Schenectady Greenmarket is right back where it started five years ago.
The one-stop shop for groceries, take-away meals and artisan items returned to Proctors on Sunday morning, where it will stay until April. The market that sometimes features upward of 70 vendors moved from its spring and summer spot outside City Hall back indoors, just in time for the temperature to plunge into the low 40s.
The annual move didn’t do much to diminish interest in the market. Hundreds of shoppers coursed through the bi-level site, which features everything from wine to soap to yarn — all produced locally.
“The amazing thing is there is so much you can still buy in the middle of winter,” said Betsy Henry, chairwoman of the market’s board of directors and a founding member.
Now celebrating its fifth anniversary, Schenectady Greenmarket started its first year of existence indoors at Proctors. Henry said there were some initial concerns about starting out at a time when the weather turned cold — a time some consumers don’t associate with farmers markets
“It was a bit of a gamble,” she recalled.
But those worries quickly were allayed.
The new market generated a buzz in the city and started generating foot traffic that was noticed even at surrounding businesses.
And the market’s first Sunday indoors this season was no different. With only an hour left until close, the theater was still bustling with activity.
“It’s been great,” Henry said. “It’s been quite busy.”
The positive allure of winter markets like the one in Schenectady have the farmers seeking ways they can extend their offerings. Some, like Quincy’s Farm in the Washington County town of Easton, are investing in temporary enclosures and storage areas that allow them to extend the growing season well through the fall.
“A lot of us have done what we can to have a diverse array of vegetables for winter market,” said Cara Quincy, one of the farm’s operators.
Quincy said the laid-back pace of the winter markets also allows vendors to grow their client base. She said the indoor market gives her more time to converse with customers, which in turn helps her build clientele.
“The atmosphere here lends itself to a certain sense of community,” she said.