by Suzanne Sorrentino
“What’s in season?” may be the most-asked question at the farmers market, but this year that simple query has lofty aims at the Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow Farmers Market.
Along with growing to more than 30 vendors per week — with a roster of more than 50 vendors, some who will rotate to keep things exciting — The TaSH kicks off with “What’s in Season?” or “Cosecha de la temporada?” It’s a season-long, interactive art and education project aimed at encouraging children to try new foods and understand where food comes from.
Each week, children of all ages and backgrounds, along with their families, will participate in the bilingual program where they will discover how seasonal foods grow, while they explore their look, taste and feel. Using their new insights, they will create a large poster that will be displayed at a local venue. Over the 26 weeks of the market season, the panels will add up to a harvest mural.
“This new initiative continues our mission to educate the community about nutrition and where food comes from, and to make the market approachable to all members of our villages,” said Angeline Montoya Powell, a director of Rivertowns Village Green, Inc., the 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that runs The TaSH farmers market. “It is an arts project that bridges cultures and provides hands-on education for children.”
The art project is the brainchild of Marsha Dunn, a Tarrytown resident and designer/graphic facilitator.
“What’s in Season?” is only one new initiative shoppers will discover when the market opens Saturday, May 27, in Patriots Park. The new initiatives build on the market’s mission of connecting residents with their food, farming and the environment and improving access to healthy, fresh local foods.
Here’s a taste of what’s new for everyone this season:
For Families & Kids
For families with children, there will be a more regular rotation of children’s activities every month, including a craft table led by Macaroni Kids on the first Saturday of every month; Pick-a-Book-Picnic story time series with the Warner Library on the second Saturday; an expedition with the Tarrytown Nature Club on the third Saturday; and kids’ yoga led by Leslie Seery on the fourth Saturday of the month.
The market will also host a Summer “BYOB” (Bring Your Own Blanket) Picnic Series on select dates throughout the season.
To help connect the dots from field to table, the TaSH is doing all the up front planning for shoppers. Riffing off the new art-education initiative, the TaSH will offer shopping lists, recipes from Chef Nancy Duran and sampling at the market all tied to what is freshest and most seasonal at the market.
Other activities to look for this season include cooking and nutrition demos coordinated with Open Door Family Medical Center and the return of “TaSH Talks” on topics such as the effects of climate on farming and food.
Shoppers will welcome back beloved vendors from previous seasons — some doubling their footprint — for a full complement of market offerings including fruits and vegetables, eggs, meats, cheese, baked goods, beer, wine, spirits and condiments from the farm, as well as ready to eat foods to enjoy on site.
The market will also fill in some gaps with items such as a steadier mushroom supply and more cold beverages for the dog days of summer. A wood-burning pizza truck will join the market mid-summer, plus many more novel additions (kombucha, artisanal ketchup and beef jerky).
Abundant free parking is available right across the street from the park at John Paulding School. There’s a pedestrian path at the bottom of Cobb Lane that offers a quick shortcut to the lot. And handicapped spaces are designated during market hours near the Route 9 park entrance.
The TaSH also continues its collaborations with the Community Food Pantry of Sleepy Hollow and Tarrytown, which contributes food tokens for its clients to use at the market; Green Tree Recycling, which helps remove used clothing from the waste stream; and Eat Local NY, which collects unsold produce at the market and distributes it to food-insecure families across Westchester.
Through those programs last year, $10,000 in tokens were distributed to low-income families to shop at the market; 3,000 pounds of old clothing were recycled; and 5,000 pounds of food were distributed to families in need.
The TaSH also continues to double the value of SNAP food stamps at the market and all eligible vendors accept WIC checks for young mothers and FreshConnect checks for veterans and their families, making the market accessible to a broad socio-economic segment of the community.
RVG, which runs the market, is proud of its accomplishments and its collaborations with local community groups, said Tammy Abraham, RVG co-president. Through the market last year, RVG presented 50 musical and performance acts; 25 local volunteer and nonprofit groups presented educational and cultural programming; and 40 educational and enrichment programs were offered for children.
The TaSH depends on vendor fees and support from the community to keep these efforts going. Businesses that are interested in sponsoring the market can email firstname.lastname@example.org. Individuals interested in making a tax-deductible donation to help support these efforts can visit tashfarmersmarket.org/support.
Check for updates and a full calendar of activities and events at tashfarmersmarket.org and sign up for the weekly newsletter and early notification of events. Follow the TaSH on Facebook and Instagram @theTaSHFM.
Suzanne Sorrentino is a co-president of Rivertowns Village Green, Inc.