Schenectady County

Year-round farmers market being discussed for Proctors

In addition to matinee tickets, a city committee hopes that this November people will be able to buy
PHOTOGRAPHER:

In addition to matinee tickets, a city committee hopes that this November people will be able to buy locally grown produce, beef, poultry and dairy products at Proctors.

The Schenectady Green Markets Development Committee wants to start a year-round farmers market at the theater. Organizing Chairman Richard Shave said Schenectady officials looked to the success of the Troy Farmers Market for an example.

“My friends got a little jealous of it because it runs year round and it’s something you want to go to once a week because it’s so fun,” he said.

The committee is still working out the details but the plan calls for the market to be set up on Sundays at Robb Alley — the space next to the box office at Proctors. Hours would be something like 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

In the spring, Shave said, the goal would be to move the market to outdoor venues such as Stratton Plaza behind Proctors or Jay Street.

Shave said the time is ripe for a year-round farmers market. People are concerned about oil supply and want to build sustainable local economies by buying local products. The committee is targeting Nov. 2 for an opening. However, first they have to solicit enough farmers. It is sort of a chicken or the egg problem, Shave said.

“They’re not going to sign up to come up to a market if there’s not a crowd and the crowd is not going to come unless there’s a market there.”

Shave said it is unknown how much the Troy farmers market generates, but he said it is substantial for both the farmers and the local businesses who reap the spin-off effects. The Troy market is located at Hedley Park Place on River Street and runs from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays, offering more than 50 food growers, bakers, chefs and artisans, according to its Web site.

IN DISCUSSION

Proctors Chief Executive Officer Philip Morris said he was talking to Shave about the success of the Troy market and said he would like to do something locally. He is familiar with Shave through some volunteer work he did on musical projects.

“From Proctors point of view, the more people to come to downtown, the better,” he said. He said it fits in with the theater’s efforts to be as green as possible.

Morris said the theater shows movies on Sunday, so there would be some overlap between that and the market, but he thinks they can make it work.

City Councilwoman Barbara Blanchard said the current seasonal markets like the one on Thursdays in front of City Hall are well attended, but close in cold weather, so this is the next logical step. The Thursday market would still continue under this plan.

Blanchard said she hopes that they would have about 30 farmers in the program. Committee members must visit farms before approving their participation in the market.

She said the city selected Sunday because it did not want to compete directly with the Troy market and thought some of those vendors might be interested in Schenectady.

Farmers interested in participating in this market can contact Shave at 542-5666.

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