Riverhead’s indoor farmers’ market will be back on Main Street this winter after all.
The popular wintertime market will reopen Nov. 25 with sponsorship by LI Greenmarket Inc., a Long Beach-based nonprofit that operates three other farmers’ markets on Long Island.
Following the Riverhead Business Improvement District’s decision not to provide financial support for the market, Lucy Senesac, farm manager at Sang Lee Farms in Peconic, contacted Bernadette Martin of LI Greenmarket Inc. and pitched the idea of the organization getting involved in Riverhead. It already operates farmers’ markets in Long Beach, St. James and Kings Park.
“We’re a pretty big vendor there and we rely on it. We’ve built up a winter following,” Senesac said. “We wanted to see if we could find a way to make it work — without running it ourselves.”
Martin, who set up the market at the L.I. Expressway welcome center at exit 51, was one of the first people she thought of, Senesac said.
With the assistance of the BID Management Association, the organization negotiated a lease with the owner of the building at 117 E. Main Street, where the market has been located for three of the four seasons since its establishment.
“We convinced [the landlord] to do just a six-month lease,” Senesac said. In addition to paying the rent, LI Greenmarket will provide the liability insurance policy for the site and provide staff to run the market, which will be open every Saturday through the end of March.
“Money is still an issue. You can only charge vendors so much — and you can only have so many vendors,” Senesac said.
LI Greenmarket, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, is looking for sponsors to help underwrite the cost of running the market, since the vendors’ fees do not cover the full expense of the operation. Martin’s contact information can be found on the LI Greenmarket website.
“We have strong support with some regional partners to continue with some great new initiatives for community health and I think that Riverhead is a terrific community to begin to serve, especially through the winter months,” Martin said. “Our team is very excited to help and hopefully grow the market here.”
LI Greenmarket will “breathe some fresh new life” into the Riverhead farmers’ market, which Senesac noted has “kind of dwindled over the years.” Martin has a lot of friends in various farmers markets. “I’m confident it will continue to grow,” Senesac said.
Vendor spaces are available; applications are due Nov. 15.
Senesac has also established a GoFundMe page to help “jump start” the market’s re-launch.
“It’s a good way for people in the community to help and to feel like they’re part of it,” she said.
Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter said he believes that, with LI Greenmarket sponsoriing it, the farmers’ market will “grow into another regional attraction that will draw thousands of people to the downtown business district during the winter season.”
EBT, SNAP, debit, credit, FMNP and WIC checks will be accepted at the Riverhead market, according to the LI Greenmarket website. The Riverhead farmers’ market will also be a LI Freshbox location, accepting LI Greenmarket/Northwell Health Systems Rx for fresh fruits and vegetables. More information about the LI Freshbox program is available here.
Correction: LI Greenmarket executive director Bernadette Martin was incorrectly identified in a previously published version of this story.
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