Fri, May 21, 2021, 10:35 a.m.
The program had “groundbreaking” 2020
By Joshua Maloni
GM / Managing Editor
When Lewiston Artisan Farmers Market returns to Academy Park this summer, customers will find more vendors, a return of activity, and the addition of a notable staple from the village: Orange Cat Coffee Co.
“In the past few years we have seen the Artisan Farmers Market grow and become a bustling little town center and we were so happy to have this addition to our village atmosphere,” said Michael Broderick, owner of Orange Cat. “Because the market is really focused on locally produced goods and businesses, it differs from many other markets around WNY.
“When we were asked to re-join this year, we decided to move on in hopes of continuing to help demonstrate the value of community-based businesses and events. Lewiston has always been a very special place and this market is a perfect fit for many of our farmers and artisans and is a wonderful way to meet the needs of the larger community that supports it. “
Market organizer Jamie Symmonds of Willow Consulting said, “I have music that comes back. You will see quite a few musicians there throughout the season. And I’m also bringing back fitness classes in the park. Embody Health & Wellness, which did the first two years, is coming back this year. There is a class in the park on the second and third Saturday of each month. “
She noted, “This year we have 18 full-time salespeople, which is the best we’ve ever had.” Symmonds also expects more than two dozen part-time providers. “I can say we have absolutely more vendors so far this year and there are currently several outstanding.”
The Lewiston Artisan Farmers Market will be open on Saturdays from June 5th to October 9th from 9am to 1pm on the Portage Road side of Academy Park. It will be relocated across the street to Griffon House on the weekend of the Peach Festival (September 11th).
Symmonds continues to work with the county health authorities to determine the final layout and how products will be displayed. Last year, customers could not handle products due to coronavirus security restrictions.
“As the guidelines are constantly changing at this point, I would ask people to keep in mind that farmers’ markets have their own guidelines that we must adhere to,” she said. “If people have any questions, they can contact me directly. I will try to post it on our social media sites with the information. Or they can come to the information booth in the market if they have any questions about this as we are all trying to move through this time – because it can be a challenge – and I just ask that everyone be patient with us as we try to us adapt as we move. “
Scenes from the past few years at the Lewiston Artisan Farmers Market.
Surprising success in 2020
Not even a global pandemic could slow Symmonds.
She resumed the Lewiston Artisan Farmers Market last summer despite countless events, festivals and concerts being canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak.
“I was once a small company myself and, to be honest, kept thinking to myself: ‘What if I still had this small company today? How would that have affected my business – my life? ‘And it was important to me to give people the opportunity to still have a place to go,’ she said. “I know people were grateful. …
“I think for me it is the other side of this pandemic if I have helped them just a little, whether it was just my market again or whether they found a few markets that they can now use for their business and be successful It’s worth it for me – and for the overall success of the market. With these additional providers, it’s good for everyone. “
Symmonds said customers were happy with the security measures of the market, the organization of the dealers – heck, only doing something on Saturdays.
“I think the suppliers saw the appreciation of the buyers and the customers who came and told me how happy the new customers were – especially because many new people found our market – how grateful they were in the village Lewiston, ”she said. “Some people didn’t even notice we were there. This in turn opened a whole new door for people who find us and know about us, which in turn is great for the sellers. I think people were happy – and they were happy with the overall experience of the market. “
Broderick said, “Many (or most) vendors and growers do not have physical, stationary locations that are open to the public. With concerts and festivals canceled last year, the market became a much more important way to sell their wares. Some of them are focused on opening a physical location at some point while others are trying to keep mobile sales going. Regardless of their direction, many of them saw years of growth and suddenly began to worry that their businesses might not survive at the start of the pandemic.
“In response, we have seen firsthand how Lewiston Artisan Farmers Market has worked diligently to create a safe environment for all of its customers while providing a much-needed point of sale for many of their suppliers. Navigation was a complex business environment and we know how much that meant to so many. “
Scenes from years gone by at the Lewiston Artisan Farmers Market.
Market (ing) Lewiston
Speaking to the Village Board this week, Elizabeth Freck-Belen of Thymes Right Organic said, “I’ve been there from the start. I think it’s a very important part of this community. We get members who go from the village to the market. We have outsiders coming into the Lewiston market. We are now very well established. We demand that people have locally grown, locally produced things. It supports small businesses. It brings people to the village when it is usually a sleepy little town on Saturday mornings. And then they stay. They shop in our stores and also eat in our restaurants after they hit the market. “
Sonora Miller and her husband Eran Colbus run the Beegotten Farm. She told the trustees that the farmers market was “alive”.
“It’s really exciting,” said Miller. “Last year, for example, I only had people – remember, this is COVID – who drove from Boston and stayed in Lewiston, specifically to market. They went on a market road trip. Then I had people from Chicago. So we get local and we get very distant people who all eat their meals out, stay in the B & Bs and come to Lewiston village for that. “
Ray Wendling of North Ridge Distillery will be a full time salesman this summer. He said, “In 2020 we wanted to start out as part time sellers and see how our products were received by the people of Lewiston. Based on the reactions of our customers to our products, it became clear that we wanted to become a full-time supplier in the Lewiston market in 2021. “
Symmonds said, “Lewiston is a unique experience. It’s more of a sense of community that I’ve heard from a lot of different people – not just from the providers – which is why they like to come and come back every year. But buyers, customers come back. It’s an experience. It’s not just about, “I’ll run, grab my fruits and vegetables and go out.” People come, see their neighbors, see friends; Enjoy the park activities that we can bring back this year. they bring their pets; they spend time; they get a sandwich for breakfast; get a coffee; they sit on the benches; They enjoy the park. It’s a real experience and I think that’s what sets us apart from other farmers’ markets. “
Further information can be found at https://www.facebook.com/lewistonartisanmarket.