We missed the busiest days of the Ithaca Farmers Market at their main location, but settled for a visit to the Dewitt Park location to meet the farmers. After our visit, we stopped to see the set up of the main market at Steamboat Landing.

Alex Jackman greeted us at his stand with lots of interesting items. He sold two different ‘mixed quarts’ of tomatoes. One was an heirloom salad mix with lots of different varieties of different shapes and colors. The other quart was a ‘Plum, Sauce Mix’ – also of different colors. What a great way to market the plethora of tomato varieties available today. He was also the only person we saw today who was selling green tomatoes ($1 each). These seem to be a big hit. We forgot to note earlier today we encountered customers asking for green tomatoes at other markets.

Organic grower Trevor Sherman used the market to not only sell his produce, but to promote his community Supported Agriculture (CSA) business.

Mary McGarry-Newman from Buried Treasures Organic Farm shared her organic certification from the Northeast Organic Farming Association of NY.  She and her husband grow several crops from garlic to potatoes to cabbage and carrots. She worked with the NY State Department of Agriculture on the rebate program for certification.  She encouraged us to stay for the Saturday market – but it’s off to NYC for the Green Market and other ventures!  We did visit the market site at Steamboat Landing.  The art show ladies greeted us to show us the facility. It’s a 37 year old open air facility with a rustic touch and metal roof.  Even boaters can stop at the landing for fresh produce.  Excellent bike parking was available, a great resource for the large population of bicyclists in the area.

What we learned:

-The mixed baskets of colorful tomato varieties were a big hit!  They are meeting the needs of smaller families and introducing ‘ideas’ for using the products!!!

-The market was growers only – no resellers.  The market has an inspection program to prevent resellers from bringing down the prices of products.

-There was a large showing of organic products at this market.

-One market can sustain two different locations successfully, providing more produce to the local community and more opportunities for farmers to sell during the busy part of the growing season.