The town of Cicero won’t be holding a farmers market at Drivers Village — or anywhere else — this summer.
According to organizer Julie Raddell, not enough vendors registered to sell at this year’s market, forcing its cancellation.
“Unfortunately, too few vendors registered in advance for stall spaces at the market,” Raddell said. “We received plenty of calls from interested vendors, but without their actual reservation, I couldn’t take the risk that they would consistently show up and pay for a space.”
Raddell said she couldn’t afford to devote the resources to the weekly event if she wasn’t sure enough vendors would attend.
“A lot of time and resources from the Youth Bureau, Parks and Recreation Department went into setting up for the market each week,” she said. “I didn’t feel it would have been responsible to use our resources for just a few confirmed vendors each week.”
The market opened last year to positive reviews. An average of 10 vendors a week sold locally-grown fruits and veggies, homemade jams and jellies, handmade candles and other locally-sourced products. Raddell said she would have liked to see at least 12 for this year’s market for it to go ahead.
“We, as a department, take pride in hosting programs, events and activities that are top-notch for all involved, in this case both the vendor and the customer,” she said. “I wasn’t comfortable with the idea of opening the market with just five or so vendors. That wouldn’t have been the right move to make for vendors that rely on a decent-sized market for their profits. It also wouldn’t have been fair to customers expecting a variety of products, with a one-stop shopping experience.”
Many questioned the change in time from afternoons to mornings. Raddell said she didn’t know if that was why fewer vendors were interested, but it was requested by the community.
“I can say the decision to change the time was reached by the Farmer’s Market Governing Board based on 2012 customer and vendor feedback,” she said. “We made nearly all decisions for the market based on what we heard from the community.”
Given the lack of interested vendors, Raddell said the market would likely not return in the 2014 season.
On the plus side, it appears the 2012 market was a success,
“The announcement was made on our Facebook page last week, and the silver lining is that there seem to be a lot of people that were upset about the market cancellation,” Raddell said. “That tells me that for more than a few people in and around Cicero, the 2012 market was a worthwhile experience.”
And locals won’t have to look far to get their local produce.
“Thankfully for our community, we still have access to locally-grown fruits, vegetables and other crops,” Raddell said. “There are Cicero farms that offer small stands, pick-your-own fields and even small markets.”
While she’s disappointed that the market won’t return, Raddell said she’s happy with the one season the market had.
“I stand by everything we did and I’m proud of the Cicero Farmers’ Market, despite how short-lived it was.”
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.