NECC Farmers Market now indoors
MILLERTON — Now that the New Year has arrived with winter in tow, the North East Community Center’s (NECC) Millerton Farmers Market has moved its operations indoors. It’s also soliciting local input to see what changes at the market might be beneficial.
Considering how the Farmers Market fared during the 2021 fall season, Market Manager John Nowak said that NECC experienced its own recovery from COVID-19 in 2021.
It helped that NECC was able to host some activities outside when the weather was nice and mild, which it couldn’t have done when COVID-19 regulations were extremely strict. Those include various children’s events at the market and the popular annual Dog Days of Summer held in the summer.
In November, the Millerton Farmers Market shifted its vendors from outdoors at Veterans Park into the comfort of the Millerton Methodist Church. The church is located at 6 Dutchess Ave., at the corner of Main Street across from Irving Farm coffeehouse.
In addition to its eight regular vendors, Nowak said the market is now able to house new vendors since it doesn’t have to maintain as great a social distance as it did last year. That, of course, could change as the virus numbers continue to fluctuate.
To that end, Nowak remarked on how the market was only allowed half as many vendors as it would have liked in 2021 due to pandemic restrictions.
For 2022, Nowak said the market has vendor space (most are local vendors); a space for incoming artisans; a community table for local nonprofits (such as Hudson River Housing and Sunday in the Country Food Drive); and a spot for performers to perform at open-mic events. The market will also hold contests, offer food samples and other amenities it previously wasn’t able to offer when the pandemic was at its height.
“We’re happy to add those back to the market enhancements,” said a happy Nowak, “and we’re seeing a return of all our regular customers; we’re seeing a return of visitors to the area.”
As NECC considers different aspects people have asked about (such as schedule, location and vendors), Nowak said the community center will issue a survey in the region some time this month. Following the survey, he said NECC will likely make tweaks based on those results to benefit the community and enhance the shopping experience.
“To me, the market is for the community, so [it’s] whatever the community says,” Nowak said.
Asked what aspects he thinks might improve the Millerton Farmers Market, Nowak said he would like to offer more vendors, possibly a fish monger, a cheese vendor who sells goat cheese and more farmers who sell fresh vegetables.
NECC’s Millerton Farmers Market is open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. inside the Millerton Methodist Church on the second and fourth Saturday of each month through Saturday, April 23.