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Yorktown Farmers Unhappy With Planned Farmers' Market

The Yorktown Farmers’ Market is planned to run Saturdays, from May 19 through October 27, with the exceptions of June 23 and August 11.

Representatives from local farms are concerns that for later this spring would hurt their businesses. 

"We had no knowledge of this," Scott Woodard of  said at a recent town board meeting. "We've been farming in Yorktown for 40 years and we've been paying taxes. I feel it's unfair to us."

Yorktown supervisor Michel Grace and councilman Terrence Murphy said the intent of the farmers' market was not to put anyone out of business. 

"This is not something the town is necessarily involved with," Grace said and added the idea for the farmers' market came out of a  to promote local farming.

"You guys have been in town for years, no one would ever want to put you out of business," Murphy said. 

Bob Stuart of Stuart's Farm said often the vendors at farmers' markets are not actual farmers, but rather "they go around buying the fruits and vegetables from other farmers."

He said there was no way of enforcing that.

"That is the biggest argument," he said. "How do we know? That's why farmers' markets do hurt local farmers."

Grace said there is enthusiasm to promote the farming industry, both locally and regionally; and bringing a farmers' market into town would create a sense of community and invite the small businesses to participate too. 

"If the intention is to have a farmers market [behind the Yorktown Heights fire department] without supporting any of us, that's kind of undercutting all of us who have been paying taxes for years," said Randy Pratt of .

He said 85 percent of his farm's revenue is generated over 18 days and if the planned farmers' market ran for 28 days, that would negatively impact his business.  

"The idea of this outreach was to recreate the sense of community in this town, to bring the civic organizations together to promote the town, to promote the Yorktown brand," Grace said. "It's the exact opposite of what you think is going to happen."

Grace urged the Yorktown farmers to attend the on March 22 at 7 p.m. at .

The not-for-profit farmers' market is . According to organizers, it's purpose is two-fold: first it will support and donate to local charities. Second, it will unite and educate the community on the benefits of local, seasonal eating, and promote the agricultural history of the region.

To read more about it, .

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David March 20, 2012 at 07:34 PM
He broke the rules and then defended his rule breaking. And all of the current vendors are from 40-50-60 or more miles away. So, Bill, go ahead and support them. My hope is that more people will support the Yorktown businesses over the businesses from Queens and the Adirondacks. But it remains a free country. Make your choice and live with it!
Bill March 20, 2012 at 07:53 PM
Why are you so concerned about a single vendor -- OF MEAT, which none of the local farms sell? What would you have found to complain about if not for this one vendor? I hope the local farms choose to participate in the market, that way they can get more business from new customers, and there will be additional options for shoppers who want to buy from the other vendors.
Pat March 27, 2012 at 03:32 PM
Variety is the spice of life and our local farm stands don't have that!!! You nay-sayers, go check out the other towns' farmer's markets, buy their unique greens, cheeses, breads etc... and then tell me you don't want that sold here! Come on people, this is ridiculous!!! Competition is necessary to keep standards up and prices down. Wouldn't it be nice to have a Stop and Shop or some other grocery chain where Food Emp. used to be? Well, that probably won't ever be allowed so guess what, I go elsewhere to buy groceries when I want/need something the A&P doesn't sell. Well, now I will be able to go locally, only once a week for half the year, to another farm "stand" to buy things NOT offered by our local stands. What is wrong with that? Nothing, it is perfectly fair!!!! Otherwise I will continue going to the other surrounding towns' farmer's markets to spend my money! I and MANY others will enthusiastically welcome the farmer's market!!!!
Bill April 23, 2012 at 10:03 PM
Phil, great comment. And it's been well known that the local farms were invited to participate in the farmers market, either by having their own booth, or by having their flyers available at the market manager's booth. Last I heard they had not accepted either offer.
Plamena Pesheva April 24, 2012 at 02:46 PM
Here is an update...Karen Symington Muendell (founder of the not-for-profit Maize Market Management) writes in her blog on Patch that the Yorktown farms will participate as highlighted vendors at the Yorktown Farmers' Market. http://yorktown.patch.com/blog_posts/yorktown-farms-to-be-highlight-of-farmers-market

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