Along with hikes, and ponds, and alpaca farms and chickens, and chasing thunderclouds, a big part of summer probably most anywhere, and especially in the Columbia County, NY and surroundings – is experiencing the farmer’s markets, in their abundant glory. An excellent gluten-free (and otherwise) cook and master griller, my brother wanted to make sure we made it first to Hudson Farmers Market ( in Hudson!) for vegetables, maple almond butter from Tierra Farm, pickles, and….mochi sticky buns from Happy Belly Bakery of Hudson, 100% gluten-free. Already sold out of the sticky-buns by 10am, we persevered and bought a few loaves of their nut/grain bread, and a chocolatey chocolate brownie treat for my niece.
The next day, we hit the Valatie Farmers Market. Here, we spent quite a bit of time, tasting, buying and talking again with Happy Belly owner and baker Monica Jerminario, and her husband, who helps man their stand, in between also working at Tierra Farms. If memory serves ( which honestly it does not always) Monica suffered for many years and through college with various debilitating ailments, until finally (after many medical professionals insisting it was in her head or some such) the root of all was found to be the effects of malabsorption from gluten. ie. she had Celiac Disease. Monica stopped eating gluten, and never turned back. She worked in restaurant kitchens, with gluten, and eventually as a matter of course started baking and cooking inventive and experimental gluten-free creations. Monica likes to infuse flavors from various cultures, and unlikely combinations, among her sweets and savories. Likewise, they have those hard to find items like “wrap” bread for sandwiches, baquettes, and farm fresh fruit baked goods. Many items are vegan as well, and organic ingredients are used whenever possible. Ingredients are always listed with items. I am a savory food lover, so I just had to try the Zaatar Flat Bread. Mmmm, mmmmm. Holy smokes. Drizzled with an almost tangy olive oil, cheese, a gooey kind of succulent dough, I was a happy market goer. Once my niece had a taste, it was no longer mine and I had to purchase a second. The heat of the day, actually enhanced the yumminess in my opinion. After gobbling up the Zaatar bread it became obvious that I would have to buy the garlic knots ( I mean really, c’mon).
Happy Belly can be found most weekend’s at the Hudson and Valatie Farmers Markets. I urge you to take a road trip, follow them on Facebook, and keep them on your radar. Say hi from Deb!
For a full list of Columbia County Farmer’s Markets and Vendors, click here What kind of gluten-free surprises have you found or made on your summer travels? Stay cool, not hungry my friends. Yours, Deb