If you're new to a city or visiting for the first time a walking tour is a great way to get acquainted with shops, locals and history. The Saratoga Food Tour hosted by Joe Haedrich gives you an added bonus...not only do you meet shop keepers, local farmers and restaurateurs but you also get to sample their foods. While walking the streets of Saratoga you'll learn about it's glorious past as a major resort town for the rich and famous of the day. You'll get insight into some of the magnificent buildings that are still standing and their history. You'll learn that Saratoga was built not only on springs and historic battles but also by entrepreneurs.
Joe Haedrich who runs the tour will not only take you to some of the best of Saratoga food but will also regale you with the history of Broadway, Skidmore College and Yaddo Gardens.
Stops include Saratoga Farmer's Market -- Solively Tapenade owned by Kim Klopstock, who also runs 50 South, a restaurant just outside of Saratoga in Ballston Spa. Argyle Cheese Farm - 4th generation farm where they know the cows by name. Saratoga Peanut Butter that makes nutritious, preservative free peanut and almond butter right here in Saratoga. From here we went to another cheese farmer, Sweet Spring Farms where they make delicious goat cheese but first we made a stop at Anna Mae's Homemade Jam booth. Anna Mae makes 100 different jellies and jams all from her homegrown fruit except for the citrus. She has been at the farmer's market since the beginning in 1978. Her jams and jellies sell for $4.50 a jar, homemade, no preservatives and all natural. Anna Mae rings the bell signaling the end of the farmer's market.
From here we walked to the one of the many springs. The spring water of Saratoga Springs was one of the first internationally sold products and was prescribed by doctors for their healing properties. The one we sampled was full of iron and wasn't the tastiest. But I guess it would be good for someone with an iron deficiency.
After a brief history lesson about the springs and their uses we made our way up some stairs and across the street to The Olde Bryan Inn for a steak bruschetta. This appetizer was served on grilled bread topped with grilled steak, peppers and small salad on the side. While we were enjoying this delicious treat we were told the history of The Olde Bryan Inn and the role that it played in the American Revolution. One of the group asked if the inn was haunted. Apparently the answer isn't yes or no, but there have been sightings by employees and patrons. The female apparition's name is either Eleanor, Beatrice or Ida, just in case you see her.
As we walked to the first of the shops along Broadway that we were to stop at Joe told us the story of Lucy Skidmore Scribner, for whom Skidmore College is named. Apparently Lucy and her mother came to live in Saratoga and found out that when horse racing season was over the women who worked in the hotels didn't have jobs since the hotels closed for the season. So she decided to start a school to educate those women. Once they graduated they were able to type 60 words a minute and take shorthand at 120 words per minute.
The Shops of Broadway
The first store we stopped at was The Saratoga Olive Oil Company a store that specializes in olive oils and balsamic vinegars. The next shop was The Salsa and Spice Company. As the name implies the store is filled with shelves of hot sauces, salsas and other spices. The tour then finishes at Bettie's cupcakes for a sweet treat, two of their size "a" cupcakes in a variety of flavors to choose from.
The tours are held on Saturdays and cost $40 a person, which includes everything except for anything you'd like to purchase at any of the stops. The appetizer at The Olde Bryan in is also included in the price however if you'd like an alcoholic beverage that's extra. The Saratoga Food Tour will take you on a leisurely walk through Saratoga where you'll learn some history, taste some food and make some friends, a pretty great way to spend a Saturday afternoon.