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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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LC March 12, 2012 at 12:37 AM
We have the best farm market in town already. That is Meadows Farms located on Underhill Avenue, next to town Hall. They are open DAILY May 1 - Oct 31. If you are looking to eat the freshest local ingredients, then shop local, eat local and patronize a wonderful local family. Buy your fruits and vegetables at Meadows Farms on Underhill Avenue. Miriam Curtin A faithful customer for 23 years
Yorktown Tattler March 12, 2012 at 01:49 AM
And I have been shopping there for over 30 years. Anything that would hurt this treasured farm market would not be wise for the new administration.
don March 12, 2012 at 02:17 AM
The farmers market is the wrong thing to do. We should be supporting our local farmers and only our local farmers. If the town council did not want it to open it would not open. Clearly they want it to and won’t do a thing about it. Mr. Grace how would you like it if a firm specializing in malpractice opened an office right next to yours? I TEND TO DOUBT YOU WOULD!! Perhaps we should place signs in front of your office that say, don’t use Grace and Grace for your malpractice suit go to Joe Blow in Somers? Would you like that? Is this any different then what you intend to do to our local farmers? They deserve our support and our loyalty. The farmers are correct this will not be a real farmers market anyway. There are farmers markets in just about every town in this area; you mean to say there are enough farmers to staff all these farmers markets? The obvious answer is no. Our local farmers are 100% correct the participants in the farmers market will not be farmers they will buy from wholesalers and then resell their food. Cleary Mr. Grace and the operators of this farmers market don’t know the definition of loyalty and Mr. Grace and his buddies are wiping their feet on our neighbors. This is a despicable thing to do. Voters don’t let this market open.
don March 12, 2012 at 02:25 AM
the comments above where not submitted by don peters.
Susan March 12, 2012 at 04:19 AM
I thought the farmers market would be a nice new routine for spring and I try to buy local and sustainable. Why not let meadows and Stuart's and other Yorktown farmers sell there? It could probably be Yorktown only sellers, but I know meadows used to have foods they didn't likely grow like celery and Stuart's also had honey and jarred items they didn't make. A lot of times I find that while I enjoy the fresh produce in season I really can't afford their prices on a regular routine. I was hoping the competition would make some produce down to a price I could afford. I love Stuart's and it's an annual trip for pumpkins and apples-- but otherwise it's just too expensive to buy everyday produce there.
LC March 12, 2012 at 09:14 AM
Attention, Mr Grace and the rest of the Yortktown board, YOU WILL BE HURTING LOCAL FARMERS WITH THIS UNWISE DECISION. You would NOT like it if someone set up a law office next door to your office just as the above letter writer stated. The letter writer who complained about prices, what makes you think it will be any cheaper to buy at the farmers market. This idea is bad for local business!!
Bill March 12, 2012 at 02:20 PM
I think this is a great thing which is long overdue. Farmers Markets bring people from other areas to town and maybe they will shop at other stores while here. I go to Peekskill to shop at their market (which is OK); many more people go to Ossining for theirs, which is one of the best in the region. They do not only sell produce there, lots of other products are available (meat, eggs, breads, quiche). Meadows Farms can certainly get a booth and sell their wares. It's not like the market would be here competing with them 7 days a week, just one. The local farms can still have the monopoly the other days. And local farms would get a wider audience than they have now, if they play things right. Pricing may be cheaper, but it's not guaranteed. It really depends on who they get to participate. I went to a farmers market in Pawling last year and the prices were ridiculous -- garlic for $15 a pound, as I recall.
Elyssa Cady March 12, 2012 at 06:01 PM
Meadows Farm has been trying to bar a Farmers Market from happening in Yorktown for over 10 years. The residents of Yorktown have spoken, and we want a farmers market! It is not right for an old business to prevent new business from coming to town with the argument that it will hurt them. That's the point of competition! If Meadow's Farm is so worried, they should provide BETTER products and ORGANIC produce, and fill the gap that Yorktowners want. They should not try to create a monopoly in Yorktown.
Bill March 12, 2012 at 06:37 PM
Are you actually familiar with the vendors at the other farmers markets in the area (have you been to any of them?)? With the exception of one vendor in Peekskill, I am quite sure that they are all real farms or producers of the food that they sell. Community Markets, which runs most of the markets in Westchester (except Peekskill, and which has shown no interest in running one in Yorktown in the past) requires that their vendors be real farms. And look at the list of vendors on the website of the company running it -- http://www.maizemarketmanagement.com/. They look like farms to me. I would have no problem with a rule saying that participants must not be reselling the majority of what they sell at the market. And many farms have stands at multiple markets, so your comment "you mean to say there are enough farmers to staff all these farmers markets?" shows that you do not understand how these work. I knew of one place in Peekskill that actually had another stand down at Union Square in NYC. The same is true of other farms. BTW the best farmers market in the general area is the one at the Danbury Fair Mall. The organizers of this one should have considered asking the Jefferson Valley Mall for permission to hold it there. That way they would not compete with the farms in town AND they might get a larger audience (and perhaps not have to pay rent, either). Of course, the JV Mall doesn't get that much business so who knows if there would have been added traffic.
Bill March 12, 2012 at 06:45 PM
Are people being told that they cannot shop at Meadows Farm if they still want to? And there are already plenty of law offices in town, maybe not next door but a block away, just as there are other options to buy produce. If I don't like the prices at Meadows (which I generally don't), I can already buy at A&P or Turco's. If anything, the local farmers should get a stand at the market and sell their stuff. Then people who come to the Farmers Market will know that they can get stuff at their local store the other 6.5 days of the week when the Farmers Market is not there. They will have a major advantage over the other vendors who aren't local and are only there for 6 hours or so. Maybe they'll even get MORE business out of it. This is really amazing. People complain that there's nowhere to shop, something great happens, and other people complain that it is a bad idea because it will hurt an existing business that the many people are not shopping at to begin with.
Robert Surabian March 12, 2012 at 08:34 PM
Elyssa Cady, since when are you the voice of Y'town and when did Y'towners proclaim their want for a farmers market or for that matter organic produce, maybe I was out of town that day.
Bill March 12, 2012 at 08:50 PM
Since when do a couple of local merchants get to decide that something that is popular in other towns (and could even help other local businesses with increased customer traffic) should not be allowed in Yorktown? And Robert, are you saying that you speak for the residents when you say that everyone is happy just having Meadows to shop at? This is the same BS we are getting with Costco. No one is forced to shop elsewhere. It's not like they have the monopoly on produce in the town now. People who love Meadows and shop there can continue to do so. Those of us who go to other towns to shop at their Farmers Markets will be able to patronize the one in Yorktown as well.
Robert Surabian March 12, 2012 at 09:01 PM
Bill, my post was short and to the pt. Read it again. Elyssa tells us that "The residents of Yorktown have spoken, ..." . When a did that happen exactly, Bill? Heck hardly a day passes when neighbors tell me how uneasy they feel having organic produce in the immediate vicinity and have conisidered in asking Eric to set up a check point on the Amvet's bridge to keep the stuff out of town. We have spoken.
Bill March 13, 2012 at 04:57 AM
It has as much credence as your saying that residents of Yorktown don't need one because of our existing local farms. Also, I emailed the head of the company that is going to be running the market. Among other things, she told me "I require my vendor farmers to submit their crop plans along with all necessary permits, licenses and insurance. I know for sure they are selling what they grow. I will also be doing random farm visits to be sure they continue to comply." So that contradicts Bob Stuart's main complaint: "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." Also, she said that all local farms had been invited to participate in the market for a very nominal fee or leave their brochures at the market manager's booth.
RMR March 13, 2012 at 03:45 PM
I have been a resident of Yorktown since 1967. The Meadows Farm, Stuarts Fruit Farm and Wilkens are family run businesses that have provided fresh local produce for my life time and beyond. Recently, A great deal has been done by state and county legislatures to promote local farming in order to maintain the few local farms that remain in our area. It is simple economics that the land used for farming in this area would turn a tremendous profit if used to create residential housing. Permitting a "Farmers Market" at the yorktown fire house would endager these last few remaining farms. Additionally, The Meadows, Stuarts and Wilkens have been supporting the local economy and community with their fresh fruits and vegetable. They are long standing members of local commerce. They pay taxes and have considerable overhead to maintain their opperations. Permitting a "Farmers Market" swoop in and allow strangers to our community to sell produce that is not locally grown, likely not grown by the retailer, without having to pay property tax or bear the burdon of the overhead involved in running a local business, creates an unfair advantage. Considering the all that our local farms do for our community it is an outrage and it is shameful. I hope others add to my voice and find a way to stop this from happening. Or if this "Farmers Market" at the yorktown fire house goes forward, I hope people are willing to see it for what it is and organize boycott. A very vocal boycott.
Bill March 14, 2012 at 06:22 AM
The "strangers " who would come to town to shop at the farmers market are not shopping at the existing farm stands anyway. So if the farms played it right and let those people know that they exist, they could get extra business And a boycott would not affect people who want to shop at the market. It might be effective with existing customers of the local farms, but you've led us to believe that you would never shop at the farmers market, anyway. Strangers to the area might question why local merchants want to restrict the choice of shoppers to shop where they want and decide to boycott them, instead. And once again, the person running the market said that she will have documentation from the merchants showing that they grow their own stuff. If people keep claiming that their produce is "likely not grown by the retailer", it's going to start looking like you are being fed information by these farms who oppose the market.
David March 17, 2012 at 06:02 AM
But these are not very local. I did some research. The current list of vendors for this new farmer's market according to their website and the miles they will travel to get to Yorktown: Mead Orchards LLC 65 miles away *************************************************************** Do Re Me Farms 40 miles away *************************************************************** GreenSceneCompany.com Address Undisclosed “Online Location” *************************************************************** Guyank Brand 50 miles away *************************************************************** The Amazing Real Live Food Company 60 miles away *************************************************************** Dines Farms 100 miles away See story in the New York Times: Farmer Deals With Drop in Business and Credibility By INDRANI SEN Published: July 30, 2008 “Greenmarket’s organizers took the rare step of suspending Mr. Dines.” http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/30/dining/30dines.html?pagewanted=all *************************************************************** Gaia's Breath Farms “situated between the Catskill and Adirondack mountain ranges” 80-230 miles away
David March 17, 2012 at 06:11 AM
Here is the problem with what you are saying: everything. Competition is fine... but this is a market on town property - the fire house - and all of the current vendors come from 40-230 miles away! What color is the opposite of green? One of the vendors was in the New York Times... He broke the rules and then complained that the rules didn't make sense to begin with. Sounds like the kind of person I want to buy food from, and then feed my three children - I don't think so. See the story below. “Greenmarket’s organizers took the rare step of suspending Mr. Dines for selling meat he did not raise on his farm, a violation of their rule that vendors must raise, grow or make everything they sell at the markets. [Dines] argued, however, that Greenmarket officials were unrealistic to expect that farmers in the Northeast’s harsh climate would sell only what they grew. ‘The disconnect is they expect people up here to produce everything,” he said in an interview at the Flea on Sunday. “And financially, weatherwise, heatwise, expensewise, it’s impossible to do. You don’t have the infrastructure in this state to support agriculture like you do down south and out west.’ Bob Lewis, a state agriculture official and a founder of Greenmarket in 1976, said the group’s other 186 farmers manage to follow the producer-only rule.” http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/30/dining/30dines.html?pagewanted=all
David March 17, 2012 at 06:14 AM
Bill... be sure to read the New York Times article on one of the accepted vendors... Farmer Deals With Drop in Business and Credibility By INDRANI SEN Published: July 30, 2008 “Greenmarket’s organizers took the rare step of suspending Mr. Dines for selling meat he did not raise on his farm, a violation of their rule that vendors must raise, grow or make everything they sell at the markets. [Dines] argued, however, that Greenmarket officials were unrealistic to expect that farmers in the Northeast’s harsh climate would sell only what they grew. ‘The disconnect is they expect people up here to produce everything,” he said in an interview at the Flea on Sunday. “And financially, weatherwise, heatwise, expensewise, it’s impossible to do. You don’t have the infrastructure in this state to support agriculture like you do down south and out west.’ Bob Lewis, a state agriculture official and a founder of Greenmarket in 1976, said the group’s other 186 farmers manage to follow the producer-only rule.” http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/30/dining/30dines.html?pagewanted=all
Bill March 17, 2012 at 07:59 AM
The local farmers he was referring to was the farms in town who, if they were smart, would use this opportunity to let people visiting the farmers market know about their existence for the rest of the week. In general, the whole idea about a farmers market is that you have vendors coming in from areas that you would not normally go to. Yes, we have 3 farms that sell some local stuff. But there is lots more stuff to be had. I would be willing to bet that most who are complaining about this have never been to one. It's just amazing.
Bill March 17, 2012 at 08:04 AM
You forgot to post the corresponding article which says how the rules for what is permitted to be sold at a Greenmarket is confusing. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/06/dining/06market.html?pagewanted=all Of course, this is so similar to the tactics the Costco opponents are using, selectively posting stories that show how bad things will be and ignoring the good. You also neglected to mention that he sells meat, and to the best of my knowledge none of our local farms do that. Isn't the supposed issue here that of competing with the local farms on produce? Also, it appears that he sells at the Ossining farmers market, which is generally regarded as the best in the area. Also I don't think the property is owned by the town. The fire house is not part of the town government.
Bill March 17, 2012 at 08:07 AM
You had to post that 3 times? All to write about a farm that sells meat, while the local farmers shouldn't even be concerned about??? Tell me how someone bringing in meat can be a bad thing for local farmers?
dleighg March 17, 2012 at 02:45 PM
Have any of you folks against the farm market actually been to one of the local ones? I just got back from the Croton indoor market. There is a huge demand for this sort of thing, and Yorktown is missing the boat by not having one. Those "far-away" farms provide a wealth of fresh items (meat, fish, unusual vegetables, in addition to things like pickles, nuts, pies, pasta....) that simply aren't available *anywhere* else, including the local markets complaining about this.
Bill March 17, 2012 at 05:49 PM
It's rather obvious from the comments that they have not. They're just concerned that people will buy their corn, tomatoes and apples from someone else.
Phil March 20, 2012 at 11:07 AM
Please educate yourself before posting negative comments that include a FOUR YEAR OLD ARTICLE. Do you have any clue about the meat processors in NYS? Read this and learn about why there are no locals selling USDA certified meats in Westchester... Do the math: approx 1-2k livestock farms and around 3 dozen slaughterhouses. You tell me how they have a steady supply of meat to sell to all that want it. Meat and produce farmers alike must travel this far to sell their goods in order to make enough money to continue farming! Who are you to deny them a living?? They spend enormous amounts of money just to get their goods to market, so who says they don't have overhead?? Their vendor fees will go to support OUR Engine Co #1, which is NOT owned or run by the town, and neither is the field the market will rent, thereby supporting the VOLUNTEER firehouse. Other proceeds will go to LOCAL charities. How is this bad for Yorktown?? I can't believe you looked at that web site and all you posted about was the distance the farmers travel. That's really weak. You embarrass yourself and all Yorktowners who care about doing good for our community. Another FYI: the market owners invited Meadows, Stuarts, Wilkins and Hilltop Hanover to join the market. It will be in the news shortly...
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 (Editor) 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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