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Jul 1, 2019 1:58 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Locals Choosing Local At East End Farmers Markets

Patricia Milligan standing besides Balsam Farm Stand's bus. GARY GHAYRAT
Jul 9, 2019 2:20 PM

What can one buy at a farmers market on the East End? Vegetables, fruit, kombucha, honey, ice cream, flowers, dog food—and the list goes on and on.

Many villages and hamlets across the East End host their very own farmers markets from late spring to fall. Most are growing in size each year and continuing to support the businesses, people and communities of Long Island, especially those on the East End.

Westhampton Beach, Sag Harbor and Springs are just three communities that host Saturday farmers markets, bringing out the masses with promises of live music, fresh food and a chance to support small businesses in the region.

Westhampton Beach 
Farmers Market

From May to November, it’s on at Village Green in Westhampton Beach.

This year, the Westhampton Beach Farmers Market, which is held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays, is taking the community event to another level, offering live music and more vendors than ever.

“Everything is local,” Ari Goodman, the president of the Westhampton Beach Chamber of Commerce, said. “First of all, it’s better for the environment, because of transportation. It’s very healthy for you, and it supports the economy.”

Juliet Labadorf, a local resident, is a fan of the farmers market for those reasons.

“I love supporting the local artists and the farms that are a part of the community, and it’s also a beautiful thing. It’s very community oriented, and the food is delicious, and it feels good to be part of it,” Ms. Labadorf said.

Among the farms that came to sell their locally grown produce was Sang Lee Farms of Peconic, which has been coming to the Westhampton Beach farmers market for about 10 years.

Lucy Senesac of Sang Lee Farms enjoys coming to the farmers market every year to educate the local community about the produce they are selling, how to cook it, and how to know when the produce is in season. According to Ms. Senesac, there is quite a difference between fresh produce and produce bought from a grocery store, both in taste and knowing how it was grown.

“It’s good at markets, because we can explain all that. But I think at stores you don’t really get to see the faces behind your food—so that’s the beauty in markets as well,” Ms. Senesac said.

Even dogs can get something to eat at the farmers market. Natural Hounds, a St. James-based company that sells fresh and all-natural dog food, offered samples for guests to bring home to their pets.

“It’s definitely been good. This is the best market that we’ve done,” said Connor Wooley, a founding owner of Natural Hounds. “We’re from St. James. This is our first year here, so people have been getting to know us.”

Sag Harbor 
Farmers Market

Locals gather at Bay Street and Burke Street on Saturday mornings from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. for the fresh produce, groceries and other local items sold at the Sag Harbor Farmers Market. The market is open all summer and into the early fall, ending in October.

Mary Woltz, the founder and owner of Sag Harbor based Bees’ Needs, has been coming to the market since 2007, selling honey and honey-based products. “It’s the only market that I do, because most of my time is spent with the bees,” Ms. Woltz said, smiling.

The name, Bees’ Needs, is based on the fact that “the bees’ needs come first.” Only the surplus is harvested, meaning that no one has to feel guilty about stealing from the bees. Ms. Woltz founded the company is 2007 and has been devoted to helping honeybees since 2002.

“We lost over half of our colonies in the late ’80s, and no bees, no food, really,” Ms. Woltz said. “Bees are responsible for one in three bites of food that we eat. So without the bees, we would not only be without food, we would be without the vitamins and minerals provided by the vegetables and fruits that they pollinate.”

Ms. Woltz has enjoyed coming to the farmers market to have conversations with community members about the importance of buying local. She said that she has experienced “tremendous support” from the community since the beginning.

Tom Hungen, representing Wölffer Estate Vineyard, based in Sagaponack, believes that the wines, rosé, cider and other products represent not only the feel of the area but its inhabitants and its past.

“It interprets partially the elegance of the area, partially the history and the farming and the real people,” Mr. Hungen said. “This area has always had a balance of an expensive summer community and a down-to-earth, year-round working population, and this [Wölffer Estate Vineyard products] encompasses both of that.”

Farmers Market

Over at Springs Farmers Market, which is held at 780 Springs-Fireplace Road in East Hampton on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. through Labor Day weekend, regional businesses are highlighted as well.

Terra Nut, based in West Babylon, makes small, nutrient dense snacks that are 100 percent vegan, and gluten- and soy-free. J.C., a representative of the company, who goes by his initials, said that the nut-based snacks will stabilize blood sugar, satisfy hunger and provide an energy boost.

The company also sells CBD oil and utilizes the CBD hemp oil in one of its bars.

“I believe CBD is the wave of the future, as well as eating organic, non GMO and exercise,” J.C. said.

He also noted the importance of supporting local businesses, like the one he was representing.

“My opinion is that you’re supporting local families and businesses and not supporting the big, conglomerate corporations,” he said. “You’re supporting families—families feeding families. And I feel that when these products are made by these families, they’re made with love.”

A bus from Balsam Farm Stand in Amagansett, located down the road, brings its fresh produce to sell to the local community.

“This market is really fun, and they always have live music and a good crowd here,” Patricia Milligan, an employee at Balsam Farm Stand, said as she was packing up the bus at the end of the market. She added: “It’s good to be here. We’re right down the road, but we still do the farmers market to be part of the community.”

Other Farmers Markets

There are many farmers markets across the East End that support local businesses.

In the East Hampton area, the East Hampton Farmers Market runs on Fridays, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., at 136 North Main Street through September.

The Montauk Farmers Market runs on Thursdays, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., at Village Green through September 12.

In the Southampton area, the Southampton Farmers Market is located at 25 Jobs Lane and runs on Sundays, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., through October.

The Good Ground Farmers Market in Hampton Bays is held at 84 West Montauk Highway on Thursdays, from 3 to 7 p.m. through August 29.

The Flanders Farm Fresh Youth Farmers Market begins in July, starting on Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 655 Flanders Road, ending in October.

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