Poor Attendance At Croton Farmers Market Prompts Proposed Move

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Poor attendance at the Croton farmers market is prompting organizers to rethink the time and location.
Poor attendance at the Croton farmers market is prompting organizers to rethink the time and location. Photo Credit: Jessica Glenza

CROTON-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. – Croton farmers market operators are looking for a new day and place to run the weekly seasonal market because of dwindling shopper attendance.

The expiration of a contract with the village opened negotiations with market operators, Down To Earth.  However, village officials balked at some of the proposals made by Down To Earth’s owner, at a Monday evening meeting.

"We’re sort of on the cusp of whether this is financially feasible," said Miriam Haas, owner of Down To Earth.

"In response to the loss of vendors, there has been a steady erosion of our customer base. Vendors are wondering if Croton is a community that will support them," said a Down To Earth report given to village officials.

The same report showed waning attendance. In one notable example, 648 shoppers attended the 12th week of the farmers market in 2010 and 258 shoppers attended the market in the same week in 2012.

Attempting to stymie the poor numbers, Haas proposed operating the market on Fridays instead of Wednesdays, operating one hour later and moving the market.

Currently, the summer market is open Wednesdays from 1:30 to 6:30 p.m., May to November in a village-owned lot at the corner of Municipal Place and South Riverside Avenue.

Even if the market operates in the current location on Fridays, village officials balked at adding an extra hour to the market because of the possibility of disrupting parking for summer concerts at Senasqua Park.

Some Village Board Members proposed collecting additional revenue from the market.

Trustee Kevin Davis suggested the market pay more than the current $75 per market day for use of the village's lot at Municipal Place and Riverside Avenue. The village does not otherwise create revenue from the lot. The $1,950 in annual revenue from the market represents 0.03 percent of the village's annual $6,041,361 non-tax revenue.

Haas said Down To Earth can’t afford to give the village more money and continue to operate in Croton. She said some towns and villages don't charge Down To Earth for market spaces.

"Our understanding is that the village wants a farmers market, but if they don't, that's something we need to discuss," said Frankie Rowland, spokesperson for Down To Earth.

"We're really looking to the village to see if there's a way to have a viable farmers market," said Rowland.

Down To Earth first proposed planting the market in the upper village, on Old Post Road South between Grand Street and the entrance to Vassallo Park. This location would cause Old Post Road South to close and police presence would be required. Haas said the village would have to incur the costs, as the market could not support the expense.

Board members expressed concern about the proposal, saying that Old Post Road South is a major thoroughfare in the village.

The second proposed location, on Benedict Boulevard between South Riverside Avenue and Young Avenue, appeared to be a non-starter. A Westchester County bus route runs through the location.

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Comments (10)

A different company should run Croton's market. This company started this market to fend off competition with its Saturday cash cow in Ossining - which is FILLED with Croton shoppers. Others were starting to organize in Croton when she jumped in. Any other company would have started in Croton at a better time. And because it is a midweek/midday market, none of the choice vendors want to be there - they save their trips for weekends. So we get stuck with redundancy and weak offerings. Vendors are wondering if Croton is a community that will support them??? Not an honest argument - Let someone else run a Croton market when people are home, and watch what happens.

A fish merchant and a butcher might draw more shoppers!

In my opinion the day is a big issue. Running the market during the day on a Wednesday means that those of us who work full time can never go. I have been dying to be a regular visitor since it started, but I've only been able to go once, and that was because it was the day before Thanksgiving and I had the day off work. A weekend day is the only feasible time for weekday workers to visit. I know I'll come then, if they change it.

Could it be the number of vendors and not the day? Is this a non profit or a business for profit? If it is a business for profit an increase from a weekly fee of $75 is not unreasonable. Hope to see the market continue at the current site mid week with more vendors!

Change the day & time. Saturday would work but you would not want to compete with Ossinning. Maybe Friday or Sunday?
I also agree that more diversity of the vendors is needed. Same products, does not cut it.

The substantiation of the day, Wednesday, and the time, 1:30-6:30 demonstrates that perhaps, just perhaps, another day and time should be considered. Perhaps a Saturday again. Where are the numbers from when the market was held at the indoor spot in the shopping plaza up the block and across from the current location? Poor substantiation...at best for sure.
Odd that Ossining, can make it happen, but we cannot. What do the numbers look like in Ossining? Has anyone investigated that and that town's dynamic, etc.?

I agree with 'representative' -- I find it hard to believe that they don't charge their vendors, thereby making money. As a person who works fulltime in the city, the timing just doesn't work. Aside from the fact that although I understand that local = more expensive we just don't have the disposable income to shop there.

What happened to the farmers market that was in the old video place? Is that owned by a different farmers market vendor?

We went nearly every week... until the vendors stopped showing consistently. The time/location never deterred us.

They need to get new vendors with more variety. Three farms with the same crops and two bakeries is not enough to keep us coming every week like we did in past years.

The Go-Go pops addition was great since it provided a treat for the kids in the summer, but they were I only there for about three weeks that I saw.

It sounds like a threat to me.I think anyplace should charge them.They are a business and if what rep. says is true,what is their problem?

They charge their vendors more than $75/day to be at the market. I can't see how they can claim that being charged $75/day is too much for them.