Food for Thought – Local Farmers Markets Opening Soon

by Linda Viertel

The TaSH returns even bigger and better!

The Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow Farmers Market, also known as the TaSH Farmers Market, opens for the season Memorial Day weekend with the same great vibe, more vendors, expanded educational programming about food, nutrition and the environment and improved access for low-income shoppers.

The market runs every Saturday, May 28 through Nov. 19, from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Patriots Park on Route 9 on the Tarrytown-Sleepy Hollow line.

“We are looking forward to a really exciting season,” said Suzanne Sorrentino, co-president of Rivertowns Village Green, the volunteer organization that runs the market. “Shoppers will notice a huge expansion in the number of vendors with exciting additions for everyone.”

“Last year’s favorite vendors are returning and we have added the fun, the funky and the fundamental,” Sorrentino said. “In addition to abundant produce, eggs, meat, cheese, breads and desserts, this year the TaSH is filling some gaps like mushrooms and goat cheese. Shoppers will also be able to fill up their growlers from the farm brew beer truck, and try some new products like artisanal Asian dumplings. Plus a lot more.”

Each week around 20 weekly vendors will sell everything you need for the perfect weekend dinner party or BBQ, as well as the bulk of your staples for the week. In addition to the weekly vendors, a list of a dozen or so different vendors will rotate through each week to keep things interesting. Shoppers will want to return every Saturday to stock up and try new and interesting artisanal, sustainable and locally grown and made products.

A huge percentage of TaSH vendors are growing and making their products right here in Westchester County. “That’s local,” Sorrentino said. The full and expanding list of vendors can be reviewed on the TaSH website: tashfarmersmarket.org.

Opening Day will feature music from Westchester County favorites, Andrea and the Armenian Rug Riders.

“The music on Opening Day and throughout the season will once again take place in the “Green” in the center of the market, creating a wonderful transportive vibe that makes The TaSH unique,” said Tammy Abraham, co-president of Rivertowns Village Green. “Every Saturday, we’ll have two acts perform on the main stage — bringing a wide range of styles throughout the 26-week season. Shoppers can bring a blanket, find a park bench, grab some food…and enjoy!”

Something else exciting this season is the TaSH is doubling down on its education efforts. Activities at the market from kids’ events to chef demos and “TaSH Talks” will be tied to themes, including soil, crops, animals, and farmers and the community.

The first “TaSH Talk” is scheduled for May 17 before the start of the market. Westchester farmers will participate in a panel discussion and Q&A about the importance of buying and eating local and the community is invited to meet them.

The TaSH also made new alliances this winter in an effort to spread the word that the TaSH is accessible to low-income shoppers.

Community organizations such as Open Door Family Medical Centers, Family Services of Westchester and the Community Food Pantry of Sleepy Hollow and Tarrytown are helping the TaSH inform shoppers who use WIC and SNAP benefits that they can use them at the market.

Through the TaSH’s “Double Bucks” program, recipients of SNAP or food stamps benefits will have the value of their benefits doubled at the market.

SNAP recipients just need to stop by the TaSH tent at the market to swipe their benefits cards, and they will receive tokens doubling their dollars to use to shop at the market. That means for every $20 in SNAP benefits spent, shoppers will get $40 in tokens to spend at the market.

“The Westchester Community Foundation has been supporting this program, and we are so grateful,” Sorrentino said.

Food pantry shoppers should also look out for more information to come about market coupons, Sorrentino said.

In addition, veterans should contact their veterans’ administration offices for Fresh Connect checks that can be used at the market, and low-income seniors should check with their senior services workers about Farmers Market Nutrition Program checks, Sorrentino said.

Volunteers and community organizations interested in helping the TaSH in its ongoing effort to create a true “village green” in Patriots Park, are encouraged to reach out to the TaSH through its website or by email at tashfarmersmarket@gmail.com.

Information about upcoming childrens activities, music, educational activities and chef events can be found on the TaSH website, tashfarmersmarket.org, by following the TaSH on Facebook at theTaSHFM, or by signing up for the TaSH weekly newsletter.

Sunday Irvington Market

Expanding Yet Still Easy-going
Irvington’s Farmer’s Market opens on Sunday, June 5th, from 9 to 1:30, at the Main Street School and continuing with the relaxed vibe shoppers have come to appreciate. The market’s expansion will be enlivened with the inclusion of Sun Sprout Farm from Chester New York, Strudel Z from Hudson and the award-winning Bient Cuit Bakery from Brooklyn.

The message the Irvington Market is conyevying is: “Are you cooking yet?” As market director Pascale Le Draoulec says, “While we’ve had occasional cooking demos and market tours to show people what to do with say, a rutabaga, now we are committed to having a healthy cooking tent every week to showcase what’s at the market and broaden people’s kitchen horizons a bit. So many people are in the ‘salmon, ground beef and tomato rut.’ The abundance of choice can be so overwhelming…We want to help!”

Live music will be performed from the market’s opening to its closing. Quieter acoustic or chamber music will be featured in the mornings, while llivelier music will close the market in the afternoon hours. With the opportunity to bike or walk to the market from the Old Croton Aqueduct Trail a popular feature, market organizers are bringing in more outdoor furniture for people to sit back and enjoy a Dough Nation wood-fired pizza or just settle down and listen to music during or after market shopping.

LeDraoulec noted,“This is the year we settle into our switch to Sundays and establish ourselves as the laid-back destination market where you can not only shop for the week but decompress from the week.”

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