’s own trucks, six days a week. Orders may also be picked up at the warehouse, 281 Broadway, Menands. Field Goods is another option. The delivery area spans from New York City up to Saratoga County. Sign up for the company’s newsletter and you’ll receive $25 off your first order.

Pick your own produce: How about getting your hands dirty harvesting your own crops? Several farms in the area allow guests to fill buckets with apples and berries, but there are also quite a few that offer the chance to gather other edible goods like kale, onions, cucumbers, carrots and more. Pitney Meadows Community Farm in Saratoga Springs offers two pick-your-own CSAs. The main season runs from July to October. You can also reap fresh fall produce from November through December. If you don’t want to commit to a CSA, Samascott Orchards in Kinderhook allows pop-in produce picking of squash, onions and more for a small fee. There is a slew of options throughout the Hudson Valley region, too. 

Look for the Capital Roots’ Veggie Mobile: Capital Roots’ Veggie Mobile is a mobile market that travels to inner-city neighborhoods throughout Albany, Rensselaer and Schenectady counties. Sponsored by CDPHP, the colorful box truck has been bringing a large variety of fresh, affordable and local produce to residents with limited access to fresh food since 2007. Deliveries are made to more than 30 destinations, five days a week. Capital Roots accepts cash, food stamps, WIC Fruit and Vegetable checks and other forms of payment. Also be on the lookout for the Veggie Mobile Sprout truck, a small version of the Veggie Mobile that delivers to elderly and low-income housing establishments throughout Albany and Southern Saratoga County. The Veggie Mobile is available to everyone. You can call ahead (518-274-8685) and order your produce to be picked up at any one of the scheduled stops.

Consider ugly produce: One in three freshly harvested fruits and vegetables never make it to the store shelf, let alone your salad. Why? Because they are ugly or imperfect and don’t meet cosmetic standards. Misfits Market offers a popular alternative: The company purchases high-quality organic produce from regional farms that sometimes look a little different and then distributes the castoff carrots, peaches and other fruits and veggies in boxes to those who subscribe to its membership program. There are no fees to join, but you’ll need to purchase at least $30 worth of products. The company pledges that you’ll save as much as 40 percent off grocery store prices. Imperfect Foods and Hungry Harvest are two other “ugly produce” farm-to-doorstep subscription box services. 

Join a co-op: Food cooperatives are customer-owned grocers that provide high-quality items to their members, for fair prices. The Honest Weight Food Co-op is probably the best-known cooperative in the Capital Region. When you join, you’ll receive discounts on all your purchases, including whole and nutritious foods like farm-fresh fruits and vegetables. The store also frequently releases money-saving coupons. The Niskayuna Co-op is another long-time, shopper-owned store that features a bevy of produce, as well as organic, gourmet and locally made specialty items. Members receive coupon incentives, discount pricing and membership specials.