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New Rochelle Mulls Moving Farmers Market Day

Councilman Ivar Hyden would like to see the farmers market on Saturday in the downtown area.

New Rochelle Mulls Moving Farmers Market Day

There could be a different day—more even days—where fresh and prepared foods can be purchased in New Rochelle in a farmers market-type setting.

Councilman Ivar Hyden, D-District 4, said at a recent City Council meeting he has been working on the idea of a Saturday market in downtown New Rochelle.

"Having a market on a Friday greatly reduces the number of people who can take advantage of it," he said. "The better idea is to have a market on Saturday when more people would be able to attend."

The current farmers market, which is closed for the season, is run by Down to Earth—formerly known as Community Markets—and had set up vendors on Fridays on Library Green.

Hyden said he has been speaking with downtown businesses, as well as Ralph DiBart who heads the New Rochelle Downtown Business Improvement District and Barbara Davis, the community relations coordinator for the New Rochelle Public Library, and there is interest in the idea.

"We would like to increase the size of the market," Hyden said, and add prepared foods and ethnic foods, for example.

The Friday market in New Rochelle had five vendor for the 2012 season. The Larchmont farmers market, which is operated by Down to Earth, is on Saturday and has 20 vendors, according to Miriam Haas, founder of the organization.

Another possible component of his plan, Hyden said, was a smaller market on Wednesdays at the train station.

He said that one could feature prepared foods that commuters could buy after they get off the train and before they go home.

Hyden said he was also concerned that having back to back farmers markets would deplete the number of customers overall unless they offered different things.

Councilwoman Shari Rackman, D-District 1, said many of her constituents would not want to see the Friday farmers market shut down. She wondered if it were possible to open a location in the north end of the city.

Haas said her organization had been interested in having something at Ward Acres.

"One of the things we consider is visibility," she said, which was not readily available at that location.

Two of the three farmers who sell in New Rochelle now would not be able to switch to Saturdays because of other obligations, Haas said.

She said the market on Friday has grown. 

"This year we had 200 people more than last year," Haas said.

She was worried that relocating the market would mean the current client base would not make the trip.

"The market downtown in New Rochelle has a large following," she said. "People walk there, and get there without using a car."

Haas said she is not averse to having a market in the north end on Fridays, when asked by Mayor Noam Bramson.

He said it would be good to make Friday and Saturday markets work in a way they are not competing with each other.

"As a potential operator, you have to be satisfied," Bramson said to Haas, and the vendors have to be satisfied as well.

City Manager Charles Strome III said a decision would need to be made by the end of the year so contracts can be issued.

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