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Can't Get Fresher Than the Farmers Market

DOBBS FERRY, N.Y. – Chef Frank Salvi was clutching two armfuls of fresh basil on Friday, crowing about the freshness of the produce at the Dobbs Ferry Farmers Market and how he comes each week so he can serve his customers at DiNardo's Restaurant in Pound Ridge the best of locally produced herbs, vegetables and fruits.

"Everything here is excellent," he said, as he surveyed stalls jammed with mostly hyper-local vegetables and fruits. "It's great quality, it's out in the open in nature and I like what I pick up."

Within earshot was Westchester Greenhouses and Farm owner Joe Chiocchi, who worked his massive booth on Cedar Street with his wife Nancy and several other workers, arranging rows and rows of produce and flowers, making change and exchanging pleasantries with the locals that stream in to buy well-priced and unpackaged goods. No plastic-wrapped produce was anywhere in sight.

"This morning the lettuce was in the ground in my farm in Hartsdale," said Chiocchi. "Then we load it in the truck, unpack it here and the next thing you know it's on your plate tonight."

His company is no newcomer to Westchester farmers markets, having started direct to customer sales about 20 years ago at the weekend market at the Hartsdale train station that is a couple of miles from his land. The farmer also sells his goods Wednesdays at the White Plains Farmers Market, Thursday at one in Eastchester, Saturdays in Hartsdale and Sundays in Tuckahoe.

Yoko Moyojin of Dobbs Ferry stopped by to pick up celery and green beans and crowed not just about the quality but the cost. She said no local green market or grocery store could compete with either.

A few steps away, Aimee Milano of Big Girl Baking Company was selling freshly made all-natural baked goods, including a cranberry-orange scone that seem to glisten in the summer sun. The company is Westchester-based and she actually sells her cookies, granola and other baked goods at six different Farmers Markets throughout the county, including Chappaqua, White Plains, Irvington, West Harrison and Tuckahoe.

Joe Natale of Dobbs Ferry was making his first trip of the year to the market because he usually works on Fridays. He stopped at M&M Italian Provisions to talk to Joe Mercurio, who works the stand, selling store-made breads, cheeses and sausages. "I love coming to this because I know everything is local, fresh and tastes great. It's wonderful."

The Dobbs Ferry Farmers Market runs from June to November and is at the intersection of Cedar and Main Streets in the village. There is ample, metered street parking.

Do you go to Farmers Markets around the county? What do you like to buy there?

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