To The Editor:
The Potsdam Farmers Market had an exceptionally successful year in 2013. The market wishes first of all to thank the loyal customers who supported our local farmers and crafters, week after week, rain or shine. Your steady support promoted the philosophy of buying local, buying fresh, and supporting our local economy.
We would also like to thank Fred Hanss, director of Planning and Development, Mayor Yurgartis of the village of Potsdam, the Chamber of Commerce, and, of course, the Potsdam Farmers Market Board of Directors for all the support and guidance they provided. A special thank you also goes out to the generosity of Michelle and Dan Clemons of Dans Plumbing & Heating.
This year the market more than doubled in size; growing from 16 vendors last year to a total of 39 vendors this year. Although all 39 vendors were not necessarily present at the same time, they provided a wider variety of product and a longer season.
Speaking of having a longer season, we would like to take this time to thank the Potsdam VFW for hosting our Winter Market last year. Because of their generosity, we were able to continue to provide our customers with locally grown/produced products throughout the winter months.
The response from the community was so positive, that this year we forged a partnership with Clarkson University; who agreed to host the 2013-2014 Winter Market. By partnering with Clarkson, we now have more physical space and easier access, and thus are able to expand; featuring 20 vendors for this years Winter Market. The Winter Market runs every Saturday from 8:30 a.m. until noon. We plan to be in operation at Cheel Arena from now until we return outdoors in May.
The local universities were also instrumental in our day-to-day operations by taking part in a joint venture to provide interns to help operate and manage the market. Clarkson Universitys School of Business afforded us with the expertise of Garrison Cook, a senior at Clarkson, who managed the market from May through August of this year. He was instrumental in expanding the market and making it a point of destination rather than just a place to run a quick errand.
SUNY Potsdam was not to be out done, as they provided us with Alexa Stowe, a senior in the Community Health program. She spent countless hours helping to educate our consumers about the benefits of eating healthy and buying locally. She also was an invaluable resource for explaining various programs, which helped both senior citizens and those who used SNAP/Food Stamps.
Both interns worked closely with GardenShare, a nonprofit organization, to bring new dimension to the market.
Through grants and donations, GardenShare provided the market with an EBT machine so that consumers were able to purchase products via SNAP or through the use of debit cards. At our market, SNAP totals were 32% higher this year, than they were last year; this translates to the fact that more SNAP transactions lead to more healthy, locally grown food being consumed, and more income going to local producers. Thats a win-win situation for the north country.
Through the collaboration of GardenShare and our young interns, projects such as our monthly events, weekly entertainment and mini-demonstrations were all made possible. Heart-felt thanks, also goes out to Laura Poposki of GardenShare who gave endlessly of her time and expertise in the area of advertising and event planning.
As we continue to serve Potsdam and the surrounding towns throughout the winter months and into the 2014 season, we look forward to making the market even more successful for the coming year. Check out our web site at https://sites.google.com/site/thepotsdamfarmersmarket . If you have any suggestions, please feel free to contact us, or stop by Cheel Arena on Saturday mornings.
We thank you for your support and loyal patronage, and look forward to serving you in 2014. If you are a farmer or crafter and wish to join either the winter or regular season market, please contact the Market Manager by going on line and down loading an application. Again, we look forward to serving the North Country in the months ahead.
Manager of the Potsdam Farmers Market