by Bill Batson
Nyack’s year-round Farmers’ Market returns to the Main Street Municipal Parking Lot on April 7. Each Thursday morning until November 23, a tent village will rise from the asphalt starting at 6a. Every week, crates of locally grown produce and boxes of fresh baked goods are presented for sale. The last indoor market will be held at the Nyack Center this Thursday, March 31.
Nyack’s Farmers’ Market is a project of the Nyack Chamber of Commerce. Launched in 1979 in Veteran’s Park by Carol Baxter, the market has had various managers including Lorie Reynolds and former Chamber Board members Art Clark and Carlo Pellegrini. Currently, the market is supervised by Chamber Board member and Sweet Pea Market owner David Collins, and managed by Pam Moskowitz.
Moskowitz estimates that up to 1,000 shoppers visit the market each Thursday. From its inception, the mission of the market has been to provide quality goods at reasonable prices. Moskowitz sees the market as “a place where folks come to meet and greet each other, and catch up on news of each others’ lives and the Village.”
As proud as Moskowitz is of the role that the Chamber plays in operating the market, the very spelling of the name of the market reflects the driving force behind the venture. “Farmers’ is purposely spelled with an s’ … not an ‘s … Because this is truly the market of the farmers who show up every week,” Moskowitz said.
One of the most exciting developments in the 15-year history of the Farmers’ Market, the establishment of an indoor market, was the brainchild of a farmer, Richard Concklin of The Orchards of Concklin. In collaboration with the new venue, the Nyack Center, the indoor Farmers’ Market opened in November 2012.
Another development that distinguishes Nyack’s Farmers’ Market is the advent of live musical performance. Spring and summer afternoons have the feel of a county fair when performing artists like the Bossy Frog Band and Jeff Doctorow and Jeff Ruben attract families to downtown Nyack for a show, a chance to mingle with friends and an opportunity to shop.
Historically, communal markets have been a civilizing force in the evolution of human society. Every culture on every continent has developed strikingly similar forums were people who produce goods seek consumers. Whether the venue was as basic as the shade of a large tree, or a built structure with permanent stalls, these markets became the center of community life.
The marketplace has played a pivotal role in the social and financial organization of our civilization. Our economy, referred to as a “market-based” system, was modeled on the dynamic of individuals entering a market to compete for the best value for commodities. The word bank comes from the Italian word for bench, banco: the surface from which the practices that would become our modern banking system were pioneered in medieval markets.
Gradually, through the centuries, fixed public markets, like London’s Covent Garden or the West Side Market in Cleveland, Ohio were eventually superseded by commercial districts, shopping centers and finally, the Mall.
However, over the last 25 years, the farmers’ market movement has reasserted some of the values of the ancient market place where people bought their food directly from the growers. This more direct exchange between consumer and producer removes the added expense and waste created by the armies of middlemen who profit from packaging, shipping, displaying, advertising and re-selling agricultural goods.
As the oldest family business in New York State, the Orchards of Concklin now participates in a market that mirrors the way that goods were exchanged when they cultivated their first plot of land in Pomona in the 18th century. Chairwoman of the Rockland County Legislature, Harriet Cornell, appreciates the value of returning to some of the practices of our agrarian roots. In her keynote speech for the 300th anniversary of the Orchards of Concklin on July 4, 2012, Cornell said, “People want to have their children learn first-hand that food comes from the earth around us and not from the supermarket.” If you want to know more about the source of your food, and meet the people who grow and prepare it, the Farmers’ Market in Nyack is now open 52 weeks a year.
The Nyack Chamber of Commerce has two additional major events in April, SpringFest and Earth Day.
On Sunday, April 10, SpringFest transforms Main Street and Broadway into an open-air festival featuring over 340 vendors offering jewelry, art, photography, collectibles, antiques, quality handmade crafts, unique gifts and much more. This year, kids of all ages can join the circus for a day, taking in Amazing Grace CIRCUS! shows and trying out tightwire walking, silk climbing and juggling with help from the circus performers. The free shows are set for 1p and 3p in Memorial Park. Popcorn, cotton candy and juggling equipment will be available for purchase to complete the circus experience. Students from event sponsor School of Rock – Orangeburg will perform as part of a program that includes local talent.
11a Former Oingo Boingo guitarist Jeff Rubin: Sets throughout the afternoon.
12p Nyack’s own Riverskye Band: Original, melodic, soulful rock
1p School of Rock: Future rockstars of America!
2p Slick Trixie: Motown to Top 40 and everything in between
3p Tony T Group: With actor, entertainer, vocalist Louis Vanaria; meet Louis after the performance
4p The Old No.7 Band: Blues, bluegrass, rock, R&B: performing together 30 years
While grown-ups groove to the music, the fair will offer plenty for the younger set, with kids’ games and bouncy houses in the Main Street parking lot.
Saturday, April 16, The Chamber presents the 4th annual Earth Day celebration at the Main Street Gazebo at Cedar Street and the surrounding parking area. The event raises awareness about the environment and encourages local action to preserve a healthy and sustainable Rockland County.
Visitors will enjoy a day of Earth-friendly how-to’s such as recycling, gardening and composting tips — plus a diverse line-up of local artists providing live music; vendors and artisans offering environmentally friendly and sustainable products and services; children’s activities; delicious natural foods, and loads of family fun.
Kids’ activities will include art projects, an Earth Day facts scavenger hunt, face painting and henna tattoos. Admission is free. A rain date is scheduled for April 17th.
As in past years, Keep Rockland Beautiful will begin and end their Community Clean-up project at the Earth Day Nyack event site. Interested participants should meet at 9:30am to join a clean-up crew at the Gazebo before Earth Day Nyack kicks off later in the day. Check keeprocklandbeautiful.org for details. Earth Day is made possible by Apex Solar and Sunrise Solar Solutions.
An activist, artist and writer, Bill Batson lives in Nyack, NY. Nyack Sketch Log: “Nyack Sketch Log: Year-Round Farmers’ Market“ © 2016 Bill Batson. Visit billbatsonarts.com to see more.