The New Paltz Open Air Market will return to Church Street this Sunday, June 3 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. And while it seems like it’s been around for longer, this is actually just the second year for the market, a re-working of the various farmer’s markets that have taken place in New Paltz at different locations over the years.
The market will open every Sunday through October 28. Live music from noon to 2 p.m. will again be a part of the mix, with New Paltz singer-songwriter Ami Madeleine performing on opening day.
The section of Church Street that forms a triangle with Main and North Front streets closes to traffic for the event. There is room for 18 vendors, who set up under tents in front of the brick-and-mortar businesses on the narrow street. Vendors are not allowed to sell anything that will compete with the permanent shops, says market manager Ariana Basco, because part of the point of the market is to support local business.
The brick-and-mortar business owners do have the option of setting up a tent themselves outside their shops. Most of them did not do that last year when the market began, Basco says, but many did by the time the market ended last fall. It’s not clear whether last year’s market improved sales overall for the brick-and-mortars, she noted, “but it did increase foot traffic in the area.”
An additional two spaces on the street are reserved for community groups or nonprofits. “We do that so they get to participate in the market, as well,” says Basco, “and it supports grassroots activism in the community.” This year the De Facto Community Center Project will be on hand to tell people about their goals, which include establishing a multi-purpose community cultural center. They produce a ‘zine, a podcast and upcycled handmade items to raise money for that project and offer a weekly free food event on Main Street: “Food Not Bombs.”
The market will also host Ram’s Valley Locally Farmed Products from the Hudson Valley, which offers a variety of products from local farmers and hires employees with intellectual or developmental disabilities.
Visitors to the New Paltz Open Air Market can expect to find a diverse selection of local farm-fresh fruits and veggies along with specialty cheeses, olive oils, hot sauces, vegan nut snacks, raw honey and products from the hive, farm-raised natural meats and eggs, herbal body care products, maple syrup and, new this year, smoked fish from Kingston’s Hookline Fish Company, a small-batch smokehouse that produces their product using responsibly sourced, never-frozen fish.
“People can do a lot of their basic grocery shopping at the market,” says Basco.
Participating farms include Acorn Hill Farm of Pine Bush, a small goat farm where they produce fresh and aged goat milk cheeses using vegetarian rennet and organic ingredients. Neversink Farm is a 1.5-acre “no-till, no-tractor” farm known for its certified organic vegetables and herbs. The five-generation Wright’s Farm will be on hand with fruits and heirloom tomatoes, and the four-acre Hollengold Farm will bring fruits, veggies and honey from their Accord farm in its last growing season before they move to new ground in Alligerville, New York.
Gardiner Brewing Company will offer beer made with homegrown hops from their farm and Lagusta Yearwood will again sell Hawaiian-style shaved ice made with local and organic ingredients, setting up shop in front of her eatery, The Commissary. The Tipsy Turtle will do their all-natural body art on market visitors and Frazy Design will return with their altered-photo art.
In addition to market manager Ariana Basco, the New Paltz Open Air Market is supervised by a board of three, all of whom have managed or currently manage a farmer’s market. Katy Kondrat is manager of the Kingston Farmer’s Market, and Billie Golan and Kaitlin Van Pelt are past and current managers of the campus farmer’s market.
The live music at each event will be performed at low volume, usually by one or two performers, at most. “The music is not meant to be a concert,” Basco says. “It’s meant to be an ambient draw to the market, not something where we need to shout over it. The music is meant to add to the atmosphere, not to be the atmosphere.”
The Open Air Market is “a fun Sunday activity for families to come to and people who are walking around town,” she adds. “We’re hoping to add a seating area this year so people can relax and enjoy it, and have the market be more of a destination than just running in and out for shopping.”
The event is held rain or shine, up to a point; if the weather is very threatening or high winds create a hazard to the tents, the market will cancel. That happened just two times last year, once because the November weather forecast was for snow. This year the market will end in October for that reason. Updates on possible weather cancellations are best found on Facebook.
For more information, visit http://www.newpaltzfarmersmarket.com/index.html.