Francheska Laboy, left, holds Thaiz Laboy, and enjoys free samples of pesto with Bryant Vega, middle, from Leslie Maiello, right.
By CASEY CROUCHER
“You’re never too old for a bounce house,” high high-schooler Rachel Bromberg yelled from a castle bounce house Saturday during Amserdam’s first farmer’s market on Church Street.
Bromberg hopped back and forth from the bounce house to Leslie Maiello’s pesto stand, where Maiello was serving free samples of homemade pesto with bread.
“The pesto is addicting,” Bromberg said.
“You’ll never find it in Price Chopper,” Maiello joked.
Maiello, a Schenectady native, said her pesto recipe was handed down to her from her father and she’s been making it since she was a small child.
“When I was a child we called pesto ‘green sauce,’” she said. “We would make it once a weekend and I remember us kids cracking the nuts, skinning the nuts, grating the cheese and adding an inch of olive oil to the top.”
The pesto maker was selling different sized jars of her special recipe Saturday, but within an hour most of her merchandise had been sold.
“I’m coming back to [the farmers market] next week and I’ll have to bring more pesto with me; all of the kids really love it,” she said.
Shannon Keenan of Swirl Bake Shoppe in Rotterdam experienced a similar spike in sales during the city’s opening market.
“I sold more here in an hour than I do all day at the Spa City Farmers Market,” Keenan said. “It was amazing, I’m definitely coming back.”
Keenan brought red velvet cupcakes, all sorts of macaroons and different types of jam to sell at the market.
“The macaroons were gone in 45 minutes, I definitely need to bring more with me next week,” she said.
Ann Kielbasa of Sharon Springs-based Most Delicious, a jams, jellies and cookies business also sold out of her product.
“Everyone really seemed to want the blueberry lavender jam we’re selling today,” she said. “I’d say today’s market was very successful because we sold out of something.”
Saturday’s market, located at the parking lot next to the Walter Elwood Museum on Church Street, brought in 14 vendors, hundreds of customers and local politicians including Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, D-Rotterdam, Sen. Cecilia Tkaczyk, D-Duanesburg, Mayor Ann Thane and 2nd Ward Alderwoman Valerie Beekman.
Market manager Ben Wallach said he thought Saturday was a good start for the market.
“I thought there would be more vendors here today but this is a wonderful start,” Wallach said. “Next week we’ll have over 20 vendors and it should grow and expand every single week.”
Wallach said he was happy city officials and residents supported the market and he’s excited to see how it progresses.
Community and Economic Development Director Robert von Hasseln also said he was happy with the start of the market.
“It will grow each weekend,” he said, “and we’re learning how to make it bigger and better for each time; there’s going to be bands and entertainment, more vendors, more food, more of everything.”
Von Hasseln said the farmers market was important for Amsterdam’s future and would help bring people in to the city.
“The unique thing about this city is how it’s a city that also has a countryside,” he said. “It’s the best of both worlds, and people love that. A farmers market will bring the community together, bring tourists in and help our local farmers and vendors sell their products. I’m just really pleased.”
Next week’s market will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the same spot.