This past Sunday, a portion of Albany’s lovely Washington Park was taken over by a local harvest festival put together by the people who run Honest Weight Food Co-op. An impressive number of vendors was there to cater to the masses, selling all of their specialized goods. We got there shortly after the 12pm start time, and had to park a fair distance away. A serene stroll through the park was nice before we arrived at the area where the festival was going on.
At the start of the festival, Honest Weight Food Co-op had a spot where they were selling small bites, some groceries, and other goods. From Scratch Club also had a little table where they were providing information about food swaps and other things FSC are involved with.
WEXT, our area listener sponsored radio station, had a tent set up and had some live acts come out and sing and play for the crowd. People seemed to like it.
We took a look at each of the tables and bought quite a few things.
The first thing I bought was a carnitas taco from Bros Tacos.
It wasn’t anything like the taco in the link I just provided. For $4, this came as a bit of a disappointment. The meat was unseasoned and flat, and the taco was missing the cojita cheese, even though they said it came on it at the table. The corn tortillas were excellent, and may have even been homemade; I love that it was double wrapped. They seemed to be getting a little frazzled as traffic was starting to increase. At least now I can say I had a Bro Taco.
Many of the vendors have products with great personalities. There was a bread vendor who had something they were calling “Stevie Wonder Bread,” and an annoying old lady jumped in the way while I was trying to get a picture. The offerings at this table were beautiful.
I got a chance to see what Bake for You is all about. They’ve been around for a while, but I was just recently reminded of them when I saw Jenn Savino’s segment on her “Bite Me” show that showcased Bake for You.
It was tough to decide what to order. There were a number of interesting things on the table, and each one looked better than the next. It came down to a cookie with candy corn in it (hey, it’s the fall) or one with M&Ms and pretzels. I decided on the latter. It was very good. As you can tell from the picture, these are cookies that eat like a meal. Cassie got a few other things from the table, and was also pleased.
My actual lunch was a cup of Ric Orlando’s Red Brick beef chili from the New World Bistro stand. They offered this and a vegan chili for $4 a cup or $6 stuffed into a burrito. On top of that, they had a platter full of accompaniments, sour cream, harissa, “hell sauce”, and, a favorite of mine, Purple Haze sauce. I took about a teaspoon of each of the hot sauces for different parts of the chili and I topped it with a dollop of sour cream.
The depth of flavor in the chili was exceptional. The beef (obviously steak, not ground) was cooked down with a number of spices and was very well rounded. The occasional black bean added some different texture. The hot sauces each worked differently in this. The hell sauce was probably the more appropriate addition, as it really didn’t throw much more complex flavor into the mix, just heat, really. The harissa definitely muddied the taste a little, but was interesting on its own. The Purple Haze sauce is really something special and is something you really just have to try to understand. Again here, I thought it messed with the flavors in the chili in an adverse way. I did enjoy the hell out of this chili, and I gave my compliments to the staff. They joked around with me that they should make up t-shirts like mine for their staff. I was wearing “the colors.” (but not the hat)
I really enjoyed this. The filling was intensely flavorful and the icing was delicious. It’s in a completely different league than their usual vegan cinnamon bun. I really hope this is something that makes it into regular rotation in their shop, at least while the apples are in season.
Cassie brought home a big bag of stuff. When sorting through everything, she realized that it was difficult to identify where most of the goods were purchased. Everything was packaged in the same, nondescript bags or paper. That’s a bit frustrating; if one of the goodies she brought home was outstanding, it would be difficult to know where we could find it again. Ohh well.
On the way out, I decided to check out what this Fire Cider stuff was.
The young man at the booth was giving away small (< 5 mL) samples. Let me tell you. It went down easy. It tasted like sour honey; he basically said it was a mixture of honey and apple cider vinegar, so that makes sense. But damn. My chest was still burning 3 hours later. That stuff is INTENSE!!!
So in the 90 or so minutes we spent there, we had a good time. It was basically a farmers’ market in the park with more than the usual suspects that you’d normally see at farmers’ markets. It’s really fun and is a good thing to see the community come together to support these types of things.