Market starts the season

At the Gloversville Farmers Market Saturday, Bethany Jessing, an art teacher at Fulton-Montgomery Community College and P-TECH instructor, helps Natalie Southworthy of Edinburg to paint a design on a stone that could be put in a garden. (The Leader-Herald/Eric Retzlaff)

GLOVERSVILLE — For people who would like to beautify their property with flowers or grow some vegetables, Saturday’s Spring Festival farmers market was a beginning.

Located at the Farmers Market Pavilion on Elm Street downtown, the event opened the outdoor farmers market season with a few growers, plenty of planting advice and kid crafts.

Turnout was steady, but not robust. Susan Mojturski-Hazard of Natural Bridge Farm of Amsterdam sold some flowers but said buyers were hesitant about planting “due to the weather, because of rain and chill.”

Some people came deliberately, but others, such as Joy Little of Johnstown, dropped by to see “what it’s about” because she saw people under the pavilion.

The reason didn’t matter because “the whole point [of the farmers markets] is to bring people downtown” to not only connect directly with farmers, but to shop for food, gas and other products, said Jennifer Jennings, a downtown development specialist for the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth. CRG and Nathan Littauer Hospital sponsored the festival.

Studies have shown that farmers markets are integral downtown revitalization, said Jennings, who was marketing manager for Schenectady’s Greenmarket, located near City Hall, for more than three years.

Cooperative Extension master gardeners, Margaret Lazzeri of Schenectady County and Angela Warner of Fulton and Montgomery counties, were on hand to offer advice and fact sheets to help would-be planters.

Similarly, Jacob Hart, an agricultural specialist with the Fulton County Soil and Water Conservation District, provided insights into natural resource management. His spiel drew the interest of Sara James, Miss Fonda Fair, and Kaitlyn Wigginton, Junior Princess Fonda Fair.

Guitarist Scott Seeley of Bleecker provided background music.

Bethany Jessing, an art teacher with Fulton-Montgomery Community College and P-TECH, had an art project for youths that involved painting butterflies and other designs on smooth stones for placement in gardens.

P-TECH is a program at Fulton-Montgomery Community College that allows students to get college credits while in high school. Jessing said she came with P-TECH students “because it’s a spring festival and to get the local community and P-TECH together.” P-TECH is an acronym for Pathways in Technology Early College High School.

Dominick Young, a ninth-grader from Broadalbin, likes P-TECH because “we get with our friends on projects and go on field trips.” One project he said he especially liked was a crime scene investigation of a murder starting with blood on a wall.

Two downtown residents, Nicolina Schonfarber of Gloversville and Jordan Baxter, said they were trying to aide the redevelopment of downtown Gloversville by photographing the farmers market and other scenes of interest in the city. They said they will be offering their work to CRG as it puts together an application for a $10 million grant from the state’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative.

Baxter admitted that young adults such as himself and Schonfarber are sorely tempted just to get out of the area. But he said their view is “why not make where you are what you want it to be?”

Victoria Wigginton, marketing manager for the Gloversville Farmers Market, said the number of vendors is growing a few at a time by word of mouth and online, and more spaces are still available.

The Gloversville market will continue on Saturdays through mid-October from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Amsterdam’s farmers market will be held from 3 to 6 p.m. Wednesdays and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays at 100 Church St. (Route 67), starting May 27. Johnstown’s farmers market on Tuesdays from 3 to 6 p.m. in the town park on Main Street, will kick off on June 13.

By Patricia Older

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