Photo Gallery | Final winter farmers market of the season at Boys & Girls Club
PITTSFIELD — Downtown Pittsfield Farmers Market enjoyed steady traffic at its final indoors event Saturday, while the last bits of snow were melting away outside, but organizers' minds went to the future.
Jess Conzo, director of the Alchemy Initiatives, which runs the market, said, "There's still a huge potential to grow" the market as it once again takes to the outdoors and the grass on The Common on First Street on May 14.
The market stayed open year-round for the first time in 2015-16, making its winter home at the Boys & Girls Club, where Saturday's event was held.
Traffic at the market remained steady Saturday and throughout the winter. So many vendors wanted in that a waiting list eventually had to be established.
Such events support the farming economy in the off season, as Saturday's vendors confirmed.
"This has taken some stress off of us," Cameron Hastie, co-owner of Trusted Roots Farm in New Lebanon, N.Y., said. "It's exceeded our expectations and we've really enjoyed being a part of it."
She added, "It's taken the pressure off us so we don't have to fully rely on our [community supported agriculture] income."
Hastie was selling spinach, baby lettuce, micro-greens and assorted root vegetables at Saturday's market.
Donna Hamson, co-owner of Balderdash Cellars on East Street, on the other hand, supplied market-goers with cheer and spirits in the form of 15 different blends of wine.
"We've been with the indoor market since the day it started," she said. "It's been a great way for us to expand our business, a stepping stone to reach new people out in the local community."
She added, "And, besides, it's just fun."
Of the indoors market, Conzo said, "We saw a lot of new faces. Hopefully, many of these people will carry over and come see us in the summer."
Spillover from Boys & Girls Club events provided an automatic customer base for the indoors market.
Conzo said the outdoor market will continue on the common every Saturday through October 15 with a "robust schedule," before it once again moves indoors.
The first event, on May 14, will feature the Mayor's Fitness Challenge, an activity where teams plan out healthy eating and exercise routines and attempt to stick by them.
Every edition of the outdoor farmers market will also feature live music from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Chef demonstrations and workshops, taste tests and classes on "how to shop on a budget" are just some of the other features planned for the outdoor farmers market season.
"We're looking forward to the added educational component," Conzo said.
Contact Phil Demers at 413-496-6214.