Another Market? Maybe Not

To hear farmers and other purveyors describe it, a proposed Saturday morning market in East Hampton Village, possibly in Herrick Park, is a nonstarter. The problem is that East End growers, food producers, and craftspeople who take advantage of existing markets already have a full weekly schedule. Asking them to take part in another on Saturday would require additional staff as well as vehicles and equipment. 

East Hampton’s Friday market in the Nick and Toni’s restaurant parking lot opens for the season tomorrow at 9 a.m. and runs until 1 p.m. On Saturdays this summer there will be markets at Ashawagh Hall in Springs and on Bay Street in Sag Harbor. Montauk has its market on Thursdays, and Calvary Baptist Church in East Hampton, which had one on Thursday evenings last summer, is expected to revive it. We were sorry to learn that the market that had been at the Hayground School in Bridgehampton on Friday afternoons will not be held this year.

Herrick Park in the village does not seem to be the right place for a market anyway, even if farmers and vendors could make time for it. Though the park is large by local standards, it is well used by sports leagues, schools, and members of the community. Farmers markets and the foot and wheeled traffic they produce would be hard on the grass, requiring more groundskeeping and eventually perhaps additional footpaths. Parking in the village on summer Saturdays already can be a problem, and vendors’ trucks and customers’ vehicles would add to the headaches. 

The Nick and Toni’s lot can be difficult to reach, what with its being near two traffic choke points. A market there on Friday afternoons seems out of the question since the restaurant needs the space by early afternoon. An idea that has circulated for some time is relocating the market to the East Hampton Historical Farm Museum on North Main Street, though access would remain an issue and there is some question about whether a market would be appropriate since the property was purchased with money from the community preservation fund.

One alternative might be for the town to buy or convert some land elsewhere for the express purpose of a farmers market. Thought then could be given to locating it nearer to where people live, for example, within walking distance of the Accabonac Apartments or Windmill Village. At best, the Nick and Toni’s market should be viewed as an interim answer for getting fresh food into consumers’ hands. With a little more foresight and creative thinking, a better solution could well be found.