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Coming Soon To The Village Green: Farmers Market

To market, to market, to buy a fresh fig, jiggety-jig

If you were one of the folks disappointed that backyard chickens are pullus non grata in Great Neck, you may be pleased to know that locally grown, fresh fruit and organic vegetables will be for sale one morning a week at the Village Green during the summer and early fall months. Yes, a Great Neck farmers market has not only been approved by the Village of Great Neck mayor and trustees, but the Great Neck Park District commissioners have located a market manager who will be coordinating an array of Long Island farmers to display their fresh wares in the park.

At last week’s park district meeting Commissioner Ruth Tamarin introduced Ana Nieto who with her partner, Ivo Tomasini, have run the Sag Harbor farmers market, held on Saturdays, for a number of years. Tamarin commented, “We are delighted to have found Ms. Nieto through networking with the Long Island group Women in Agriculture.”

The Great Neck market will be held either on Wednesday or Thursday mornings somewhere around the beginning of June when local produce begins to ripen. Details are being honed now, but further announcements will be made when the logistics have been finalized.

Ms. Nieto mentioned that it would be possible to hold the market in the afternoon if the commissioners felt that time would be more convenient for more people. At the present time, the decision was made to start with morning hours to avoid late afternoon heat build-ups and potential thunderstorms.

The park district’s contribution to the market will be the space, garbage cans and staff to assist in cleanup. Vendors pay a nominal fee to participate to Ms. Nieto. Park district chairman Robert Lincoln made it clear that this is not a money making project for the district and that any proceeds from the vendors should go to help Ms. Nieto defray her costs for promoting and organizing the market.

The Old Village’s consultants for revitalizing its portion of Middle Neck Road, Dadras Architects have strongly supported the idea of a farmers market as a way to bring shoppers to the area. Their experience shows that there is substantial spillover to local merchants when a farmers market comes to town. So, while some local merchants may initially be wary, a flurry of activity and new shoppers to the area one morning a week would be welcomed by many.

In the agreement between the park district and the village, the village recommended that farmers not park their trucks or vans on the street. The park district will allow the farmers to park at the Great Neck House parking lot.

Currently, there are 29 farmers markets on Long Island and they are very popular attractions in their host communities. Efforts to support local farms are crucial to the economy of Long Island. In spite of development and diminishing farmland, Suffolk County is the number 1 producer of fruits and vegetables in New York State.

(Editor’s Note: The Basal chickens will be adopted by the Restoration Farm at Old Bethpage Village and welcomed into their flock.)