Farmers markets: shop while supporting the community

Take a trip to downtown Plattsburgh this Saturday and see for yourself. There is a feeling of intimacy there, a connection as the buyer speaks to the producer first hand and learns about how the product came to be. The smooth surface of that black walnut bowl wasn’t mass produced in a factory somewhere overseas, it was made by hand from a tree that was destined for a wood chipper. The grapes used to make that wine are cold-hardy, much like the citizens of our region. There is a woman living in the town of Keene who makes soaps, bath salts and bug balms, and she will tell you all about how her concoctions can relieve stress, tension, and insect bites.

Through those interactions, farmers markets begin to take on a greater purpose and become a community gathering space where relationships, and trust, are formed between the consumer and the producer. Try speaking to one of the many farmers present and ask him or her questions. Some will offer advice on gardening, and others can tell you about their Community Supported Agriculture program, where consumers can purchase a share of the farm and receive a bounty of goods each week. In many cases, it’s like purchasing your vegetables for the year all at once. Some CSA’s offer meat, maple syrup, honey, milk and cheeses, too. And for those who need assistance, most local farmers markets accept food stamps and WIC coupons.

But the benefits of farmers markets don’t end at the pavilion. Since visitors to the Plattsburgh Farmers and Crafters Market are already downtown, many of them will grab a bite to eat or explore some of Plattsburgh’s many fine businesses while they are there. The draw of the market also draws people to those places, and in the process it neatly ties together many of the things most Plattsburgh residents desire—a thriving downtown built upon a high quality of life, high quality local products, and a strong sense of community.

The Plattsburgh Farmers and Crafters Market is held every Saturday, from 9 a.m.–2 p.m., at the Farmers Market Pavilion, located by Bridge, Durkee and Broad streets downtown. For more information, visit plattsburghfarmersandcraftersmarket.com. To find a farmers market near you, visit adirondackharvest.com and look under the “Local Food Maps” tab.

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