The first thing I did...

The first thing I did when I moved to New York in the summer of 1998 was drive from my tiny attic apartment in Irvington straight to Nyack and buy an apple-plum pie from the "Pie Lady of Nyack."I was working on a book about pie and everyone I spoke to in the area insisted I hadn't tasted pie until I tried Deborah Tyler's pies made with local fruit. I drove across the Tappan Zee Bridge for the first time and made my way to her funky home by the river where children's laundry and kitschy kitchen towels hung from a line in the garden over potted petunias and geraniums. Tyler, a single mother with three young children, had turned to pie baking after a divorce left her desperately seeking an income. She'd read an article about a woman becoming self-sufficient selling blueberry pies from her home in Yankee Magazine and thought to herself: "I can do that." At the time, Deborah, who sold her pies at the Nyack Farmers Market and from her back porch, compared mastering pie crust to child-rearing: "You are the one who is in charge of that dough! Until you get that straight, it won't work. You have to be fearless!" Tyler's story and her recipe for apple-plum pie eventually made it into the book. And we didn't cross paths again until this year when someone asked if I could bring real, old-fashioned, homespun pie to the farmers market. "I hear the Pie Lady of Nyack has opened a retail store and might be interested in doing more markets," they said. As a single mother now myself, I was thrilled, first and foremost, that Deborah Tyler's business plan had worked. I called the store. Her son, Will, now a grown man, answered. And when I told him who I was, he sounded like he'd been expecting the call. "We'd love to do your markets," he said. "When can we start?" And so, it is with great pleasure that the Hastings Farmers Market brings you a new vendor this summer: The Pie Lady of Nyack with her ever-changing selection of orchard fruit pies and full butter crusts. Deborah herself plans to make it to the market on Saturday for opening day. Please stop by and say hello.

Also new this season: Amazing Real Live Food Co. -- purveyors of artisanal cheeses from Columbia County. Their line includes a Chaource (a cow's milk cheese parading as a chevre log), a nutty Alpine-style Comte,a deliciously creamy ‘Old World’ style Chaseholm Camembert, and firmer Queso Blancos, as well as soft, spreadable, fresh herbed Farmer’s Cheeses. They will also be selling probiotic enhanced ice creams and cultured Kombuchas. BONUS: since they live right next door to Ronnybrook Dairy, they've offered to bring the whole Ronnybrook Dairy Line as well. So, you can now get your fresh milk in glass bottles at the farmers market again! So many of you have gotten hooked on those Madura mushrooms this winter, we've asked the Black Dirt farmers to join us in the summer, too, with all of their culinary mushrooms and a limited selection of greens. Because they use hothouses, they will have tomatoes and peppers before our other growers will but will scale back once the other farmers are in full seasonal swing. Fork & Glass, a catering couple from Cold Spring, will be visiting us once a month this summer to prepare food on the spot. Mark is from Austin and of Mexican descent. Sunny is Norwegian and their "street food," draws from both cultures but is made with all ingredients Hudson Valley. They will also be selling quarts of soup like spring pea or asparagus and roasted fennel. Sunny is a super lean body builder, so you know everything they make is healthy. I think you're going to love them! In a couple of weeks, we will be offering French crepes at the market - both savory and sweet. Next week, Helene Godin will bring her By the Way bakery to the market plaza. Who knew gluten-free could taste so good? We hope you will take advantage of our new cafe seating to enjoy all these vittles. And that we will see you often over the next 25 weeks!

See you at the market!