While the rest of the county shut down, farmers’ markets were alive and well last year in Orange County, New York.
As an essential business during the COVID-19 pandemic, farmer’s markets across the country boomed last year with new foot traffic. The large number of farmers’ markets in Orange County were no exception.
Kristy Apostolides, the Orange County Agriculture and Farmland Protection Planning Board coordinator, shared how farmers’ markets served a need in dire times.
“it was wonderful because they were able to shop in a safe environment because it was outside,” she said. “I think people appreciated getting stuff from local providers.”
A farmers’ market not only provides economic and nutritional benefits for those who visit, but also creates a sense of community.
A Michigan State University report states that these markets “can act as an important ‘third place’ or gathering space in your community.”
Additionally, Alphonso Morales of the University of Wisconsin-Madison states that they “bring together disparate groups, exposing them to distinct interactions, renewing community spirit.”
“When you put a farmers’ market into a community, it actually supports local businesses,” said Apostolides. “People come to the farmers’ market, and then they support the other businesses around there, because they are already there.”
Orange County has multiple farmers’ markets that operate on select days throughout the week. Each have unique features and events which continue to attract locals and tourists alike.
Apostolides has noticed the impact of farmers’ markets in her own home. Her five-year-old daughter developed a taste for vegetables over sweets after spending most of her childhood in different farmers’ markets.
“She’s the only kid I have ever seen who will turn down a cookie in place of kale,” she said.