Tag Archive | "Farmer’s Market"

Farmers’ Market Moves Forward

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By Kathryn G. Menu

Last month, what began as a routine review of a request by the seven-year-old Sag Harbor Farmers’ Market to continue its operations at village property on Bay Street this summer turned instead into debate.

Members of the Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustees raised questions about the legality of a winter market that has been held indoors in recent months — featuring non-food goods — as well as fees paid by vendors to be a part of the market and whether or not the village should collect a larger slice of the pie for allowing the market to take place on village property.

However, after receiving information from market managers Ivo Tomasini and Ana Nieto about how the not-for-profit operates and how the winter farmers’ market came to be, during the board’s Tuesday night meeting it unanimously approved the market’s use of the Bay Street property for the summer season — which runs May 21 through October — without charging the group the $100 fee it asked for last year.

“It was the fee structure that brought this to light,” said Mayor Brian Gilbride to David Falkowski, a Bridgehampton farmer and one of the original members of the Sag Harbor Farmers’ Market.

Falkowski explained that the seasonal fee of $450 which each of the 20 vendors pay to be part of the Saturday market is a fee structure designed by the organization as a group at the start of each season. The money covers advertising costs, insurance fees and the manager’s stipend.

He added that at the summer and fall farmers’ market, the group is committed to self-policing itself to ensure that vendors are not selling anything but food-stuff, with the exception of a t-shit or tote bag.

In a memo provided to the village board, Tomasini and Nieto submitted proof of insurance from all the vendors, as well as pouring permits that allow wine vendors to pour samples of their products at the market. They also agreed should the market need to move to accommodate a New York State Department of Environmental Conservation clean-up of oil underneath the property — which is still being explored by the state agency — it would do so.

“The market is operated on a not-for-profit basis, in other words it is operated ‘at cost’ so as not to generate profit from the vendor’s fee,” they add in the memo.

The winter market, the memo notes, is a separate entity from the summer farmers’ market and should have been renamed as such. Nieto and Tomasini, who run the winter market as well, said they would like to work with the board of trustees to ensure the winter market is in keeping with what is allowed in the Village of Sag Harbor.

In the meantime, the Sag Harbor Farmers’ Market will be open every Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. starting May 21.

In other news, a proposed law to legalize the right of residents to have chickens on their property will likely be introduced next month, according to Gilbride.

Last month, Sag Harbor resident Mare Dianora proposed a new law that would amend the village code to allow residents to keep chickens subject to a special permit. The number of chickens or bantams — a small variety of poultry — could not exceed three per 5,000 square-feet of lot area, with a maximum of 10 allowed on any property.

According to Gilbride, village attorney Fred W. Thiele, Jr. is looking at similar legislation from other municipalities and will likely have a draft of the village’s proposed chicken law ready for introduction at the board’s June 14 meeting.

“Without a lot of problems we could see this happen in July or August at the latest,” said Gilbride. “We are moving forward with this.”

Wine and Winter Veggies: Farmers Market Moves Indoors for the Holidays

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By Claire Walla

As summer dies down and the cold air sets in, life here on the East End tends to, well, settle down for a long winter’s nap. Farmers and crops included. By the time Thanksgiving rolls around, farm stands and farmers markets typically have closed-up shop for the season.

However, this year beginning Saturday, December 4, the Sag Harbor Farmer’s Market will be back in business for three more weekends, bringing local farmers and vendors in direct contact with the community each Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. through December 18.

Though during the warm summer months the market is held in the space outside the Sag Harbor Yacht Club on Bay Street, buyers and sellers this month can rest assured their fingertips will not go numb while handling home-grown goods; the winter market will be housed at 34 Bay Street — inside the new retail building directly across the street from its summer locale.

“We had the opportunity, so we did it,” said Ana Nieto, who, along with Ivo Tomasini, began managing the Sag Harbor Farmers Market this past year. “We were both kind of sad that it was going to end.”

So when the opportunity came to rent the space across the street, Nieto and Tomasini jumped at the chance.

So far, about eight of the market’s 17 summer vendors will take part, but Nieto said this is mostly because plans for the winter market got off the ground a bit late in the game.

“We want it to be a continuation of the summer market,” Nieto explained, but added there will be other vendors as well because not all who participate in the summer market were prepared to extend their season. “The farmers just weren’t thinking of winter, they typically plan [their harvests] for April through November.”

She added that Bette Lacina and Dale Haubrich, who run Bette and Dale’s farm stand on the Sag Harbor Turnpike, expressed interest in the winter market, but were unable to participate this year for that very reason.
“The main difference [between this market and the summer market] is that there will be much less fresh veggies,” Nieto said. “But there will be crafts for the holidays.”

Buyers can also expect to see goods from Mecox Bay Dairy, Grapes of Roth and Taste of the North Fork, plus other foods that aren’t necessarily seasonal, like baked goods, fudge, Italian pastries, fish and pickles. Nieto and Tomasini are hoping to get a Christmas tree vendor to the market as well.

Tomasini said that while most vendors and customers welcomed the idea for the winter market, some vendors cautioned him and Nieto about holding a market at this time of year when the population dwindles compared to the summer, and sales are usually down. However, Tomasini maintains that the winter market is merely an experiment this year. “We’re just throwing it out there … I don’t know if it’s going to work,” he said.

Depending on how much interest is generated over the next three weekends, Nieto and Tomasini will decide whether or not to tackle this project again next year. And if they do, their hope is that they will get in touch with farmers soon enough to be able to incorporate more fresh foods into the mix.

Though buyers shouldn’t expect to see everything offered during the summer — delicate crops like lettuce, for example, typically don’t last through winter’s first frost — Tomasini and Nieto hope to incorporate more hearty fresh seasonal foods into the market, like root vegetables, and freshly preserved foods, like sun dried tomatoes and pestos.

According to Ian Calder-Piedmont of Balsam Farms in Amagansett, there are several fruits and vegetables that can also be grown and stored throughout the winter months. He said Balsam Farms, for example, stores potatoes, sweet potatoes and butternut squash all winter long. He added that vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and more sturdy leafy greens like kale and collard greens can also be grown in colder climates.

“They can take the frost and keep on going,” he said.

And while not all foods can be stored for months on end, Calder-Piedmont noted that vegetables like carrots, beets, celery root, apples, onions and cabbage can be stored successfully through the colder seasons.

Balsam Farms typically doesn’t sell its crops via farmers markets, choosing instead to sell wholesale, as well as through its farm stand in East Hampton. Calder-Piedmont noted that the business does typically slow down this time of year. However, like Nieto and Tomasini, he believes people’s attitudes toward food are beginning to change.

“I’m optimistic that there can be winter markets in the future,” he said.
“The whole trend is really kicking into high gear,” said Tomasini of eating locally grown seasonal foods.

“[Supporting this effort] is something that we’ve been wanting for a while. We wish we had started thinking about [the winter market] a bit sooner,” Nieto added. “But again, we had the opportunity to do it, so we did.”

Michael Denslow

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The co-manager of The Community Farmers’ Market at the Hayground School in Bridgehampton and active member of Slow Food East End talks about working with local schools to create edible gardens, early summer vegetables and the importance of eating local food.

The Farmers Market at the Hayground School is the East End’s first farmers’ market that features collaboration between the community and a school, highlighting produce grown by the children at the Hayground School amongst its two dozen stalls of produce, baked goods, cheeses and fresh seafood. How was this relationship fostered?

We are Slow Food East End leaders, and Slow Food donated money towards the greenhouse at The Hayground School. One of our projects at Slow Food is to raise money to build greenhouses at schools. We elected them for the donation, and helped them construct it after they purchased the greenhouse. Once their plants were established and we just fostered the idea of the farmers’ market based on highlighting the children of The Hayground School and their efforts. They are the keystone of the market as you walk in. They sell produce, but also plants an herbs you can grow at home.

What is in the stalls right now from the Hayground School garden?

Right now, they have chives, nasturtium, a variety of herbs, spinach, lettuces, mesclun salad mix, which they put in biodegradable containers with the school logo on it. They also have a variety of tomatoes from cherries to the beefsteaks, although they are just plants right now, no tomatoes yet. Their strawberries should be up this week. You have seen a lot of early strawberries around, but theirs is just about ready. They also have chickens, which should produce eggs soon. As the season goes on they will have more and more stuff to offer.

Schools throughout the East End have followed Hayground’s suit, creating edible gardens as an educational tool, but also to promote wellness and nutrition. Why do you think this movement has grown in popularity in recent years?

I think people have become much more aware in recent years. Here you have the President’s wife, Michelle Obama, talking about how important this is. You can’t really do much better than that. People are recognizing how important it is to eat healthily. The word is out. You can’t deny its importance in the face of diabetes, childhood obesity. The school lunches have been deplorable, and instead, at Hayground, the kids are really seeing where their food is coming from. Often, kids don’t recognize that a French fry actually comes from a potato. You have to get them in touch with where their food comes from.

A leader of the Slow Food East End movement, and organizing the Hayground Farmers Market – obviously you have an interest in food and organics. Which one initially drew you to slow food?

It’s not so much the organics, although that is important. What we are really about is the local regionalism of our food shed. Here, we have such an abundance – you can find some of the top produce in the world. We are trying to keep heritage products and local growers and fishermen alive, and not succumb to the grocery store.

The Slow Food movement was founded in Italy, where regional foods are very important and they are even protected as P.O.D. — protected designation of origin — where they designate artisanal products as specially protected, such as a cheese or meat specific to the area. Carlo Petrini founded Slow Food in Italy with [chef] Alice Waters supporting Slow Food in the United States promoting the edible schoolyards and eating seasonally, locally. A natural extension of this was to get into the schools and teach the children, make them aware of the abundance of local food we have out here because it is really amazing.

It seems the Slow Food movement has become more popular in recent years. Why?

People recognized the way we have been living is not sustainable. People are aware if we shop and patronize our farm stands, we will keep them in business, otherwise they could become the next McMansion, although I hate to use such words. A prime example of this is the Pike Farm Stand [in Sagaponack]. Without that, that area would look like a suburban subdivision. Towns are even looking at this now. The Westhampton Beach Farmers’ Market was taken over the by chamber of commerce, and they must have 30 vendors. Southampton Village has jumped on board with their farmers’ market. Also, you are enabling the young couple with the small farm, like John and Karen who have a one or two acre farm Sunset Beach Farm in Sag Harbor, to have an outlet to sell their product and hopefully continue their business. We are proud that out market at The Hayground School is almost exclusively a farmers’ market of locals. Pretty much everyone lives within a 10 to 12 mile radius of the school.

What is in your fridge, right now?

Well, [Denslow and his wife, Emily Herrick, also a member of Slow Food East End and co-manager of the farmers’ market at Hayground] do make our own humus. We have mesclun salad mix. We must have four pounds of asparagus. Strawberries are in there right now. We try to make a lot of our own food. We make our own granola, sorbets, ice creams and roast our own coffee. We make almost everything we eat from scratch and as much as possible from local ingredients. We love it, and everything is so readily available here, sometimes it’s just a walk down the street. We are very enthusiastic about what the East End has to offer – our local fish is sensational, and we actually have two fishermen at the market. You can’t find more pristine scallops. And then we have Art Ludlow’s cheese [from Mecox Dairy]. It’s just very special.

What is in the future for Slow Food East End?

Slow Food will continue to raise money for greenhouses. We made a donation to The Seedlings Project at the Springs School and gave money to the Bridgehampton School so they have a greenhouse project going. We have expanded the leadership to include more people from the North Fork, so hopefully our next greenhouse project will be in Mattituck. The parents want it, the kids want it – they see what a benefit it is to the school and the community.

The Community Farmers’ Market at the Hayground School is open Fridays, May 28 through September 10 from 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Hayground School, 151 Mitchell Lane in Bridgehampton. For more information, call Michael Denslow at 987-3553 or visit haygroundfarmersmarket.com.

New Growth for Farmers Markets

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by Andrew Rudansky

The inability to get a parking spot on Main Street and Jerry Seinfeld are not the only things to return with the arrival of summer, this weekend saw the reopening of several farmers markets on the East End.

The farmers markets have in recent years gained much popularity, evident by yet another market opening up, allowing yet another opportunity for Hampton natives and seasonals alike to peruse through the various locally grown and cultivated foodstuffs.

The wind made even casual conversation difficult, but the weather did not keep people away from the Sag Harbor Farmers Market this Saturday morning. Throughout the day people stopped by and shopped around the fifteen-tent pavilion.

Michael Denslow, manager of the Sag Harbors Farmers’ Market, actively oversees the operation through a pair of dark sunglasses. Pointing to a nearby tent, Denslow said, “Everything you see on that table, that person grew.” Dressed the part of the suburban farmer, Denslow is confident that his first year as manager of the Sag Harbor Farmers Market will be a success. 

With shaky economic indicators and little hope for a quick end to the global recession, it is questionable if people will skip the grocery stores to purchase their food from the more expensive farmers markets. Denslow is unconcerned, saying that whatever increase in price, if there is any, is more than made up for by a number of attractive features found in a farmers market. Denslow said, “The most important thing is the preservation of local spaces; the farmers’ market helps facilitate that.” 

The vendors of the Sag Harbor Farmers Market stand by their wares, presenting products cultivated, harvested, and made in many cases by their own hands. Each vendor paid 20 dollars a week to set up shop at the Sag Harbor Farmers Market, a price that one vendor said, “Is not a big cost, but every cost is looked at.” 

Bette Lacina and her husband Dale Haubrich are two such vendors; by late morning they stand in their stand with what is left of their goods. They explain that they sold the bulk of their harvest fairly early in the day.            

Lacina and Haubrich own and operate a small organic farm in Sag Harbor on the Sag Harbor Turnpike; Lacina describes it as a real “Mom and pop business.” They have been involved with the Sag Harbor Farmers Market from its origins as an attraction at the 2003 Harborfest.

When asked about the economic difficulties facing small farmers, Haubrich says it is farmers markets like this one that help keep them in business.

“Direct sales are crucial to small organic farmers,” he said.

The pair maintain light smiles and sideways glances when Lacina said, “We have quite a following”

One point that Haubrich and Lacina make that is echoed by the other vendors at the Sag Harbor Farmers’ Market, is the need for a permanent location. The market, which currently sits near the Breakwater Yacht Club on Bay Street, has seen many changes in location. The organizers and vendors say that a permanent location along with permanent signage could really increase the profitability of the market.

Sag Harbor’s Farmer Market may be the first of its kind in the Hamptons but it is by no means the only one. 

The newest of these local markets to open on the East End is the Hayground Farmers Market located on Mitchells Lane in Bridgehampton. Jon Snow, the representative from the Hayground Farmers Market, describes how the Hayground School effectively uses the market to benefit the students. “There is an educational component here, we get the kids involved,” said Snow.

When asked about the expansion of available farmers markets out on the East End, Snow said, “One step at a time…we need to let it develop organically.” In relation to newly developed saving habits of East End residents Snow said, “It’s not about comparison shopping, it’s about community…a farmers market takes the anonymity out of shopping,”

Kate Plumb, organizer of the East Hampton farmers market for the past three years, is one of the first to agree. Plumb said she sees “exponential growth” in East End farmers markets. Citing the precedent of California with its hundreds of farmers’ markets, Plumb hopes to one day see a farmers’ market in every East End village.

Plumb said that the emphasis of the East Hampton Farmers Market is the importance of local business, “Farmers Markets allow small farmers to actually make a profit, we are struggling to help these small farmers…we should be tearing down the old malls.”

I got a chance to stop by one of these “old malls” to find out what people thought about the recent openings of these farmers markets. Outside of the King Kullen Super Market in Bridgehampton I asked one shopper about using a local farmers market as an alternative to one of the chains. “I didn’t know there was a farmers market around here,” the shopper said.


East End Digest, January 15

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Stony Brook Southampton

Bay Street Co-Founders Create New Programs at Stony Brook

Stony Brook Southampton’s MFA in Writing and Literature Program announced two new initiatives for 2009: a Playwriting Conference as part of the Southampton Writers Conference, and the Young American Writers Project, an interdisciplinary writing program for middle and high school students.
The Playwriting Conference will be directed by Stephen Hamilton and Emma Walton Hamilton, co-founders of the Bay Street Theatre. The conference will run concurrently with the Children’s Literature, Southampton Writers, and Screenwriting conferences, in three sessions from July 8 to August 2. Established and emerging playwrights will have the opportunity to develop their work in a collaborative setting with professional actors, directors and members of the Ensemble Studio Theatre. Three graduate credits are available to eligible students in each conference.
“When Stony Brook acquired the Southampton campus, we promised to build real strength in the arts,” Robert Reeves, director of the MFA in Writing and Literature program said. “We are proud to be able to carry out that mandate by broadening our programs. We are also thrilled that Emma and Steve accepted our invitation to become the newest members of the MFA program.”
For seventeen years, Stephen Hamilton served as the Theatre’s Executive Director and produced over 50 productions. Emma Walton Hamilton is a theater professional and arts educator, as well as a best-selling author and editor. Until 2008 she was Director of Education and Programming for Young Audiences, and spearheaded the Young Playwrights Program in area schools.
In addition to the new Playwriting Conference, Stony Brook Southampton’s will also establish the Young American Writers Project (YAWP). The inaugural YAWP program, focusing on playwriting, will be offered to middle schoolers in the spring of 2009. The YAWP curriculum calls for teaching artists to visit designated classrooms twice weekly during a two-month period, guiding students to create and develop their own plays. One play from each participating class will be produced at Stony Brook Southampton’s Avram Theater in April of 2009. Among participating schools in the inaugural YAWP program for 2009 are: Bridgehampton, Sag Harbor, Shelter Island, and Eastport South Manor.

Inaug. Invite

Several local students will attend the inauguration of Barack Obama on Tuesday, January 20 in Washington, D.C. Jocelin Kalish of Bridgehampton was invited to attend by the University Presidential Inaugural Conference. Kalish is an alumni of the National Youth Leadership Forum and was the valedictorian of Bridgehampton High School last year. Fellow Bridgehampton graduate, Eddie Gholson is working for Ultimate Staffing and will help chaperone a group of children around D.C. and accompany them to the inauguration ceremony for the company. Ross tenth grade students Spencer Kuzon and Devon Leaver will also be in attendance. Kuzon and Leaver will participate in the Presidential Youth Inaugural Conference from Saturday, January 17 to Wednesday, January 21. This five-day program provides students with a deeper understanding of the electoral process and its history, as well as the traditions surrounding the presidential inauguration.

Harbor Committee
“Mary E” Sails Elsewhere for Home

After months of dialogue between the owners of the “Mary E” schooner and the village Harbor Committee board, the board has finally decided to deny the owners request to permanently dock the schooner on Long Wharf. Although, the decision ultimately lies with the Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustees, the Harbor Committee agreed to draft a letter to the board recommending the denial of the owners request. During a committee meeting on Monday, January 12, Harbor Committee Chairman Bruce Tait cited the owners lack of a comprehensive plan for upland support for the “Mary E” as the primary reason for the refusal of their petition. The owners of the “Mary E” sought to run a charter sailing business from the boat. Tait said at a previous meeting that parking would need to be provided for charter clients.
Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustees member, Ed Deyermond swung by the meeting to treat the committee members to an update on the Keyspan/National Grid remediation project in the village. Deyermond said there wasn’t much to report as the project is on somewhat of a hiatus due to a delay in the shipment of equipment, specifically a tent.

East Hampton
Farmers Market

The Peconic Land Trust is requesting proposals for usage of the
farmland adjacent to the Amagansett Farmers Market located on Main
Street, Amagansett. The farmland consists of 5.7 acres of conserved
land that the Trust anticipates leasing in early 2009 with the idea
of integrating the produce into the Amagansett Farmer’s Market.
Interested parties are asked to submit a letter of interest to Pam
Greene, the Director of Stewardship, by February 1. A formal proposal
will be requested from those submissions. The formal proposal will
require a business plan and land use plan for the farm. For more
information call 283-3195.

SH Rotary Club
Inter. Grants

Kevin Luss, President of the Southampton Rotary Club has announced that Rotary International (RI) has approved a matching grant application, submitted by Southampton Rotary and the Rotary Club of Guntur (India). The approved matching grant, sponsored by the Southampton, Northport and Riverhead Rotary Clubs, will be used to finance the purchase of equipment that is critical in the medical mission being undertaken by International Surgical Mission Support, a group of local doctors who will be traveling to the NRI General Hospital, located in Andhra Pradesh, India.
During their short stay in India, the doctors will conduct several hundred medical screenings and life saving surgical procedures and will leave the newly purchased equipment with the local medical center.
Southampton Rotary will coordinate the project internationally, while the Rotary Club of Guntur will coordinate on a local level. The total grant budget for this project is equivalent to $62,000.

New Dem. Chair

The Southampton Town Democratic Committee has unanimously elected Gordon Herr to succeed retiring Chairman Mike Anthony.
Anthony assured the committee that he was not leaving and would still play a significant role in the Democratic Party. He added that working with Gordon Herr for the past few years gave him full confidence that his efforts would be built upon for even greater Southampton Town Democratic Party achievements in the future.

Suffolk County
New EPA Chair

Legislator Jay Schneiderman has been named chair of the County’s
Environment, Planning and Agriculture Committee (EPA) by presiding
Officer William Lindsay for the second year in a row. Schneiderman
has a background in science education and has been involved with
numerous environmental initiatives including land preservation and
water quality protection. Schneiderman currently has a bill pending
before the EPA committee that would establish a county-wide setback
from wetlands for fertilizer application. “Nitrogen and phosphorus
from fertilizers are contributing to nutrient overload in our bays
and harbors,” claims Schneiderman, “this is causing algal blooms that
are devastating shellfish populations and other marine life.”
Schneiderman believes the new law will be adopted earlier this year.

A Morning at the Sag Harbor Farmer’s Market

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