The Gardiner Green Market will set up its tents every Friday through October 24 at the entrance to the rail-trail on Route 44/55. There’s plenty of parking nearby. Though the hours are still officially 4 to 7 p.m., most vendors will be set up by 3 p.m., says Korey Findley, the force behind the return of a farmers’ market to Gardiner.
He is an energetic force. “I’m taking on any farmers’ market that’s in trouble,” Findley declares. Earlier this year, he brought back the market in Walden. When he heard that Gardiner had closed its market in July, he sprung into action. Before the week was up, he had contacted the former market manager and arranged to take over.
“I move quick,” he says. “I don’t like the idea of a market being shut down. We met on a Monday and I opened the market that Friday with five or six vendors. The following week we had 15 vendors, and my goal is to build this up for next season.” He plans to operate the market in Gardiner from 3 to 7 p.m. next year, and a winter market on third Fridays from November to April is in the works; a location is yet to be determined.
Part of Findley’s strategy has been to eliminate market fees to encourage vendor participation. “If a vendor comes to a market that’s been shut down and has historically been slow, it’s not that appealing to also have to pay to be in it,” he says. “Most of the market fees go toward paying the market manager in most places, and I don’t need that. I want this market to be successful. We’ve aligned a team of vendors that are committed for the rest of the season.”
Along with the vendors, the Curbside Cuisine food truck from New Paltz has committed to being at the Gardiner Green Market for the rest of the season (with the exception of Friday, October 3).
The lineup of vendors will change from week to week. A familiar face from the former Gardiner Farmers’ Market, Insook Cheon, will offer an assortment of fruits and veggies that may include Asian pears, grapes, arugula, summer and winter squash, lettuce, tatsoi and leeks.
Findley himself is partnering with Three Sisters Biodynamic Farm to offer fresh produce. “Better than organic,” he says, “held to a higher standard.” Among the non-agricultural interests represented are crochet and knitwear by Munchin’ Goat Design, pottery by Jaimie DeForest, jewelry by Lucy Santana, and the Gardiner-based Balance Rolfing & Massage studio.
Additional vendors to look for are Dancing Crow (organic baked goods, gluten-free), Penning’s Farm Market (fruit and produce), Right from the Hive (honey products), Immune Schein (organic elixirs made from ginger, wildflower honey and other natural substances), Herman’s Old Erie (local breads and cheeses), Autumn Whimsey (jams), Gary’s Pickles (including a hot and spicy), Adair Vineyards (locally produced wine) and Bronx Pop Soda Company (New York-made sugar-cane soda). The Rosendale Cafe is in the process of getting its house Japanese-style salad dressing into production, says Findley, and will join the mix when that happens.
Future market projects for Findley include managing and operating a mobile farmers’ market next year through Dutchess Outreach, with the goal of bringing healthy food to the lower-income areas. Findley met recently with the mayor of Poughkeepsie, who approved him starting a market on the waterfront in Waryas Park next year.
“I’ve been involved with farming almost my whole life,” he says, “from running a farmstand outside Walden for my friend’s grandparent’s farm when I was twelve years old to working in the Union Square Farmers’ Market in my later teens and early 20s for Sycamore Farms of Middletown. I also worked the fields and helped run and manage a 250-person CSA for Sycamore. My whole family is from Lancaster County, and our ancestors were all farmers.”
That’s quite a resume.
Findley’s dedication to his cause includes putting together various farm-related activities free of charge to promote local agriculture. “I’ve hosted farm tours where we go from farm to farm, with tastings at each location. People get to see the farming methods, the animals, the fields, and meet the farmers and have some discussion. Because the events are free, people go and spend money at the farms.”
He’s also hosted several “non-GMO local food” brunches on farms at which he pays for the food and arranges for the guests. People do donate to offset the costs, he says, but for him, “It’s literally to help the farmers and for me to participate in something awesome.”