Aug 26, 2008 Miranda L. Pennock Uncategorized
The P&C parking lot in Skaneateles was bustling with activity on Saturday, Aug. 23, but it wasn’t just people seeking the end of the weekly sales.
Not only are shoppers offered an array of merchandise inside the store, but each Saturday shoppers also are able to peruse produce at the Greener Bean Market, an organic farmers market, set up in the parking lot if they so choose.
“The community has responded very well to it,” said Natalie Palmer with Wild Hare Farm in Moravia. The market was in its sixth week this past weekend. It is also the first year for the organic market, Palmer said.
Each of the farms that participate in the market are certified organic members. As certified organic growers, each of the members’ farms is regulated and inspected by the government, Palmer said.
The market has seen a growing crowd every week, said Kendra Pearson of Black Brook Farms on Rickard Road in Skaneateles.
“We have a nice group of regulars,” she said. “People like that they can come and don’t have to ask what chemicals the vegetables have been sprayed with.”
Pearson began farming organically 10 years ago after a bout of not feeling well. She said it was “sort of a no-brainer for me that I didn’t want anything on my food.”
Nancy Sloane, of Jupiter, Fla., was in the area visiting her friend, Karen List, of West Palm Beach, Fla., who owns a summer home on the lake. Sloane said she wished there was an organic market at home and that List attends the market frequently. The two women were busy picking out vegetables to go with their dinner.
“I was so excited to hear they’re doing this,” List said. She believes the Saturday market is a good supplement for the Thursday farmers market at the community center.
List said she loves that the P&C grocery store allows the growers to set up shop in the parking lot because it allows her to stop by the market and then head to the grocery store to pick up other essentials.
“P&C have been so forward thinking,” said Paul Porter, Pearson’s husband. Soon, locally grown organic produce will be available inside the store.
Rose Ryan, whose farm is in Niles, sells her open pollinated and heirloom vegetables at both markets. She has been growing professionally for 10 years.
“They love it. It’s fabulous,” Ryan said of the community’s response to the market.
The setting of the market also makes it easily accessible for residents in Skaneateles and surrounding communities. Ryan said she lives only about 20 minutes away from where the market is set up.
“It’s close,” she said. “It gives people in Skaneateles another choice. … It sets a level playing field for us.”
According to Ryan, while some producers may claim to grow their produce naturally and organically, the organic farmers market is for those who are certified by the government as organic farmers.
While most of the growers at the market sell your typical varieties of tomatoes, onions, garlic, peppers and zucchini, they also offer hybrids and oriental vegetables. Ryan had for sale Carmen peppers, which are a hybrid and very large in size, and also Jimmy Nardello peppers. She said the Jimmy Nardello variety are open pollinated and a high flavored vegetable facing extinction.
Black Brook Farms’ owners Pearson and Porter offer their customers the opportunity to grow their own mushrooms.
Porter came up with the idea to begin selling small logs that grow different types of gourmet mushrooms. The logs are about two feet long each, and only a portion of the size of the logs on the couple’s farm.
“People can get a variety,” Pearson said.
Customers are advised to keep the logs outside in a dark, moist area. Porter suggests under a porch would be the preferable place to grow mushrooms.
“We’ve been introducing different and unusual foods at this market,” Pearson said. “I don’t think we’re competition (for the Thursday market).”
Many farms now have Web sites so consumers can order products throughout the year as items are in season. Black Brook Farm’s site is www.blackbrookorganic.com. Ryan’s farm and information can be found at www.localharvest.org.