Carol Packard, of Duanesburg, pushed through the crowd Sunday at Proctors’ Robb Alley with three bags full of food, including a processed, ready-to-cook guinea fowl, which she said she has never tried.
Packard was one of hundreds of people who jammed into Robb Alley Sunday purchasing local produce, meats, baked goods and wine during opening day of the year-round farmer’s market, sponsored by local nonprofit Schenectady Greenmarket.
Both floors of Robb Alley were lined with merchants selling everything from heads of lettuce, meats and potatoes to organic peanut butter, jams, breads and jewelry.
While there are several farmer’s markets throughout Schenectady County during the summer, Schenectady Greenmarket, a non-profit organization, wanted to give residents the opportunity to buy local products year-round.
Schenectady Greenmarket vice-president Barbara Blanchard said the 17-member organization has been meeting weekly since February to put the event together and has over 20 local merchants and farmers registered to sell their goods each week.
Packard said she decided to attend the farmers market, not only for the food, but because it was at Proctors.
“Proctors has become more than the heart of Schenectady and I support it completely,” she said. “This is good for the local community. The food is just a piece of it.”
Packard’s guinea fowl came from Phil Metzger, owner of Cooper’s Ark Farm in Schoharie.
Metzger, who was also selling ducks and fresh eggs in recycled cartons, said he has been selling his products throughout the region to health food stores and restaurants that sell local food such as Church and Main in Canajoharie.
Metzger said opening day of the farmers market was “overwhelming,” but he expected it.
Tom Maynard, owner of Maynard Farms in Ulster Park, hadn’t expected the large turnout Sunday. He said he was nervous about driving an hour and a half for a new market.
“I was scared to death,” he said, as customers lined up to purchase his produce. “New markets are very hard.”
Maynard said he has been participating in farmers markets since 1990, but this was the “best first day reception” he’s seen.
Frank Johnson of Sweet Tree Farm in Carlisle, who was selling grass fed beef, pasteurized pork and poultry, also wasn’t expecting the crowd.
“If it keeps up like this I’m going to have to bring more stuff,” he said.
Johnson wasn’t the only merchant selling out Sunday.
Cindy Barber, of Barber’s Farm in Middleburgh, had run out of heads of lettuce and had to send out for more.
Barber said she had never sold her produce at a winter market before. She typically sells from her farm and has recently set up a truck stand in Guilderland and Delmar. Barber said she’ll be able to sell her produce through Thanksgiving, including root vegetables like squash and potatoes and cold crops like broccoli and cauliflower.
Besides the shopping Sunday people were seen chatting with the neighbors and friends, and listening to live music with their children.
“This is a community gathering, you meet your friends here,” Blanchard said as she waved to Gerald Plante, a friend.
Plante, a Stockade resident, said he was told that opening day of the farmer’s market would be an exciting event, so he came down to check it out.
“I’m going to come over here every Sunday,” he said.
Schenectady’s Greenmarket is scheduled for every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Proctors’ Robb Alley.
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Categories: Schenectady County