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New Rochelle Mulls Moving Farmers Market Day

Councilman Ivar Hyden would like to see the farmers market on Saturday in the downtown area.

There could be a different day—more even days—where fresh and prepared foods can be purchased in New Rochelle in a farmers market-type setting.

Councilman Ivar Hyden, D-District 4, said at a recent City Council meeting he has been working on the idea of a Saturday market in downtown New Rochelle.

"Having a market on a Friday greatly reduces the number of people who can take advantage of it," he said. "The better idea is to have a market on Saturday when more people would be able to attend."

The current farmers market, which is closed for the season, is run by Down to Earth—formerly known as Community Markets—and had set up vendors on Fridays on Library Green.

Hyden said he has been speaking with downtown businesses, as well as Ralph DiBart who heads the New Rochelle Downtown Business Improvement District and Barbara Davis, the community relations coordinator for the New Rochelle Public Library, and there is interest in the idea.

"We would like to increase the size of the market," Hyden said, and add prepared foods and ethnic foods, for example.

The Friday market in New Rochelle had five vendor for the 2012 season. The Larchmont farmers market, which is operated by Down to Earth, is on Saturday and has 20 vendors, according to Miriam Haas, founder of the organization.

Another possible component of his plan, Hyden said, was a smaller market on Wednesdays at the train station.

He said that one could feature prepared foods that commuters could buy after they get off the train and before they go home.

Hyden said he was also concerned that having back to back farmers markets would deplete the number of customers overall unless they offered different things.

Councilwoman Shari Rackman, D-District 1, said many of her constituents would not want to see the Friday farmers market shut down. She wondered if it were possible to open a location in the north end of the city.

Haas said her organization had been interested in having something at Ward Acres.

"One of the things we consider is visibility," she said, which was not readily available at that location.

Two of the three farmers who sell in New Rochelle now would not be able to switch to Saturdays because of other obligations, Haas said.

She said the market on Friday has grown. 

"This year we had 200 people more than last year," Haas said.

She was worried that relocating the market would mean the current client base would not make the trip.

"The market downtown in New Rochelle has a large following," she said. "People walk there, and get there without using a car."

Haas said she is not averse to having a market in the north end on Fridays, when asked by Mayor Noam Bramson.

He said it would be good to make Friday and Saturday markets work in a way they are not competing with each other.

"As a potential operator, you have to be satisfied," Bramson said to Haas, and the vendors have to be satisfied as well.

City Manager Charles Strome III said a decision would need to be made by the end of the year so contracts can be issued.

Susan Mea December 07, 2012 at 03:08 PM
I would love to see the market ooen downtown on Saturdays. This would be great for peeople who work and can't take advantage of the markwt on Friday. As far ad disupting the activities on the Library Green - the market activity takes place early in the morning so not many people would be affected. Besides, the NO Ball playing, bike riding, etc. sign is so extensive as to what people are allowed to do in the park, except sit - what would be the harm?
Michael Woyton December 07, 2012 at 03:31 PM
The farmers market on Friday is open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. That would be a considerable chunk of time and space on Saturday, especially if there are more vendors than there are now.
Michael Woyton December 07, 2012 at 03:32 PM
That said, I too would welcome another farmers market/food fair on Saturday in the downtown area.
Susan Mea December 07, 2012 at 05:26 PM
You would not have to have the market open until 3pm. n Saturday. The one at the Larchmont station winds down arount noon or so. I thing that would be sufficient.
jc December 27, 2012 at 01:37 AM
I'd like the market on Saturdays as well. And let's encourage our North End neighbors to make the trip to their downtown

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