By Eva Potter
Prepare your taste buds for fresh, local foods coming soon to the Ellicottville Farmers’ Market. Starting June 22, and every Friday thereafter, you can purchase produce and goods from local farmers and food producers in the parking lot of the United Church of Ellicottville, 53 Elizabeth St., from 2–6 p.m. rain or shine.
The Ellicottville Farmers’ Market enjoyed a highly successful first year in 2011 and vendors are looking forward to another great year in 2012. Under the REAP (Rural Enterprises Association of Proprietors) Farmers’ Market umbrella, a member-supported non-profit organization that has served the area for over 20 years, the Ellicottville market will be selling locally grown and raised products at fair market prices.
Instead of purchasing produce that travels in shipping containers for many miles over several days, this neighborhood farmers’ market gives residents and visitors easy access to freshly harvested fruit, vegetables, maple products, meat, eggs, honey, plants, herbs, baked goods, dairy products and handmade craft items from local counties (two in New York and two in Pennsylvania). Very few products sold at the farmers’ market are purchased from outside sources, but all are procured within the four county area. With at least five vendors on site every week, customers will be able to choose from a variety of products.
Fruit will be available this summer, but probably not in the same abundance as last year. Don Wilder, vice president of REAP and owner of Wild Acres Family Farm, said, “Fruit is going to be tough this year with the freezes and everything. It’s going to be tough to get fruit that’s local. I know I won’t be having any pears or apples this year from my own orchard.”
Ellicottville Farmers’ Market vendors include: Don Wilder, Wild Acres Family Farm (eggs, meat, fruit and flowers); Jason Keyes, Christian Hollow Farms ( fruit and flowers); Canticle Farm (produce); Barb Andera, Andera Farms (baked goods, breads and pies); John Balecki, From the Good Earth (unique plants); Doug and Sharon Bushnell (afghans); and Elizabeth Kuhn (baked goods and vegetables). The list of participating vendors is not finalized at this time.
The Ellicottville Farmers’ Market will accept FMNP (Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program) checks for Seniors and WIC, cash and checks. Whether the market will be able to accept EBT and debit cards has not been determined yet. Annie Widger, organizer of the Ellicottville Food Pantry, said clients could also use their vouchers to purchase fresh produce at the market.
Emma Klepp is this year’s market manager. Thrilled with last year’s success, she is looking for a market assistant to help her this summer, saying the job would be “perfect for a young college student or even high school student.”
“I’m hoping we can successfully find another young person to help work the farmers’ market,” she said. Interested parties can call the United Church of Ellicottville at (716) 699-4003 for more information.
Wilder said, “We’re very pleased that the church is sponsoring this farm market out in their parking lot and the dedication they’ve got e to make it work. It complements their food pantry.”
Shopping at your local farmers’ market helps strengthen the regional economy and the money goes directly back to the producer, while you save gas and improving your eating habits.
“Us growers really enjoy working with the people. I don’t go necessarily to make a lot of money. I enjoy meeting the people from year to year. It’s like a big family,” said Wilder, who has been part of the local farmers’ market scene for over 20 years. “Most people appreciate what we’re growing and what we’re trying to provide for them, too.”
Support your local food producers and meet the special people who grow fresh, nutritious food, as well as other vendors selling delicious goodies and household products. If growing conditions cooperate, the market will be open through September and possibly into October.