Home for the Holiday

Shana tova! Happy New Year!

I was more than delighted to leave New York City this past weekend and spend Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, at home in Rochester with my family. My brother is a sophomore in college who flew home for the holiday and my sister is a grad student in Rochester, so she was already home. The three of us overlapped in my parents’ house for all of 24 hours over the summer and I was almost childishly excited to be together again.

My grandparents drove from Montreal and Toronto to be with us, as well. I know that I am very lucky to have all of my grandparents and that they are all healthy and able to drive long distances. Without traffic (almost a certainty at Customs) Rochester is five hours from Montreal and three from Toronto, so it’s a significant amount of travel time. I am so grateful to be able to be with my family at any time, but especially at the start of the new year. So far, this is absolutely the best part of returning to the US.

Rosh Hashanah started Sunday night and I arrived Saturday morning, which meant I had time to do a few Rochester-related activities before contributing to the Rosh Hashanah cooking that my mum had been working on all week. I ended up making two cakes, stuffed vegetables, and doing a variety of prep for other dishes. Before getting involved in holiday preparations, however, we had time for a trip to my favorite local place, the Rochester Public Market.

There are a number of farmers’ markets in various Rochester suburbs, but the downtown public market is the largest and definitely the best, both for quality of produce and variety of options. It’s open year-round Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays with an increasing number of vendors as we get closer to the weekend. When I lived in the Park Ave neighborhood after college I went to the market every Saturday morning to buy my produce before heading to our local grocery chain, Wegmans (which I dearly miss!), for the rest. I knew which vendors would have what I wanted and where they were located, who would sell half baskets for half the price, and who sold parsley leaves in little bags instead of large bunches. Some vendors have changed in the last few years, but the market is still my favorite Rochester place.

Market shoppers! There’s more diversity here than any other place in the city. (Note: Statement based on personal experience, not empirical evidence.)

My parents picked me up at the airport on Saturday and we headed straight for Juan and Maria’s Empanada Stop for a late breakfast. I meant to get a picture but I was too distracted with my empanada and fried plantains. Next time!

This is NOT Juan and Maria’s. Juan and Maria’s has a cult following complete with bumper stickers, but this place also looks tasty.

And then it was time to buy vegetables, fruits, and pumpkins fresh from the farmers at ridiculously low prices:


In addition to produce, there are meat and cheese stands, local wine vendors, family bakeries, flower stalls, and several craft beverage specialists:


Part of the market is reserved for small household goods and occasionally clothing stands:


Afer completing Mum’s shopping list and heading back to the car, we passed Duke’s Donuts. I’m not a huge fan of sweets but they have apple cider and that’s a very good thing:


Great place to spend an hour, even if you just look around. There’s lots to see, free samples at many stands (my favorites are cheese and wine), and excellent people watching. Planning a trip to Rochester (at a time when I happen to be home)? Let me know when you’re visiting and I’ll wander around with you!

As good as the public market is, however, it doesn’t top being with my family. I have yet to find anything better than that.


3 thoughts on “Home for the Holiday”

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