Many Port residents have a new routine on Saturday mornings; they start off their weekend with a cup of organic coffee, a freshly baked muffin and a canvas bag full of fresh organically-grown vegetables and fruits from the new Farmers' Market on the Town Dock.
Arriving just before 8 on Saturday mornings, Long Island farmers who come from as far away as Jamesport, begin unloading their trucks filled with just-picked produce and setting up for a morning at the market.
"You can't beat the location or the view," said Chris Walbrecht, co-owner of Garden of Eve, whose organic farm near Riverhead is currently producing zucchini, string beans, mesclun mix, flowers, onions, herbs and specialty greens. Chris and his partner, Eve Kaplan, are looking forward to providing a variety of seasonal produce through October.
The market is a project of Grassroots Environmental Education, a local environmental organization run by lifelong Port resident Patti Wood. It is supported by the Town of North Hempstead, with additional corporate support from State Bank of Long Island.
"This is a win-win situation," said Wood. "People can buy freshly harvested fruits and vegetables, they can talk directly to the farmers, and they're supporting local, sustainable organic agriculture. The response from our community has been overwhelmingly positive."
Wood said that she was inspired to organize the market when she met Marcia Hawthorne, current tenant of the historic Thomas Dodge House at the head of the Mill Pond. "Marcia was actually running a small CSA (community supported agriculture) farm on the Dodge property. Since Port Washington was once primarily a farming community, I had visions of embracing this lost tradition."
"Port residents are so friendly and interested in good eating - it's a pleasure to come here," says Matt Kuszynski, whose 40 acre Golden Earthworm Farm is located in Jamesport. Later in the season Matt expects to add berries, melons and peaches to his wide array of beautiful flowers and vegetables. He'll end the season with pumpkins for sale, just in time for Halloween!
Each Saturday the market will change. Smaller farmers and a beekeeper will drop in to sell their goods when they are available. The market will be open every Saturday (weather permitting), from 8 a.m. until noon through the end of October.