Farmers Markets Get Off To A Slow Start

Pictured Above: The Good Ground Farmers Market has moved to the Hampton Bays Plaza at 970 West Montauk Highway on Thursdays this season. (Photo courtesy Good Ground Farmers Market)

Farmers Markets throughout the East End are getting off to a late start this season due to ongoing uncertainty about the severity of the coronavirus pandemic, and associated difficulties securing locations.

As sources of food, farmers markets are deemed essential businesses according to New York State guidelines, but the markets, like other businesses, are working out details of how to keep crowds to a minimum and protect both customers and vendors from the disease.

Most markets are not permitting customers to touch food before they purchase it, have limited the number of people in the market at a time and are not encouraging shoppers to stay and socialize by hosting musical performances as many had in years past.

The Westhampton Beach Farmers Market opened June 13 on the Great Lawn in Westhampton Beach, and will operate on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. through Nov. 15.

The East Hampton Farmers Market, long held in the parking lot of Nick & Toni’s restaurant on North Main Street, has moved to the East Hampton Calvary Baptist Church at 60 Spinner Lane, and will be held on Fridays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The Sag Harbor Farmers Market was one of the first to open this season on May 23, and is held at the corner of Bay & Burke Streets on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. through the end of October.

At the Flanders Farm Fresh Food Market
At the Flanders Farm Fresh Food Market, which opens July 18.

The Flanders Farm Fresh Food Market, a unique farmers market model, has a wide variet of fresh produce from local farms, but instead of farmers in attendance, it is staffed by teenagers from the Flanders Community Center. 

The Flanders market will open for the season on July 18 at the community center at 655 Flanders Road on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and will continue through Oct. 17.

The Flanders market accepts WIC and Senior FMNP food assistance programs, as well as EBT/SNAP benefits.

The Good Ground Farmers Market in Hampton Bays, held on Thursdays from 3 to 7 p.m. has been moved to the the Hampton Bays Plaza parking lot at 190 West Montauk Highway. It opens July 9 and will run through Oct. 22.

The market had previously been on land owned by the Hampton Bays Fire District across from the Montauk Highway firehouse. Check in at eciny.org for current details.

The Greenport Farmers Market will not be opening this year. 

“Over the last several years, our much loved community has been under going a change. A number of new farms and farm stands have opened in the area, which is awesome,” said the organizers in a May 7 message to supporters. “Because of heavy traffic, many of our local customers are shopping their favorite local farmstand on lighter traffic days instead of visiting the GFM. We found this to be true without regard to our location.As a result, sales were lackluster for all of our vendors. Vendors could not afford to keep coming and pay employees to run their booth. Fewer vendors mean fewer people visiting the market.

We realize that this decision will be disheartening for many people, as so many people put their heart, soul, time, energy and money into the market.”

The Springs Farmers Market opened May 30 at Ashawagh Hall on Springs-Fireplace Road, and will run on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. through October.

The Montauk Farmers Market opened on the Montauk Green on June 11, and is open 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursdays through Sept. 10, 2020 and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 18 through Oct. 2, 2020. No dogs or bicycles are allowed.

Beth Young

Beth Young has been covering the East End since the 1990s. In her spare time, she runs around the block, tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

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