Hidden Gems at the CNY Regional Market
Central New York is rich with agriculture and business. Every Saturday morning, the people behind CNY’s success in these areas come together at the CNY Regional Market. The regional market is a great reflection of what makes CNY the unique place that it is.
Tucked away behind Destiny USA are four long buildings that fill up with vendors and visitors Saturday mornings. Fresh baked breads, pastas, produce and fish make up a majority of what vendors are selling. Nestled within all of the fruits and vegetables and flowers are emerging local businesses, both big and small.
Ithaca Hummus Co. is a young business that has been visiting the market only since June of this summer. They come to the regional market with all of their products that include lemon garlic, lemon dill and spicy chipotle. Ithaca Hummus sets up a table at the end of a regional market building with all three flavors available for sampling.
Adric Garlick comes all the way from Ithaca to be at the market by 7 a.m. “We come for the sales and to develop more awareness. We want people to try our product,” he said. They had started going to the Ithaca Farmer’s market when they decided to extend to the CNY Regional Market as well. You can buy Ithaca Hummus Co. outside of the regional market at Natur-tyme, P&C Fresh, Syracuse Real Food Co-Op and other local food retailers.
Outside of the typical food products is B. Clean Soapery. Owner Carla Fisher has been making all-natural soaps, lotions and other body care products since 2012. She started bringing her products to the regional market two years ago when she paired up with Witty Wick candles. Witty Wick sells handmade, soy candles from Syracuse and the two companies started sharing some space at the market. Fisher’s business benefits from the exposure and the loyal customers. But, she said she really enjoys getting to know who her customers are and the sense of community they bring. “Your son’s football coach will come and buy soap from you. It’s nice,” she said.
Central New York is home to many wineries and distilleries, many of whom show up to the regional market. Adirondack Distilleries is one of those distilleries who doles out samples to those old enough to taste as early as 7:00 a.m. Adirondack Distilleries’ most popular sale is their vodka, but they recently released a bourbon that they’ve been testing at the regional market. Bruce Elwell is one of a two person team handing out samples. He said he enjoys using the market to get customers to try their products and to learn about them.
Most businesses have only been attending the market for two or three years , but the regional market is also a place for established businesses. Forty Weight Coffee Roasters comes every Saturday from Ithaca and it is currently on its fourth year of attendance. Forty Weight Coffee sells bagged coffees, both ground and unground, sourced from small farms in a variety of locations. “I enjoy the market as a social outlet. After being in the roastery all week, coming to the market gives me time to interact with customers and friends,” said owner Andrew Ballard. Some of the company’s first sales were made at the CNY regional market back in 2010. Ballard understands that his business may have out grown the market and doesn’t need the sales it provides as much as they enjoy interacting with their customers and delivering to their loyal, repeat customers at the regional market.
CNY is also home to plenty of farms that produce more than just fruits and vegetable. Wake Robin Farms is a dairy farm based in Jordan, New York and has been attending the market on and off for over 15 years. The family farm has handed down responsibility through the years and has become a part of family traditions. The regional market has taken its place in this family tradition as well. “We enjoy connecting with the people who buy our products and providing for our customers,” said Meg Schader, one-third of the workforce for Wake Robin Farms. Each week, their market table is loaded with a variety of cheeses, yogurts and milk, all created start to finish on their Jordan farm. They also make sales from the stand on the farm, which has all of the same products they provide every Saturday.
All of these businesses are only a small taste of who attends the market weekly. There isn’t anything much better than being able to support local businesses in their efforts to involve the CNY community. Purchasing from any of the vendors at the market supports local commerce, and you can guarantee the freshness of your purchases. Fisher of B. Clean Soapery said, “It’s a great place to connect with the people who buy your product, to get to know them and to keep them coming back.”