The Sodus Farmers’ Market was “born” as a result of a chat among friends at the United Third Methodist Church in Sodus village, and consultation with two experienced farmer market vendors: Marie Costello and Olen Youngman. With their guidance, a committee of three was formed to “figure it all out”. In June 2009, we started our market with seven vendors on opening day. The response from the residents of Sodus was explosive, and most of those first vendors were sold out within an hour.
The market grew by leaps and bounds. We added special events, offered businesses a free first time space at the market, and had entertainment when we could find volunteers. From the first, we abided by the rules created by the NYS Agriculture Department in order to be certified by the state to accept WIC and FMNP checks. After the market was accredited, farmers had to take special training for these programs. WIC and FMNP are ongoing, and we are also now accept SNAP (electronic food stamps) cards through the Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) program. Several vendors also take Credit/Debit cards as of the 2014 market year.
At great expense to the congregation and as a result of much work by our pastor, the parking lot where the market is held was repaved. In 2011, our third year, we had over 20 paid seasonal vendors attending for the whole season. In 2012, we added several new vendors, offering customers a bigger variety of products.
Most of the vendor fees go toward mailing, copying, and advertising. Expenses for miscellaneous items such as hand washing stations, canopies, signage, trash barrels, etc. also are paid from vendor fees. No salaries are paid, since our market team of five, and our “Friends of the Market”, have volunteered to do all that is necessary to keep the market operational.
Our United Methodist Women’s (UMW) group bakes and sells pies on occasion, and our Second Best Shop is open every market day. These projects help support church expenses.
For the first four years of the market we were fortunate to have parking space across the street donated by Case Marshall, for which we are most grateful. With the sale of that property and the construction of the Family Dollar store, our parking looked different beginning in 2013. We are most grateful to St. John’s Episcopal Church, Lessord Chrysler Products, the Family Dollar and Terry Pavone all who have agreed to allow the market customers to park in their parking lots. The Village of Sodus has also approved the reservation of several spaces along Belden Avenue for handicapped parking.
During the 2015 season many special events added interest to the market. The season opened on June 10th with a performance by the SCS Jazz Band. Cornell Cooperative Extension participated during 6 different market days sharing their expertise using recipes featuring locally grown fruits and vegetables, which could be purchased at the market, and provided tasting samples to customers. Activities for the children were provided by the Presbyterian Church, Sodus Community Library, Lions/Lioness Clubs, Child Care Council, Wayne County Gem & Mineral Club, Jan Baist and Roy McCarthy. Educational programs were presented by Trail Works, LAW NY, Master Gardeners, Wayne County Public Health, Sodus Garden Club, FMNP//Maxwell’s B & B, Cancer Services, Guiding Eyes and Dick Ransley. For animal lovers there were displays by Katie Alpaca, Humane Society of Wayne County and Guiding Eyes for the Blind. Three “Walk With a Doc” events were held, and consumers also enjoyed listening to Jaynie Crash and the Tall Men on several occasions. The Market Team appreciates and thanks everyone who enriched the market experience by volunteering their time to present these programs.
The 2015 market year has come to a close, and we would like to thank everyone that made it a success. Our 2016 season will begin in mid-June. We look forward to seeing you!
For more information, check out our “Sodus Farmers’ Market” Facebook page.