Food as Art and Craft

gift-boxes-with-jarsOn a beautiful Saturday in May, my husband and I spent the afternoon at Crafts at Lyndhurst, a well-established and well-attended crafts festival at one of the historic Hudson River mansions. What I noticed more than the art was the food. Whether the organizers were filling booths or filling shopper stomachs, they included in the show over two dozen different vendors that fell under their definition of “craft.” Since we are big fans of craft and artisan foods — I fondly remember a trip to Brooklyn that involved shopping for craft ginger syrups and sodas — I spent a fair amount of time checking out the offerings.
Every once in awhile, I make my husband revisit my craft food idea of starting a challah-baking business. But the numbers never work out — we’d have to sell an awful lot of challah to be financially viable. That is why I truly admire those who dedicate themselves to creating craft tarts, quiche, fudge, popcorn, nut mixes, and other goodies. They must have to display at dozens of farmer’s markets and shows, as well as create a robust on-line business. I’d better not give up my day job!
Here’s a quick rundown of some of craft food vendors we visited:
REALLY GOOD Fruit Spreads — I tasted each of the dozen or so lower-sugar, handmade jams before picking a few favorites to bring to a friend. I don’t know much about owner Ken Schneider or what inspired him to start a jam business, but it’s a winner.
Dutch Desserts, Inc. — We see owner Marjan Beebe at numerous farmer’s markets in the area and marvel at her ability to cover so much ground in a weekend. Her fresh fruit and chocolate tarts are pretty to look at and have the most delicious crust, from a recipe brought over from the Netherlands.
Oliver Kita Chocolates — These hand-made chocolates were as beautiful as the art on display at the show. Chef Oliver Kita has a storefront in Rhinebeck, NY, and offers on-line ordering. I imagine that hot weather is not conducive to selling chocolate out-of-doors.
We also tasted a couple of multi-tasker snacks, a muffin-cookie and a biscuit-cookie, plus nuts plain and candy-coated. Then there was the kettle corn that doesn’t count as artisan in my opinion but is delicious nonetheless.

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