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Skaneateles Farmers’ Market increasing in size, preparing to open

— In two weeks the Skaneateles Farmers’ Market will open for the 2012 season outside the Austin Park Pavilion. This year there will be at least two more vendors than last year, with an increase in shoppers expected as well.

“Last year we saw a lot of new faces at the market — a lot of familiar ones too — but a lot of new ones,” said Gene LaForte, town parks employee and assistant market manager.

“The locals have been very supportive of our farmers and they’ve really gotten behind the market,” added Sue Murphy, administrative aide to the town board and manager of the farmers’ market. “People are excited [for the May opening].”

The Skaneateles Farmers’ Market has been around for many years, managed through the town government and run by town employees, although the town makes only enough money through vendor fees to pay for market expenses. It is a community service from the town rather than a money-maker, Murphy said.

The Skaneateles Farmers’ Market started around 2000 outside the Austin Park Pavilion, moved to the Skaneateles Community Center and last year returned to the pavilion, which proved to be a good move that garnered “a lot of positive feedback,” Murphy said.

One reason the market has been so successful is that it is “strictly a farmers’ market,” Murphy said. Only farm-fresh products are allowed to be sold, no crafts or non-farmed items. “You wouldn’t believe how many requests we turn away every year from craft sellers,” she said. “Some places make it an event or carnival with music, and events and things. We are an agricultural market.”

In addition to offering only agricultural produce, vendors must agree to and abide by the regulation of an 80/20 commitment — 80 percent of a farmer’s goods must be produced on their farm, and 20 percent is allowed to be resale goods.

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