Top 5 Tips for Shopping the Rochester Public Market

Fisher Hill Farm - Rochester Public Market

The Rochester Public Market is known for being one of the best markets in the area. There are very few cities and states lucky enough to have a market as robust.

Every week at the market, there are always a few people who let us know that they have just started coming to the market regularly. Sometimes it’s their first time! It’s great to see people discovering a treasure of local goods and services right in their backyard.

But if you’ve never been to the market, or if it’s been years, here are a few tips that can help you navigate unfamiliar territory. It can be a little overwhelming and we know it! It can get pretty busy during peak hours, so if you’re not one for crowds then the earlier the better. Thursdays are usually a lot less busy and if you are near downtown at all for work or otherwise, it can be a productive shopping event. We’re there on Thursdays from June through October. Click here to see our full market schedule.

Here are our top 5 tips for shopping at the Rochester Public Market:

#1 – Parking

This is by the far the thing that we hear the most about the market. Parking is difficult. It is downtown and parking is always at a premium. There are 5 city owned lots for parking. The largest is between Scio and Union. The second largest is between Pennsylvania and Railroad.

The red outlines the 2 largest city owned parking lots associated with the market.

There are also 3 smaller lots. Here’s the information from the Rochester Public Market website on the location of all the lots and where to access:

https://www.cityofrochester.gov/publicmarket/

Another option is to park near by and bike in. If you can’t get there early (before 10am) to get a prime parking spot in one of the free lots this can be a great and healthy option. We are seeing more and more people do this recently. There are some paid for parking areas too.

#2 Hauling

Now you’ve made it there but what the heck can you do about carrying all your great stuff? There are some great cart options out there and some stores sell them locally. But the best option is a good back pack. It doesn’t have to be the latest and greatest, but just something comfortable that you won’t mind walking with. Bring a lunchbox inside with a cold pack in it for meats and maybe an extra bag in case you find a watermelon or pumpkin that you can’t live without.

Look for a “Day Trip” backpack that is meant for hiking. They have lots of compartments and are meant to be comfortable on your back with weight in it. People also refer to them as rucksacks. An outdoor store like REI has them, as does Walmart. Find something comfortable and then you won’t mind wearing it.

#3 Money

There is at least one cash machine that we know of, but most vendors accept a card. But just to be on the safe side, bring some cash with you in case the vendor doesn’t accept a card. We do with no minimum, but we can’t speak for all vendors. Prices are usually clearly marked on the baskets. Cash or charge there probably won’t be any breaks. You make one break you gotta break for em all!

#4 Vendors

A very typical question is “Which ones are farmers and which ones are wholesalers?” That can be a tricky one, but there are a few tell tale signs your dealing with a farmer.

-They have a logo. You see a logo, it’s probably a farm. They probably have ‘farm’ in the name. Maybe on T-Shirts or the side of the truck.

Fisher Hill Farm - Rochester NY
The crew at Fisher Hill Farm – Rochester NY

-They have dirt. Could be on their hands, shoes, the truck, the boxes… somewhere there is dirt. We grow stuff. It grows in dirt. It’s hard to get it off everything.

-They tell you. When all else fails…ASK! Farmers will tell you if they grew it or not, if it’s on consignment from another farm, or if they traded with a farm, or who’s farm it’s from. Just ask.

Get to know your farmer and your favorite stop at the market and follow them on social media. You’ll know what’s coming out and what’s in season and what other markets they’ll be at.

The wholesalers can have some great stuff and you shouldn’t count them out! But since we’re a local farm we like to see local farms get most of the business!

#5 Restrooms

There are public restrooms in the updated indoor B shed. It’s the main building with the Public Market sign on the front. There are also restrooms in the middle brick building as well. Some businesses may have restrooms but we can’t endorse whether they are open to the public or not. The best option is the B shed. The new bathrooms are updated and very nice. The staff keep them clean even on the busiest days. Thank you very much to the hard workers at the market.

These are probably the most common questions that come up. We hope your market experience is excellent. Getting the freshest local ingredients leads to the best meals.

Smoke Box Chicken

One of the great things about the summer months is getting a good barbecue going. We wanted an easy way to get smokehouse chicken without worrying about burning our dinner.

There’s actually two ways you can use this Smoke Box. You can load it up and put it directly on your gas grill or you can get some hot coals and place it on them. We chose to try it that way because it was slightly more adventurous for a blog post! But putting the box on the grill makes it even easier and allows you to choose a temperature.

The smoker box.

The first step is to prepare the raw chicken. We used a store bought barbecue dry rub for the legs. We coated them in the morning and put them in a plastic bag in the fridge. For the breast, we poured a little Italian dressing over it and put it in the fridge. Simple preparation is often times the best!

We got our fire going and let it die down to just some hot coals. If you choose to use your grill make sure you preheat it to the desired temp you want to smoke at.

To load the smoke box you soak the wood chips in water about 30 minutes before loading them in the box. Place the wood chips down and then the tray with the meat on it, then close the box up.

The wood chip layer.
The meat goes on top of the wood chips on tray that inserts.
Smoke box goes on top of the coals.

The legs are smaller so they were going to be done a lot sooner. Make sure you use a thermometer to get the cooking temp right. Chicken should be at 180. The legs did cook a bit quicker, but they only took about 45 minutes on the fire before they were done. You could actually smell that they were done and boy oh boy did it smell delicious!

Smoked chicken legs.

We brushed on a little bit of barbecue sauce at the end and let it dry up a little on the leg before taking them off. They were incredible, soaking up a good amount of the smoke flavor without masking the dry rub. The sweet sauce was a nice little addition and added the right amount of sugar to it.

The breast took a bit longer. But we were really thinking that it was going to make excellent sandwiches after it was cold. We were right. It was. But we couldn’t help cutting into it when it was still hot.

Smoked chicken breast on the bone.

Overall this was a tasty experiment. It might be easier to just put the box on the grill and smoke it that way, but it was fun to have a fire and make a bigger even out of it. The chicken was delicious.

We’ll have fresh chicken all summer long for all your grilling and smoking needs!

Come visit us at the market!

When Will We be at the Rochester Public Market on Thursdays Again?

Answers to the most popular questions we have gotten recently.

The market season is back and up and running. Fresh fruits and vegetables will be abundant as the days grow longer from early May straight through Thanksgiving. There’s always a lot of questions each and every year about what everyone should expect. Don’t be shy! Ask away! If we didn’t cover something in this post we’ll be happy to answer any questions left in the comments sections, in person at the markets, or on any of our social media.

When will you start Thursday’s at the Rochester Public Market again?

We can say for certain that the date is June 17th. We will be there through Thanksgiving. We’re usually in the same spot for both Saturday and Thursday. If they need to move us around for any reason we will certainly try and let you know in advance.

When will CSA shares no longer be available?

Officially this year is will be May 1st. We do have a few left and encourage anyone thinking about buying one to do so this year. If you are not familiar with ours, it’s one with choice. You don’t get a pre-filled box once a week, but rather get to choose your own every week when you get to the market. You choose where you want to pick up too!

For more information on our CSA click here.

Will Asparagus be ready soon?

The short answer is yes with an if and the long answer is no, with a but…. We fully expect asparagus to be widely available by Mother’s Day. The weather was cooperative, but then wasn’t and now looks like it’s going to stay warm as long as it doesn’t freeze at night on Fisher Hill. It might come up sooner and be ready, but the first weekend may be limited. Get there early on Saturday mornings!

Do you still have duck available?

It’s frozen, but, yes we do. It takes a few days to fully thaw out from the freeze so you may want to plan a week in advance of cooking it. It’s always best to let it thaw in the refrigerator according to safe food handling rules.

When will fresh chicken be ready?

It’s coming up fast! May 6th. We will do our best to keep fresh chicken available all summer.

Fresh chicken on the grill during the summer.

What else should I know?

Turkey is available. It is frozen. They can take a while to thaw so plan accordingly. We also are out of stewing hens until fall. If you are not familiar with us you can take a look here /https://fisherhillfarm.com/crop-list/ to see what we offer when it is in season. If you have a CSA with us already and have specific questions about your share please let us know so we can help.

Farm fresh eggs all year round

Our CSA: Customer Reviews

Fisher Hill Farm CSA

We had some past customers post last year about what they thought of our CSA. It means a lot to us to hear how happy people are with their share. We work hard to make sure that every year is a great one and we want nothing more than to see people use our produce.

One of the best parts for us is learning about our own produce from the folks who use it! We love hearing about recipes, family secrets, different methods of cooking things that we’ve never heard or thought of. It’s a perk of this job and one that has certainly kept us entertained under the tent and at our dining room table.

The relationships that we’ve built with our customers have helped us steer the farm in different directions, allowing us to help serve the community as best as we possibly can. We look forward to going to the markets to see the familiar faces every week and it’s nice to hear that many people feel the same way about us!

The term CSA means Community Supported Agriculture. But it extends beyond just buying a share that helps us get seeds in the ground. It quite literally helps in building a community around the bounty, solidifying a connection between food and people, a kind of formal bond that is very strong.

We are so lucky to have such a supportive community in Rochester. The markets, the people, and other farms and farmers have pulled together such a tightly woven fabric that really covers everything!

2021 is going to be a great year. Mostly because of the people who surround us that make every year a little better than the last.

Thank you.

Buy a Fisher Hill Farm CSA Share Today.

What Does a CSA Look Like?

Fisher Hill Farm CSA Week 12

With us, every CSA looks different. We don’t hand you a box of veggies but rather let you choose what you want at pick up time. It makes for a unique experience and one that allows you to choose what you’ll use! We don’t want to see you get something that you don’t like.

So it’s hard to say. Some people add chicken and eggs to theirs. Some just eggs. Some people get lots of crunchy veggies, some stock up on lettuce. Others still use it as an opportunity to take what they love and try something new.

A few years ago a friend of ours (Thanks Ansel!) took pictures of every share he brought home. We were lucky enough to have him share those with us. This was the regular share, so if you have a large family don’t worry, there’s one that’s larger. But looking through this gallery will show you how it changes with the seasons.

Interested to know what you’ll find on our tables?

Interested to know more about our CSA.

  • Fisher Hill Farm CSA Week 20
  • Fisher Hill Farm CSA Week 19
  • Fisher Hill Farm CSA Week 18
  • Fisher Hill Farm CSA Week 17
  • Fisher Hill Farm CSA Week 16
  • Fisher Hill Farm CSA Week 15
  • Fisher Hill Farm CSA Week 14
  • Fisher Hill Farm CSA Week 13
  • Fisher Hill Farm CSA Week 12
  • Fisher Hill Farm CSA Week 11
  • Fisher Hill Farm CSA Week 10
  • Fisher Hill Farm CSA Week 9
  • Fisher Hill Farm CSA Week 8
  • Fisher Hill Farm CSA Week 7
  • Fisher Hill Farm CSA Week 6
  • Fisher Hill Farm CSA Week 5
  • Fisher Hill Farm CSA Week 4
  • Fisher Hill Farm CSA Week 3
  • Fisher Hill Farm CSA Week 1Fisher Hill Farm CSA Week 2
  • Fisher Hill Farm CSA Week 1

We’re not quite ready for CSA 2021 information yet but we are working on it and as soon as we have our ducks in a row we will let you know. We love CSA for so many reasons, but most of all it’s great to develop new relationships with customers and learn what you do with our products. There’s always room to learn more about what you do, that will help us in what we do.

Thank you!