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Mar 17, 2012 01:18 AM

Proposed Farmers Market in Yorktown generate opposition from local farms and supporters

So, finally someone has decided to open a farmers market in Yorktown. It will be on Saturdays on property owned by the local fire house in downtown Yorktown. Apparently the 3 local farms are unhappy and their supporters are posting complaints in an article on the Patch website.

The 3 farms in question are Meadows Farms, Stuarts and Wilkins. I thought the latter 2 only sold apples and pumpkins and Meadows is very expensive and does not sell everything (and apparently nothing organic). It's amazing to see people actually opposing this when Yorktown residents have had to travel to other towns to shop at their farmers markets for years (and I am sure that many do, instead of shopping at the local farms, it would be naive to think otherwise). I spoke to the person who is going to be running it and she said that she offered to let the farms have booths at the market for a very nominal fee but they had not accepted. It seems to me that they would want to be involved and increase awareness among people who attend the market (who may well not know about them) for the other 6 days of the week. Most interesting in the comments so far is that the farms have apparently been fighting to keep a farmers market out for years. I know I spoke to someone from Community Markets at one of their markets and they said they had no interest in Yorktown. The opponents also ignore the fact that farmers markets sell much more than just produce.

If there are any Yorktown area residents who feel that this opposition is ridiculous, feel free to join the discussion (and of course if you agree with the opponents I can't stop you from posting that, either). And is anyone aware of other areas where local farmers have opposed a farmers market being brought in for fear of competition? I know they have farmers markets in areas like Poughkeepsie and Rhinebeck where I am sure there are local farms.

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  1. I thought that was interesting when I saw the story yesterday. The comments on that article are crazy. I just came back from the indoor farmer's market in Croton. Crazy busy, especially at the fish stand. Competition is supposed to be a good thing, and I am quite certain that the business people there are all representing real farms.

    1 Reply
    1. re: DGresh

      Here's another article with at least one of the same nay-sayers piling on. Apparently this market is going to be operated as a non-profit, with any revenues going weekly to a different local charity.

    2. Meadows Farm, Wilkins, Stuarts combined do not offer 1/3 of what is available at the other local weekend markets. Even if they offered exactly the same products and of similar quality, those are not valid reasons to stifle competition.The farms which are opposing this market should take the offer to sell goods at the market and try to win new customers or to keep their present customers by offering superior products. The market is a win for consumers.

      1. Bill - Of course its totally ridiculous. If the three local farms have good stuff to sell, then open a booth at the market and everyone will see how good they are. If its good, people will abandon the market and go to their farms. The fact is that they are scared of competition and want to have a monopoly on what is sold in the area. I stopped going to Wilkens when one day, while totaling up my apple pickings, one of the workers skimmed a few apples off the top of my heaping bag and told me I had too much in the bag. I never went back.

        2 Replies
        1. re: fragnet

          Yeah, that whole "no heaping bags" thing turned me off as well. We stopped going when the "scene" (and all those apparently-from-NYC obnoxious folks who seemed to dominate the clientele) got to be too much to deal with. It seemed like it was more of a day-in-the-country event for city-dwellers rather than a real honest-to-goodness apple picking day.

          1. re: DGresh

            I've only been to Wilkins once, when I had no choice because my daughter's girl scout troop went there. They're overpriced, make everyone pay for a bag whether you want to pick or not, and the trees are too high so you need poles. The only reason to go there as a Yorktown resident is if you don't want to drive very far. And yes, i am sure they get a lot of people from NYC because Yorktown is about as far "upstate" as they want to drive.

            I pick at a nice place in Milton (which I have posted about here), where they charge by the pound and have trees so low that they don't even have poles (except for pears).

            The 3 local farms don't want competition because people will figure out how high their prices are if they have another option.

        2. There are farmers markets all over the place in Dutchess County, and there are also farms all over the place. I've never heard of any opposition. Just seems wrong.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Solstice444

            Yes, it just boggles the mind.

            If anyone's interested, there is a public meeting about this on Thursday night at 7pm at the Lakeland Copper Beech Middle School on 132. Sadly I am unable to attend (HVRW reservations) but it will be interesting to see how much opposition there really is, and hopefully some supports will turn out. It's unfortunate that she's got this Dines Farm place that apparently had problems with NYC Greenmarket since it's given the major complainer something to continue to rant about. I like the quotes from the woman running it in the Examiner. She says she's not going to call them liars :-).