June 17, 2008
Contact: Katherine Lang, North Country Regional Foods Initiative, 315-379-9192 x261
Laurie Davis, Adirondack Harvest, 518-962-4810
Full markets list also available as doc � request from karalynn@gisco.net

40 Farmers� Markets Offer Fresh Food, Nutrition & Fun across Northern NY








Photo Credit: Adirondack Harvest

The popularity of fresh, local food is growing � due in part to 40-some farmers� markets across Northern New York. Katherine Lang of the North Country Regional Foods Initiative says the farmers� markets themselves are an increasingly important part of the local and regional economies in Northern New York.

Lang says, "More and more community leaders are embracing opportunities to support these types of food-related economic development measures. The farmers� markets held downtown, along picturesque riverbanks and in parking lots offer local residents, senior citizens, families, vacationers and restaurant institutional buyers fresh food, a social meeting place and a strong link to regional agricultural heritage."

The North Country Regional Foods Initiative is a joint project of representatives of each of the six NNY counties (Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence), the Community and Rural Development Institute at Cornell University and Cornell Cooperative Extension to increase and strengthen local food initiatives regionwide.

Laurie Davis coordinates Adirondack Harvest, a multi-county community organization promoting sustainable farms, expanding markets for local food producers and preserving farms for agricultural and open space scenic vistas.

Davis says, "At Adirondack Harvest we are striving to connect local farmers with local consumers. The farmers� markets in Northern New York are a great way for both new and established farmers to get full retail dollar for their products. On the consumer side, the markets are great community builders and social centers - a chance to chat with neighbors, meet new people and stock your pantry with fresh, healthy produce all at once. Chefs visit the markets to add local flavor to the evening's menu. The area's farmers� markets are a vital component of the vision to keep agriculture thriving in the Adirondack region."

Beans & Cucumbers Already Available at Lowville Farmers Market
At the long-standing Lowville Farmers� Market at the Lewis County Fairgrounds, one grower already has beans and cucumbers for sale. Tomatoes started early in a greenhouse will be available soon there.

About half of the 25 vendors at the Lowville Farmers� Market sell fresh fruits and vegetables, jams and jellies, maple, baked goods, beef and pork. Manager Dolores DeSalvo describes the vendors who have attended the market for many of its years since it started in 1988 as people �deeply rooted in the agricultural heritage of Lewis County.�

DeSalvo says, �The Lowville Farmers� Market is perhaps the most reasonably priced market in the region. Our growers price their products to be affordable for our buyers.�

The Lowville Farmers� Market also includes crafters and entertainment. The first Saturday of the month is Customer Appreciation Day with free beverages and door prizes donated by the vendors. The market accepts WIC Farmers� Market Nutrition Program food coupons and will run through October 25 on Saturdays from 8:30 am to 2 pm through September, 9:30 am to 1 pm in October.

Brasher Falls Farmers� Market: No Fee to Farmers
To encourage farmers to participate in the 2-year-old Brasher Falls-Tri-Town Farmers� Market, the Brasher Falls Chamber of Commerce requires no set-up fee and advertises the market. Market organizer Michelle First says, �The Town donates space for the market, so we are able to invite vendors to participate for free to boost grower interest in bringing their products to open-air, on-the-lawn marketplace alongside the St. Regis River.�

First says Amish vendors drive two hours by horse and buggy to reach the market. Customers are local residents, retirees and area campground visitors. She says the next nearest markets for fresh, local produce are about a 20 to 30-minute drive in Massena or Potsdam.

�With the increase in gas and food prices, the local people are really looking forward to our July 5th opening day,� First say, �and one of the neat things will be more local hobby gardeners donating extra produce to local scouts and service groups to sell here as a fundraiser. This is one of the neat developments that is a results of the connections made at last year�s market.�

The Brasher Falls Farmers� Market starts July 5 and runs Saturdays 9am to 2 pm through September 27. This market includes a Lions Club lunchstand, a chair massage service, and crafters.

Paul Smith�s College Farmers Market Turning Two
The Paul Smith�s College Farmers� Market turns two-years-old in 2008. Organizer Ellen Beberman says, �The college started the market to offer fresh, locally produced goods and to support local farmers. The array of products includes beef, pork, chicken, lamb, baked goods, herbs, honey, eggs, produce and crafts sold by more than a dozen vendors.�

This year the Paul Smith�s College Farmers� Market will be accepting NY Fresh Checks - $5 coupons issued by markets participating in the NYS Farmers� Market Wireless EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfer) Program using a central terminal. The markets issue a NY Fresh Check to every customer who purchases a minimum of $5 in EBT tokens each market day. The customer is allowed one NY Fresh Check per market day and is encouraged to return week after week to earn additional NY Fresh Checks.

The college market will run on Fridays from June 20 through September 26 from 2-5 pm at the corner of Routes 86 and 30.

Come by Car or Boat to Chateaugay Lakes Farmers� Market
�The Chateaugay Lakes Farmers� Market is one of the only farmers markets where customers arrive by boat in their bathing suits,� says Manager Jo Ellen Saumier.

Saumier says market started on Tuesdays in 1998 and gradually shifted to a Saturday 10 am to 2 pm schedule to accommodate the summer cottagers.

�That is the power of the visitor here. We have vacationers from all over the U.S. and Canada and some European countries. Their tastes and food experiences make them open to trying new products grown here in Northern New York and it is fun for the growers to try growing something new for them. To encourage our customers to try new foods we offer tastings and recipes,� Saumier says.

The 11-year-old farmers� market expands to two tents with 10 regular vendors expected each week (up from six in 2007). New at the Chateaugay Lakes market this year will be a beef vendor, an artisan baker and a coffee seller. The market begins Saturday, June 21st on the lawn at the Hollywood Inn Restaurant on Chateaugay Lake and runs for the 11-week summer vacation season.

Markets Meet Needs in Watertown Area
Delta Keeney manages a Mobile Farmers� Market that travels to five housing complexes in the Watertown area, starting in early August with the flush of the agricultural bounty of the fall season.

�With this mobile market, we are reaching out to people who cannot get to the other markets on their own. We make it easy for them to purchase fresh local foods by going to them,� Keeney says.

The Farmers� Market Nutrition Program provides seniors with $20 worth of $2 coupons that are distributed by the Office of the Aging at the start of the season. The coupons can be redeemed over the course of the season that will run through October 8-9 for the mobile market. Participating growers must personally produce 51 percent of the products they sell. About ten producers participate in the mobile market with half a dozen at each site on average.

On Wednesdays, the market stops from 10:30 to 11:30am at Midtown Towers, from 11:45am to 12:30pm at Skyline Apartments, from 12:45 to 1:30pm at East Hills. On Thursdays, the farmers visit from noon to 1pm at Curtis Apartments and arrive at LeRay Street Apartments at 1:15pm. The vendors also participate in the Monday Neighborhood Farmers� Market at the Cornell Cooperative Extension building at 203 North Hamilton Street from 3-6 pm.

Other farmers� markets in the Watertown area include the Wednesday 6:30am-3pm Farmers and Craft Market at the Dulles State Office Building, the Friday 3:30-7pm Jefferson Bulk Milk Farmers� Market on Route 3 west of the city, and the Saturday 9am-2pm market at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds.

All of the Watertown area markets accept the Electronic Benefits Transfer cards and the Farmers Market Nutrition Program coupons.

Producer-Only Markets Going Strong in the Adirondack Region
The term producer-only refers to several of the farmers� markets in Northern New York. Sam Hendren organizes producer-only farmers� markets in Lake Placid on Wednesdays (9am-1pm) and Schroon Lake on Mondays (9am-1pm) and attends the producer-only Plattsburgh Farmers Green Market on Thursdays (3-6pm).

�Producer-only means that the vendors at the market have grown or made one hundred percent of the products they sell at that market,� Hendren explains. �I believe this adds a special vitality and integrity to those farmers� markets. You do not have to worry about buying produce from outside the region and the opportunity often exists to visit the local producers� farms.�

Hendren says the staggered harvest of locally grown foods provides an educational opportunity for farmers to talk with buyers about which crops are available early in the season, mid-season and later.

Hendren says the farmers� markets are vital to producer livelihoods.

�The farmers� markets provide a majority of income for most growers. They account for ninety percent of one cheesemaker�s income. At least seven growers are supported by the sales they make at the Lake Placid Farmers� Market in a town of 5,000. The Schroon Lake Farmers� Market has about twelve vendors, one or two each with all varieties of produce, meats, cheese, maple syrup, and breads. Retailing their products directly to buyers helps the producers keep a higher percent of their selling price,� Hendren says.

For More Info and Map

Download A Printable Directory of Farmers Markets

The Adirondack Harvest website at www.adirondackharvest.com  provides a full list of the farmers� markets in Clinton, Essex, Franklin, Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties. The site offers a free map of farm stands and markets. For more information on the North Country Regional Foods Initiative, go to the Northern New York Agricultural Development Program website at www.nnyagdev.org.  # # #