Red Hook summer market gets better visibility

The market, which will run every Saturday from June 1 to Nov. 2, received permission from the planning board at its March 14 meeting to move the vendor booths to the side of the parking lot closest to Route 9 in hopes of attracting more passersby. A public hearing on the change was waived by the board.

“Visibility is everything,” the organizer of the market, Louise Rose of Table and Talent, told The Observer. She added that her goal is not just to draw attention to the market, but to increase foot traffic in the village as a whole. “We’ve always wanted to be inclusive of the village and add to the village and the businesses there,” she said.

In its new location the market will block two of the required handicapped parking spots in the lot. However, Rose and village officials agreed that temporary handicapped parking spots could be created at similarly accessible locations within the lot in order to maintain accessibility and compliance with the law.

Like last year, the market has obtained an agreement from the owner of Firehouse Plaza across Route 9 to use that parking lot for municipal parking on market days, “which actually adds more parking spaces,” Rose said.

Another potential challenge is competition with the farmers’ market at the Elmendorph Inn, whose organizers have proposed expanding the winter market to a year-round one.

Robert McKeon, who manages the winter market, confirmed to The Observer that the expansion idea is being discussed.

“We’re considering extending the market past the usual April end date,” he said. “We hope to come to decision soon that takes into account what’s best for the farmers, the village and the community at large. We’re very appreciative of their efforts and the support of the local officials.”

There is also the Hudson Valley Farmers Market at Greig Farm, which started up in December and runs every weekend.

The village market move was supported by the Village Board at its March 4 meeting when the board agreed to submit a letter of support for the application to the planners.

“We feel, for the betterment of the village and the farm community, that having another farmers’ market this summer would be in everybody’s best interest, residents, businesses, tourists, and so forth,” Mayor Ed Blundell said at the meeting.

“Consensus in our group was that having them in the back of the lot was good, but they would do better if they had more street visibility.”

However, he added, “there’s not room for two markets.” So he said he has encouraged the organizers of the Elmendorph market and the summer market to work together. Village Trustee Jay Trapp pointed out that the markets would be the same day, at the same time.

Rose said the market would be similar to last year’s, with a slight change in vendors, though the composition would still be at least 50 percent Red Hook-based farms and businesses. The list is still being finalized.

One new attraction will be a “restaurant booth,” where village restaurants can show off their wares. Rose said she hoped to invite local restaurants to take a turn serving “hand-held” cuisine or “participating and doing some kind of cooking,” in order to give restaurants further exposure and also give shoppers a treat.

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