New farmers market
to begin in May

The entrance to Bear Creek Farm, where the new farmers market will begin in May.

Courtesy Bear Creek Farm

New farmers market to begin in May

STANFORD — A new farmers market will launch Saturday, May 4, at Bear Creek Farm in Bangall, a hamlet of Stanford.

“We feel that we need more of a sense of community in our town and that a farmers market is the way to do it,” said Bear Creek farmer Debra Kaye. “We have a perfect piece of land here with lots of parking.”

The market will be open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays through October. The vendor mix will likely include vegetables, fruits, dairy, meat, fish, bread, baked goods, tea and, of course, flowers, since the market’s host, Bear Creek, is a flower farm.

“Our goal is for the market to offer everything you would need for a week’s worth of dinners,” said Kaye.

According to Bear Creek employee and market coordinator Nora Leibold, there are over 11,000 residents living in the towns of Stanford, Milan and Pine Plains, but no farmers market.

When the idea was in its beginning stages, Bear Creek surveyed residents of Stanford, asking whether or not they wanted a farmers market in town and, if so, what they would want to get out of it.

Overwhelmingly, people responded that they want community engagement. One respondent called for “A place to convene and meet each other.” Another suggested, “A place to bump into neighbors and have spontaneous interactions.”

Kaye is so invested in the idea of creating a community hub centered around fresh local farm offerings that she is willing to subsidize aspects of it as needed. Vendor fees will be low, and she hopes that food trucks will be part of the experience.

“There is a beautiful space in front of the building here that used to be the Red Devon restaurant with plenty of seating for people to spend time and enjoy the 4 acres of surrounding grassland,” said Kaye.

Bear Creek Farm

Bear Creek grows 12 acres of flowers, selling most of them into the city to florists and through CSAs, with a couple of more local sites as well, soon to include the new farmers market. The farm is known for its extensive selection of high-quality dahlias, but it also grows peonies, Icelandic poppies, summer annuals and, increasingly, heirloom chrysanthemums, which Kaye thinks will be the next big thing. The farm offers workshops, blog posts and newsletters to share its production practices and guiding principles for growing flowers.

“We aren’t certified organic, but we use organic practices. Each year we’re getting better and better in that regard.” Bear Creek has decreased soil disturbance that negatively affects microbial populations and carbon sequestration by using no-till practices, and it does not spray any synthetic chemicals.

“Our philosophy is all about reading the signs of nature and working with it. There is no one right prescription for how flowers should be grown. We are big believers in trial and error, and listening to what the flowers tell you,” said Kaye.

Bear Creek is still accepting vendor applications and encourages all potentially interested local farmers to be in touch with them. Survey respondents were overwhelmingly excited about the idea, so we expect it to be a bustling farmers market and community hub,” said Leibold.

Courtesy Bear Creek Farm

Bear Creek farmer Debra Kaye

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