Greenport kicks off first winter market at the ice house

New Homes For Farmers Markets

Independent/Gianna Volpe

East End locavores unite! Not only has the Riverhead indoor winter farmers market found a new home at 54 E. Main Street— and a new director in Lucy Senesac of Sang Lee Farms — but Greenport has kicked off its inaugural winter market at the ice house at 414 First Street.

The Greenport market may be held there on weekends year-round, according to the market’s board of directors. “We’ve been thinking about a winter market for a while,” board member Lily Dougherty-Johnson said. Market vendor Alice’s Fish Market owns the building and was looking to lease it to a new tenant, while the market was seeking out a new location. “It fell into our lap in that way. We’re hoping to stay there for the summer also,” she added.

Roughly two dozen vendors can be found peddling wares there each weekend with participating vendors varying daily. Turophiles may delight in tasting Cornell University-made New York Cheddar at the booth for Shelter Island’s King Andrew Cheese, and find wines to pair with it from Surrey Lane and Suhru, while vegans can nosh on the biodynamic greens grown by KK’s The Farm.

KK’s Ira Haspel said their booth is currently stocked with baby red Russian and Toscano kale, Swiss chard, baby lettuce, spicy mixed greens with three different kind of mustard, arugula, potatoes, carrots, garlic, and a few other goodies, which Haspel added will continue to be offered if the temps stay out of the single digits for two consecutive weeks.

Sang Lee powers the produce element at Riverhead’s market, and Senesac ultimately resurrected the Saturday event with the help of Long Island Greenmarket, after the Riverhead Business Improvement District Management Association voted last year to discontinue it.

Independent/Gianna Volpe

“No one really approached me. I sort of took it on because it was going to disappear,” Senesac said. “It required a lot of extra money because of the rent being high — for a winter market you have to pay for indoor space — so when it was in danger of just falling by the wayside, I said, ‘Okay, let me try to find someone that can help us keep it going.’” That person ended up being Bernadette Martin from Long Island Greenmarket Inc., whom Senesac said has since empowered her as the “person on the ground” in Riverhead while Martin tends to a new health food store in Long Beach.

More than 40 vendors can be found at this bustling Saturday market, and those who don’t wish to travel to Greenport will be relieved to know that some vendors attend both farmers markets. With booths selling wine and cheese, meats, hot sauces, sweets, hand-woven clothing, and pet supplies, there is no shortage of ways one can shop local, listen to live music, and meet new people through the winter, when social events are scarce.

This is exactly what brought Hampton Bays resident Robert Curreri of Robert’s Bakestand out of the kitchen after 35 years as a chef and into Riverhead to participate in his very first farmers market.

“My hope for this winter is to get as much exposure as possible,” Curreri said Saturday from a booth he shares with homemade soup-seller Aki’s Kitchen, an idea both businesses cooked up while working from the South Fork Kitchen’s food incubator at Stony Brook Southampton. “I’ve gotten to meet so many people by doing this,” he said, adding Riverhead’s market has been an ideal spot for him to spend money as well as make it. “I can just come to work and then go shopping,” Curreri said with a smile.

Just across the aisle, Rachel Stephens of Sweet Woodland Farm said she’s been doing “amazingly well” so far at the East Main Street location this winter. “I do other markets and I’m doing far better at this one than any of my other markets,” said Stephens, who heads up The Ecological Culture
Initiative based in Hampton Bays.

The Riverhead Farmers Market takes place at 54 E. Main Street on Saturdays from 10 AM to 2 PM. The Greenport Farmers Market is located at 414 First Street and is open from 9 AM to 2 PM on Saturdays and 11 AM to 3 PM on Sundays. There’s more information available at www.ligreenmarket.org/riverhead and www.greenportfarmersmarket.com.