By Daniel Marcillo and Kian McKoy
Port Jefferson Farmers Market started its fall season in late September with 37 stands ranging from pickles to gourmet dog food. The end of the month marks the closing of the traditional farmers market season on Long Island, however the Port Jeff still welcomes small business owners until the end of November.
The market located at Mayor Jeanne Garant Harborfront is now in its eighth year. It showcases almost 40 different small businesses and vendors every Wednesday and Sunday and is becoming a community staple. As it transitions from summer to autumn the market features seasonal favorites during September and October to keep customers coming in.
“People look forward to it, it’s like a Sunday tradition,” Joy Glas, owner of Pickle Packin’ Papa, said. “And not just locals, people from the surrounding communities as well.”
According to the market’s website, “Items must be grown, gathered, produced and/or processed on Long Island, NY.”
“Being Long Island owned, supporting us is supporting your own community,” Daniel Kennedy, owner of Tend Coffee said. “100% of the revenue generated is cycled through the local economy.”
Some vendors have physical locations around Long Island and New York and use the farmers’ market to increase their revenue.
“My customers will call my store…and follow me to different fairs. [The vendors] all have a following and we all bring people in and then they shop at other vendors,” Glas said.
Others use the Port Jeff market and various county fairs to generate their main stream of income.
“There’s just a nice amount of people who come through here and they stop and keep coming back,” Linda Bianco of Sweet Seasons Gourmet Jams said “It’s very rewarding for me.”
Bianco, who started coming to the Port Jeff market in 2015, was a pastry chef before staring up her jam business in 2010 and prefers the personable nature of the markets, to the physical stores and also the new location down on the waterfront.
Customers enjoy the last few days of warm temperatures with the live music and fresh seafood before vendors roll out apple products, pumpkins, squash and other fall items.
“Farmer’s markets are imperative to family farmers, small family farms have a difficult time competing in the food marketplace,” Jennifer Sherry, manager of the Port Jefferson farmers market said.
Farmers markets have been around for centuries and date back to the beginning of the United States. One of the most famous farmers markets in the country is the Pike Place Market in Seattle. It started in 1907 and like many other farmers’ markets it brings large crowds of people every time they open. Now, the Port Jeff installment is one of 36 farmers’ markets on Long Island.
“There’s a draw for people [to the market] and they don’t just stay here they go to different places so it’s income for the whole community,” Frank DiPaulo, Bianco’s partner said.
The Port Jefferson Farmers Market is sponsored by the Port Jefferson Economic Development Council and started as a means of supplying the community with fresh produce and local products and to stimulate the economy of Port Jefferson
“It’s all local, everyone wants to support local businesses and it’s also the thought of coming here and getting your produce and everything for your kitchen table right there,” Ali Sanda, marketer for Arlotta Olive Oil, said.
In most areas, farmers’ markets are seasonal affairs and usually slow down after the summer as the types and yield of produce change. Port Jeff makes accommodation in the Village Center for inclement weather and to house the vendors in the fall and winter.
“This is a good farmers’ market because once it gets cold they’ll move indoors. If you can get the products all year round why shouldn’t the market keep going?”