The Woodstock Farm Festival and National Farmer’s Market Week

vegetable soup

The Woodstock Farm Festival is quite an event.  In typical Woodstock fashion, the town wrangled over the market before it finally became a reality.  Every improvement in our community seems to take ages before it happens.    But, now it’s a tradition  and people come from miles around on Wednesday afternoons to  shop for fresh produce, baked goods, and listen to the music.  They feast on the efforts of:

Abas Falafel

Black Eyed Susie’s

Catskill Fungi

Clove Valley CSA

Four Winds Farm

Just Good Eats

Lenny Bee Productions

Marilyn’s Roadside Eatery

Medicine Gardens

Migliorelli Farm

Northwind Farms

Oliverea Schoolhouse Maple

Rick Reilingh

Sow Good Bakery

Wright’s Farm

On Wednesday evenings, a  heat hovers over the Market.  Shoppers, some wearing the least amount of clothing possible in an effort to get comfortable, hurry from booth to booth finding   greens, tomatoes, herbs, cheese, baked goods for tomorrow’s meals.

The first full week of August is special  for the market because  it’s  National Farmer’s  Market week.  Farmers bring together communities and food to offer us all healthy, nutritious, locally grown and raised products.

Music is scheduled  every market afternoon in 2 venues:  on the main stage and in the market itself.  Woodstockers  love to shop for fruits, veggies, baked goods and cheeses accompanied by music played by local area musicians.

Just as the Good Neighbor Food Pantry closes,  pantry volunteers  ignoring the promise of a summer moon  scurry around the Migliorelli booth with empty boxes. Quickly, to avoid being seen, they load some of the unsold Migliorelli produce into a vehicle  and   take  it back to the pantry  for distribution on Thursday.

What a gift!  Migliorelli offers a real  boost to the pantry  shoppers in the form of  delicious, nutritious food. Many of them have absolutely no $$$ at all.    Migliorelli feeds the body as well as the soul.  This is a real gift for people, many of whom are in the process of losing so much.  This gesture means more than the people at Migliorelli Farm will ever know.

When the pantry shoppers receive this special food, they not only get the food they could never buy, they have a connection to their community – this has a spiritual, religious layer, the value of which cannot be calculated.

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Good Luck to us all.

Thurman Greco

The Facebook Rant


“You write a book and it’s like putting a message in a bottle and throwing it in the ocean.  You don’t know if it will ever reach any shore.  And there, you see, sometimes it falls in the hands of the right person.” – Isabel Allende

Somebody wrote a Facebook post  recently about how to cross a street in Woodstock.   On and on the post went…about how nobody looks before they cross the street in Woodstock.  I forgot who  wrote the post.  I tried and tried to remember.  When I tried to find the post later, I could not…simply could not.

So, I sent out a call asking for information.

Back came a post from Melissa Lovaglio.  “The author of the lost post is Christine Dempsey!”  Thank you Melissa!  And, thank you Christine!

The post was correct…every word of it.  Jaywalkers rule in Woodstock.  After all, we have more 50+ seniors  in Woodstock than any other community in Ulster County.  So, there’s a whole bunch of us who just never remember what we’re supposed to do before we cross the street.

The tourists who visit Woodstock for a day, or weekend, or even a week are both special and important.  They  walk around  town wearing “Woodstock Grins” on their faces and never even see the traffic.   And, it’s okay.  The $$$ they leave in the summer  keeps our stores open in the winter.

Woodstock’s Colorful Characters are important to our community.  For many of us who live here, they are more important than the  rock  stars who show up.

Grandpa Woodstock brings in a lot of people to this town…with his peace sign and his cart.  Actually, his cart is brand new.  Somebody stole the other one or something.   Anyway, he’s got a fancy new cart and it looks like he’s selling hats and scarves and other goodies off of it.  He doesn’t need to look either to the right or the left as he goes through town.  He’s too busy posing for pictures and stuff.

Ricochet doesn’t look when he crosses the street.  He spends more time looking over his shoulder than he does looking to the left and  to the right.  Ricochet isn’t known to that many tourists.  But he’s a genuine Woodstock Colorful Character, knows he’s a genuine Woodstock Colorful Character, and he’s not about to look left and right.  But, just because he’s isn’t that well known to the tourists doesn’t mean that he’s not famous.  Don’t let that fool you.  He was  written up weekly for years in Michael Pacut’s  paper “Free the Press”.  He’s got a strong reputation as an FBI/CIA operative implicated in the Iran Contra Scandals.

Ricochet weighs about  100 pounds and gets around on a small bike.  He and Michael Pacut were  at each other for what seems like forever.  Some in town believe Ricochet tried to kill Michael more than once.  It didn’t work, though, because Michael is a Marine and we all know Marines  trump the FBI and the CIA any day of the week.

Jogger John can be seen crossing streets in Woodstock daily – both on foot and on his bike.  Jogger keeps our sidewalks clean.  In the winter, he gets the snow off them ASAP.  In the summer, he keeps the dirt/mud gone.

Jogger John is one of Woodstock’s most beloved citizens.  He’s also the Psychic for many who live here.  So, when Jogger John crosses the street, he definitely looks both ways and sees many things we do not.  One thing…Jogger John loves people and they love him.  And, he is a very special person to all who know him.

When things were especially tough at the pantry, I consulted with  him weekly.  His visions inspired me to leave the pantry in Woodstock and work with Prasida, Sean, and Bonnie to open the pantry in Boiceville.  It was 100% the right decision.  I’ve never looked back.

He never charged a cent, Jogger John.  His gift is God-given, so he’s not interested in what he receives.  He’s interested in giving.

A Colorful Character I call “Feathers” (I never learned the name and really like the one I chose.) can be seen in Woodstock pretty often.  Feathers is  easy to spot with long hair, a beard and several eagle feathers in an ever present hat.

A seemingly spiritual person, the  image includes long black skirts, dark jackets and medium-to-large purses.  I’m suspecting that the wardrobe comes from the boutique at Family of Woodstock which offers fabulous opportunities for creative self expression.  (Some of Woodstock’s best dressed citizens shop there exclusively.)

Woodstock also has a special, elite collection of Colorful Characters in Training.  I see the face of God in their eyes.  A couple of them were regulars at the pantry when I was there.  I don’t know if they still pantry shop  or not.

But, this I do know.  Their reality grids are special.  Their gifts are wondrous.  For the most part, they are comfortable in their bodies here.  They are comfortable living in Woodstock. We in Woodstock are blessed to have them.

They are never, not under any circumstances that I can imagine, going to look before they cross the street.

And, actually, I feel that way about the whole bunch of us.  None of us – not the 50+ cotton top seniors, not the Colorful Characters, not the Trainees…

and certainly  the tourists are  ever, not even in your wildest dreams, going to look:





as we take off across the street.

Thanks for reading this blog.

The stories in this blog are true.  The people are real.

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Michele Garner donated  the artwork for this post.

Christine Dempsey wrote the inspiring Facebook post.

Melissa Lovaglio shared Christine’s name with me.

Thurman Greco





A Swimsuit Summer in Woodstock


Summer in Woodstock can be mystical and magical.  Tourists flock to the town almost every day leaving $$$ in the stores and taking shopping bags with them.  It wasn’t always this way.  Between 2008 and 2012, shopping bags were scarce as unicorns.  People came, walked around town, got in their cars, and took off.

But, no more.  At the very least, they buy a cone at Taco Juan’s, a necklace at Gwen’s Gems and a coffee at Bread Alone.  I’m happy to see them.  And, I’m  extremely happy to see the shopping bags they carry.  When people leave carrying  shopping bags in their hands, we have a good chance of not looking at too many vacant store fronts next winter.

Two places the tourists don’t know much about are Maria’s and Harmony.  We residents can enjoy our town without too many of the tourists gawking when we visit those 2 places.

Maria’s, located across from Bread Alone and behind Sparkles,  has the best breakfast in town.  I love the place and wish I could go everyday but somehow that never happens.  I’m in the breakfast crowd but Maria’s also has wonderful food for lunch or dinner.  The pasta dishes are created with  pastas made in her daughter’s own Bella Pasta factory on Route 28.   Her salmon is to “die” for.  I love her desserts.

I occasionally go into Harmony, the local music cafe located on Mill Hill Road.  It’s right across the street from Catskill Mountain Pizza.  I occasionally go into Harmony on Monday or Tuesday evenings for a dinner of oriental food and I feel like I own the place.  No one else is in the dining room.  I usually arrive about 6:15 and the evening poetry readings or music event hasn’t begun yet.

The most summer fun event to be had in town costs not 1 cent and it’s not on Tinker Street.  The most summer fun to be had is at the corner of Tannery Brook, Ohayo Mountain Road and Millstream  Road.  Actually, it’s under the bridge there.

That’s where the summer swimming hole is.  Most of the bathers  walk past my parking lot on Tannery Brook and then past the Inn on the Millstream.  .  Young, mostly, with tiny swimsuits, they’re excited about an afternoon and early evening in the water and on the banks of the stream.  It’s a procession marked by skin, water,  and the promise of a summer moon.

Most of the excitement comes down the street as they head to the stream.  But, they don’t all walk down Tannery Brook.  Some of them drive up Millstream  Road and park along the edge of the pavement just before they get to the bridge.

And, they don’t all arrive wearing tiny swimsuits.    Some of them, the ones I used to see at the pantry every week,  don’t have the luxury of a swimsuit so they enjoy the water in their street clothes.

Every summer day, one of Woodstock’s Colorful Characters walks carefully down to the stream…alone and barefooted.  He makes a point of either getting to the stream ahead of everyone or arriving last after the place has emptied out so he can enjoy the beauty of the place, the cleansing effect of the water, all to himself.

But, swimsuit or not, after an afternoon playing in the water, they walk back on Taannery Brook much slower than when they came.  Whatever they wear will dry on its own in the summer heat.

These warm summer days and summer moons are to be enjoyed, cherished really.  For, all too soon, we’ll be wearing our new winter boots.  A seasonal ritual practiced by Woodstockers each fall is to show up in town wearing winter boots right after Labor Day.

When the winter boots come out, the swimsuit summer days punctuated by skin, water, and summer moons become a memory…maybe even less.

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Photography by Renee Ruwee

Thurman Greco


George, George, Richard, Vito, Alex and…Another Woodstock Secret

snowy branch


We all have an idea of things we’d like to find in heaven.

For me…if I had my druthers, I’d have jazz on Sunday mornings.

Well, now I don’t have to wait to die and try to sweet talk St. Peter into letting me get into heaven to hear the Sunday Morning Jam.


Sunday Morning Jam is alive and well in Woodstock.

It’s FREE and it’s at Upstate Films.

All you have to do is show up a little after 10 on Sunday morning and enjoy the fun until about 2:00.

Today they played until about noon and then had a coffee break.  They offered me coffee.  Can you imagine that?  They not only let me in free but they offered me coffee!

Jazz was offered by George on keyboard, George on drums, Rich on clarinet,  Vito on horns, and Alex on drums.

Amaretta came – a true diva singer.

I enjoyed Angel Eyes, St. Louis Blues, The Girl from Ipanema, At the Mambo Inn, Everytime We Say Goodbye, Ask Me Now,  among other favorites. The music changes over time as the players change.

“New artists are welcome to come and try out songs with us” George said.  “We’re open here.  We’re all about playing  and sharing music.  It’s how we all get better.”  This attitude takes us all back to music as it was played in the ’70s.  Famous musicians made themselves available to the younger and newer ones.  It was a way of life for musicians.  It was a lifestyle.  It was a vibe.

This vibe looms large over the whole theater on Sunday mornings.

Come join in the fun.  Sunday Morning Jam at Upstate films is a special  bit of heaven.  The rotating roster of musicians makes it very easy to be a regular.

Thanks for reading this blog.  The information shared here is absolutely true.  The people are real.

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Thurman Greco

Woof! Woof! Woodstock Loves Its Pets. A Tribute to Joe Nicholson

Pets in general and dogs   in particular are beloved in Woodstock.  The whole town  is a very pet friendly place.  For starters, they’re welcome at the Library, in the gardens of local cafes, and at St. Gregory’s Episcopal Church.

They’re very welcome at the Woodstock Dog Park and at The Comeau, a special place in the center of town and in the hearts of the townspeople.

For years now, dogs and their owners have been walking  on the Comeau property.  It’s easy to get to that space.  Just turn on to Comeau Drive at the Village Apothecary and go up the hill to the top parking lot.  Park your rig, and take off.  It’s a great public space.

A dog friendly area, it’s definitely not a play park.  Owners are expected to keep their pets leashed at all times.   Dogs are welcome on most trails but not on the athletic fields.

Important here:  The Stan Longyear meadow is mowed for farm animal food so dog waste and sticks are forbidden.

As with any well used public space, there are rules:

Leash up your dog while still in your car and then keep it leashed.

Pick up waste after your dog.

In 2012, Fran Breitkopf and and several townspeople got together and planned a dog park.  They went to  Jeff Moran, the Supervisor,  and to the Town Board for approval  and some unused land.   The result  is as perfect as a dog park can be.  With Fran Breitkopf at the helm, how could it be anything else?

The Dog Park Committee got it’s start with the group receiving some start up supplies from the town:  fencing, gates, shovels, etc.  An important note:  The Woodstock Dog Park is a financially sustaining and independent entity.  No town funds are used for the upkeep of this space.

Committee members donated time and sweat to make the dream a reality.  One volunteer  was Joe Nicholson.  His commitment was a reflection of his commitment to his Akita, Odessa.  I sensed he was building a park for her and for all dogs like her.

Joe worked almost daily in the first year to create a safe and inviting space for everyone to use.  Once the Woodstock Dog Park was a reality, he continued working to keep it that way.  His commitment was more than typical…it was outstanding.  He mended  fences, chopped down trees, spread mulch, fixed gates.

The result is a lovely forested area  with the Big Dog Park and the Small Dog Park securely fenced off.  The spaces are large enough to have agility areas for the dogs.

The Woodstock Dog Park is an off-leash park designed so dogs can play and exercise in a beautiful, safe, and natural setting.

There are, of course, some rules which I won’t  go into here except to share my 2 favorite ones:

Owners must fill any holes their dogs dig.

Spike, prong, chain, and electronic collars are prohibited.

This park is free and open to all good dogs and their human companions.  Located less than 5 minutes from the Woodstock Village Green, the Woodstock Dog Park is open every day of the year from dawn until dusk.

Getting there is easy:  drive on 212 heading toward toward Bearsville.

Just past the fire house No. 1 (on the right), you’ll see the now closed Gypsy Wolf Restaurant on your left.  This is at the intersection of Dixon Avenue (on the left).

Turn left here and drive a long block down Dixon Ave. until you get to the Baseball field (on the left).

Turn left again and drive about 100 feet to the end of the road.  You’ll see the  parking area on your right.  At the end, there is a trail to the Big Dog Park and the Small Dog Park.

The Woodstock Dog Park is open every day of the year from dawn until dusk.

I’ve personally never been there when the dog park was crowded.

Dog waste bags are available.

My absolute favorite time to take my Chihuahuas to the Woodstock Dog Park is Christmas Morning.  It’s a tradition in our family.

I can’t end this post without sharing that Joe Nicholson  died recently in a kayaking accident.  His untimely death has been difficult for all of us on the Woodstock Dog Park Committee. We  mourn this loss.  The old saying  that “no one is irreplaceable” is hard to accept here.  Things will continue.  Fences will get mended.  Trees will get trimmed.  Mulch will get spread.  We will all work together.  But, we on the Woodstock Dog Park Committee will have heavy hearts.

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Thurman Greco