SARATOGA SPRINGS -- The Saratoga Farmers Market will be moving its weekly winter Saturday market to a new location this year, the Wilton Mall.
The market, which is one of the region's largest farmers markets, will open at the mall near Northway Exit 15 on Saturday, Nov. 2. Vendors will be in place from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., located in the mall interior near the entrance for the Department of Motor Vehicles and the former Bon-Ton store.
The market, which in the summer and fall is outdoors on Wednesdays and Saturdays in pavilions at High Rock Park near downtown Saratoga Springs, will be at the new location through April. In the winter, it has more than 50 vendors selling fresh produce, ready-to-eat foods and artisan products.
The market has had various winter homes since it was founded in 1978, most recently at the Lincoln Baths building in Saratoga Spa State Park. A separate market, the Spa City Farmers Market, is also held at Lincoln Baths on Sundays, summer and winter.
Saratoga Farmers Market organizers said the mall offers advantages to its customers, including ample parking and being on a bus line. "Finding an accessible, affordable, safe and secure winter market location has long been a goal of our board. Our hope is to provide increased exposure to the public while operating within the welcoming retail environment of Wilton Mall," said Beth Trattel, president of the Saratoga Farmers Market Association.
The mall, like shopping malls across the country, has seen large anchor stores like Bon-Ton and Sears close as brick-and-mortar retailing has declined. Mall management has been looking for innovative uses for empty spaces and new ways to bring people into the mall. Saratoga Hospital, for example, announced that week that it would be leasing the former Sears department store space for non-medical office space. Healthy Living Market, which has a strong emphasis on local food, is already located at the mall.
"By providing fresh and local products at the Wilton Mall, we hope to help revitalize a community space that has been undergoing rapid change in the past few years," said Emily Meagher, the association's marketing manager.
Participating farmers come from Saratoga, Schenectady, Rensselaer, Washington and Warren counties, the association said.