Pictured Above Mitchell Park in Greenport will be home to the Greenport Farmers Market on Friday afternoons this season.

The Greenport Farmers Market will held this year for the first time in the village’s Mitchell Park at 115 Front Street on Friday afternoons.

The market, which will include about 20 vendors providing a wide variety of local products ranging from fruits and vegetables to wines, spirits and cider, fish, meat, cheese, baked goods and other local products, will open for the season on May 17 and is expected to be held every Friday, from 3 to 6:30 p.m., through Oct. 11.

The Greenport Village Board approved the market’s public assembly permit at its April 25 meeting, after working through a range of concerns including keeping the village’s open container law enforced during the market, and sharing the park with marina users and the Greenport Community Band, which plays in the park on Fridays at 7:30 p.m.

Village resident Paul Livesey, who comes from a finance and management background, has been driving the effort, in collaboration with Peter Treiber Jr., of Treiber Farms in Peconic.

“There are no farmers markets on the North Fork, from here to Riverhead, and yet we have all these farms here and these guys go as far as Montauk to go to farmers markets. It’s good for them to be here,” said Mr. Livesey this week. “There’ve been numerous farmers markets in the (Greenport) village, but it’s moved locations and none of them have been in a central, heart of the village location. The park is beautiful. It’s such a nice spot, and it will bring people out to socialize as well.”

Mr. Treiber has participated in former iterations of farmers markets in Greenport, in the parking lot of the IGA, at the Moore’s Lane polo grounds and a winter market at the Ice House on First Street.

“I never really thought it was much of a well-established market. I don’t think it was given its space and its due,” said Mr. Treiber, who participated in the Sag Harbor farmers market last year.

“I had a really good time and enjoyed it, but I realized most of my customers in Sag Harbor are not coming to my farm stand on the North Fork. I was not connecting with people who actually live in my community,” he said.

When discussing why the North Fork doesn’t have a farmers market with North Fork residents since, he’s often heard that farm stands make up for that loss, but individual farm stands don’t provide the central community location that he’s seen prove a boon to farmers in other places.

“Whenever I’m not home, I’m looking for a farmers market. It’s so nice to have a central location where people can be together, talk with local producers and fill their basket with local goodies,” he said. “Not everyone has the ability to drive to five different places every week to get their meats, cheeses, fruits and local mushrooms.”

Mr. Livesey said vendors on board so far include Treiber Farms, Clarks Island Seafood, TVA Microgreens, Davy Jones Shellfish, Mecox Bay Dairy, Mattituck Mushrooms, 1610 Sourdough, Matchbook Distilling Co., Backyard Blooms, the North Fork Flower Farm, Bayberry Bakery, Honey Buddy Baker, the Calamity Janes, Greenport Jerky and Goodness Dairy. Several other wineries and farms are expected to have booths as well.

The Village of Greenport “shall have full governance and coordination o ver the operation, and may require changes to the operation if conditions warrant for the protection of the Village, its residents or conditions within and/or around Mitchell Park,” according to the approval notice issued by the Village Board.

Some board members had reservations about the project when they discussed it with Mr. Livesey at their April 18 meeting. Trustee Julia Robbins said she thinks the timing, on Friday afternoon, is “terrible,” and that it seemed like the needs of the community band had been put aside.

Deputy Mayor Mary Bess Phillips said she was concerned about boats coming in on Friday afternoons at the same time as the market.

Trustee Lily Dougherty-Johnson said she didn’t think that was a negative thing.

“I don’t think this year is going to be thronged like Union Square or Prospect Park,” she said. “I don’t think having marina guests walking through a farmers market is a big ask. A farmers market is something people have been asking for.”

“I come to these meetings because I love this community and I want to do this in a collaborative way,” Mr. Livesey told the board.

As the board granted its approval on April 25, Ms. Phillips said her family, which runs Alice’s Fish Market, has participated in farmers markets in the past, and she understands many of the logistical issues facing them.

“I’m familiar with the process. I’m going in with an open mind because I really do believe Mitchell Park should be left as an open area. I will keep an open mind and see how this works,” she said.

Mr. Livesey said later that the market, which just became a registered non-profit organization, is being held on Fridays in part because many farmers have already committed to sending staff to markets held on the weekend, but he’s hoping the foot traffic from people arriving for the weekend will help sustain the market through its inaugural season.

Some South Fork towns have held Friday afternoon farmers markets, and Mr. Treiber, who has been looking to Kate Plumb of East End Farmers Markets for help setting up this market. He added that nearly every town on the South Fork has a farmers market.

CAST will also have a booth at the market explaining their work helping provide a safety net for the North Fork community, and the Friends of Mitchell Park has provided the market with a budget for activities ranging from music to yoga and arts classes, said Mr. Livesey.

He said he hopes people who visit the market will also consider staying to hear the venerable Greenport Band, which has been performing in the village since 1851.

“Hopefully people will come to the market and stay and listen to the band,” he said. “That would be beneficial for them as well.”

“It’s a beautifully designed park — it’s on the water, with a beautiful view, and so centrally located,” said Mr. Treiber. “Just being able to walk around, on your way to Little Creek or Brix & Rye or the Whiskey Wind, and then head home with your wares and go cook dinner, is a great thing.”

Stay tuned to the Greenport Farmers Market’s Instagram page for updates on weekly happenings at the market.

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Beth Young
Beth Young is an award-winning local journalist who has been covering the East End since the 1990s. She began her career at the Sag Harbor Express and, after receiving her Masters from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, has reported for the Southampton Press, the East Hampton Press and the Times/Review Media Group. She founded the East End Beacon website in 2013, and a print edition in 2017. Beth was born and raised on the North Fork. In her spare time, she 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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