The Halfmoon Winter Market has been canceled until April 15 as a precautionary measure due to the COVID-19 coronavirus. This story was assembled prior to the announcement.
HALFMOON, N.Y. — It’s March and stopping by a farmer’s market for a few things seems a long way off but the Halfmoon Winter Market is going strong and the variety of goods and services available makes it a very convenient stop.
The market’s vendors assemble from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. each Wednesday in the lobby of Halfmoon Town Hall, 2 Town Plaza, Halfmoon. Town Plaza is at the intersection of Harris Road and Route 236 and as it’s a municipal building there is plenty of parking.
The number of vendors fluctuates between 11 and 15 depending on which Wednesday one stops by. The agricultural products offered include typical farm fare like eggs, potatoes, carrots, honey, lettuce, spinach, jam, chicken, beef, and maple syrup. Other products and services offered include extras like homemade candles, baked goods, essential oils, jewelry, knitted and crocheted items, artwork and wine from a vineyard in Schaghticoke.
There’s even a cutler who sharpens knives, scissors and garden tools. If one is handy and takes the blade off the family lawnmower he’ll even sharpen that.
Jerri Betsinger and her son Joshua of Abba’s Acres hold down one of the prime spots each week near the lobby’s front door with their table of eggs, jams, honey, and fudge. Their meat and chicken products are stored in cooler behind them.
Autumn Carpenter of Carpenter Farm is generally on the other side of the doorway with tables loaded with lettuce, spinach, potatoes, onions, beets, garlic, carrots, red cabbage, zucchini, and honey.
Last week Erika Smith made a special mid-week trip to the market to resupply herself with Carpenter’s baby spinach.
“It’s fresh,” Smith said. “It’s three times better than what you get in grocery stores. I eat it raw, as a salad.”
Watching over the market is defacto director Heather Henderson, a vendor herself with her Young Living line of essential oils. In addition to being a vendor Henderson teaches health and wellness classes.
“Some of us can only come every other week because they have daytime jobs,” she said. “Four hours each week during the winter is a long time so there are times that lag. It’s busiest from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.”
On this day Susan Fiorino had her silk flower arrangements, Silk Blossoms by Susan, arranged on a painted wooden trellis, “I’m bringing a little spring to winter,” and Jeff Stannard of Victory View Vineyard had half a dozen bottles of wine standing upright on a table ready for sale.
“Because we’re in the north we use cold hearty hybrid grapes that can withstand the winters,” he said. “They make a full bodied dry red wine with a wonderful tone. It’s unique. In 2019 our Marquette was judged best in the state.”
Nearby were vendors Susan Nguyen of Chunky Funk and the Insatiable Hook and Chaz Martel, the Delmar Sharpener. Nguyen uses acrylic, wool, alpaca wool and cotton to crochet clothing items like ponchos, hats, fingerless mitts, scarves, slippers, ear warmers and toys.
“This is the latest thing, heat generating yarn,” she said holding up a package that said it was sunlight activated. “I made hats for relatives in Alaska and they loved them so here they are for sale.”
In between the wine and the crocheted items on this day was Melissa Sbrega with tables filled with a line of jewelry items from Paparazzi Accessories.
“I have bracelets, rings, necklaces and matching earrings for $5 each,” she said. “All the necklaces come with a pair of matching earrings. And with my line of children’s jewelry, the earrings, bracelets and rings, everything is $1.”
On the far side of the lobby Paul Neaton with his Get Wick It table of soy wax candles shared space beside Kayleigh Smith of Kayleigh’s Kanvases and Patricia Genier of the Cottage Parlor.
Neaton stood behind a tableful of candles with names like Apple Pie, Irish Whiskey, Gram’s kitchen, and Irish Coffee Cream.
Smith was nearby seated behind two tables filled with her artwork; acrylic and water color paintings, pencil, charcoal drawings and ink pieces and wood burnings.
“Two of my most requested items are family portraits and pet portraits,” she said. “People come by, see some of my work and order a portrait. I’m just starting with the wood burnings.”
Like many of the vendors Patricia Genier was nearly hidden behind her products at table for the Cottage Parlor. Genier offers comfort items like shawls, baby blankets, tapestry pillows and scarf and hat pins made from repurposed jewelry items. Like many of the vendors she takes custom orders.
“I like simple patterns but really good materials,” she said. “I make things that are useful but have the Victorian spirit.”
Nearly hidden down one of the hallways was another vendor who is good with a needle and thread also. Gail LaBoisssiere sat behind a portable sewing machine stitching away on a piece oblivious to the coming and going nearby.
LaBoissiere’s offered customers stitched products, like cat mats of printed fabric with cat designs and infused with catnip. There was American Girl Doll clothing and wellie Wisher clothing and a specialty items, all fabric microwave bowl holders.
“They’re like potholders for a bowl that you can stick in the microwave with the bowl so you don’t burn your hands,” she said.
No market is complete without a baker and the Halfmoon Winter Market has Stacie Blair of Sugar Fairy Bakes filling the roll. Blair has been baking 30 years but vending for just eight months. Her Summit Line of high energy edibles is a hit with hikers. The product name comes from her son and his friends who like to summit the high peaks and enjoy the bars at the summit.
“I’m known as the community baker,” Blair said. ‘I have a relationship with my customers. I know them, their kids, and their grandkids. I know that their grandchild likes sugar cookies.”
Customer Mary Jane Burdick of Halfmoon gave Blair’s products high marks. She is a connoisseur of Blair’s Coco Bombs.
“I add it to hot milk and it dissolves. It’s a dessert treat,” she whispered.