The Cicero Farmers Market at Drivers Village kicked off its inaugural season Tuesday, June 5, and it was a rousing success, according to director Julie Raddell.
“We definitely had a few hundred people,” Raddell said. “We had a steady stream of customers all day. They started coming as we started setting up, and they kept coming all the way until the time we closed down.”
In fact, the market was so busy that some vendors had to replenish their supplies.
“Williams Farm sold out of berries and had to restock halfway through,” Raddell said.
The new farmers market will be open from 3 to 7 p.m. every Tuesday until October at Drivers Village in the parking lot next to Burlington Coat Factory. The open-air bazaar came to be after the Cicero Youth Bureau, Parks and Recreation Department sent out a survey last fall to area residents asking if they’d be interested in such an endeavor and, if so, where they’d like to have it and at what time of day.
It was through the community’s input that Raddell and her team narrowed down the specifics of the market. Drivers Village was deemed the perfect location because it’s centrally located within the town, it’s right off the I-481 interchange and it’s near the Cicero Senior Center. As for the timing, that was also calculated with the help of the survey.
“We started at 3 because we wanted our seniors to be able to come and beat rush hour,” Raddell said. “We’re staying until 7 because people getting out of work drive right through here.”
On the first day, 11 vendors peddled their produce, maple syrup and other homegrown goods. Raddell expects more in the future.
“Since we opened, I’ve been fielding calls,” Raddell said. “The vendors have been talking to each other at other markets, too.”
The market also has a very active presence in social media; its Facebook page has 283 likes and features regular posts from members of the Cicero community.
“Our Facebook really engages people,” Raddell said. “While I was setting up, I couldn’t check it every five minutes. One person posted, ‘Can you tell me where and when?’ Somebody else answered for me. That’s great. That’s exactly what we want to see.”
Features like that, among others, Raddell said, help set the Cicero Farmers Market apart from other markets and ensure that it remains community-driven.
“There’s a very active presence from the residents,” Raddell said. “They’re asking questions about the produce, asking about whether they can volunteer, they’re sharing recipes — it’s great.”
Sarah Hall is the editor of the Eagle Star-Review and the Baldwinsville Messenger. The 2012 winner of the Syracuse Press Club's Selwyn Kershaw Professional Standards Award, she has been with Eagle Newspapers since 2006. She is a Liverpool native.