Jim Perillo navigates the weekend bustle on Cooperstown's Main Street and ducks into Pioneer Alley. The aroma of fresh coffee and fruit pies leads him to a single-story brick building with double doors thrown open.
Inside, he finds the Cooperstown Farmers' Market. It's home to more than 30 vendors every Saturday, open 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. through December. Crimson apples fill wooden crates. Booths are stocked with emerald bunches of kale, bright orange carrots, and plump squash. Growers and producers from within 50 miles of Cooperstown offer jams, bread, and meat cuts.
Perillo fills his bag with Daikon radish, a small melon, Maitake mushrooms, onion, and a goat cheese ricotta. He'll char the mushrooms and onion to serve atop Brioche toast. As Perillo browses, he samples stone-ground mustard and farmstead cheese. "Fall makes everything crisp," he says. "You can go more rustic with your food, a bit more on the comfort side."
This excursion is research for Perillo, the executive chef at the Otesaga Resort Hotel. Back in the kitchen, he'll craft dishes like a tart filled with honey cup squash from Weaver Family Farm and Spurbeck's aged cheddar for the resort's Hawkeye Bar & Grill. For now, he simply enjoys the best place to discover the homegrown gems of Otsego County.
After sampling Cooperstown's finest local food, explore more seasonal flavors at these attractions around Otsego County:
Wake up at Stagecoach Coffee, a family-run shop in downtown Cooperstown that's roasted Arabica beans in house since 1992. Order a pumpkin spice latte to sip while you stroll Main Street's leaf-dappled sidewalks.
Visit the 15-acre Cullen Pumpkin Farm in Richfield Springs to select fresh ingredients for your homemade pumpkin pie. Stock up on fall and halloween decor, too, with gourds, corn stalks, and pumpkins for carving jack-o'-lanterns.
Since 1856, hydropower has transformed apples into cider at Fly Creek Cider Mill. On November and December weekends, discover how to combine sweet cider and savory spices to create wassail, a traditional holiday beverage.
End the day with wood-fired pizza at Bocca Osteria. The Cooperstown eatery's Fichi pie combines roasted red peppers, figs, chicken, arugula, and smoked gouda topped with a balsamic glaze. Or indulge with tagliatelle and gnocchi made in house.
The best way to savor a Belgian ale? Try a Bed & Brew weekend with the Inn at Cooperstown and Brewery Ommegang. Stay at an historic B&B, then enjoy a VIP brewery tour and gourmet meal with beer pairings.