December 5, 2021

Virgil farmers markest reports solid business in first month

Kelly Lutz of Virgil and her son Finnegan, 5, explored the fruits and vegetables Donna Lynch was selling Saturday at Virgil’s farmers market in front of Hollenbeck’s Cider Mill.

Lutz said her family grows much of its own fresh produce, but comes to the market to get whatever else they may need.

“We love it,” she said. “Even though there’s a lot of farms and stuff, there aren’t a lot of stores that we can get fresh fruit and things in the summer.”

“It’s been very steady” in its first month, said market manager Christine Applegate. “Typically, people get here early to avoid the crowd. We’ve been pretty much selling out every week of what we have.”

For Applegate and three other vendors Saturday, that has mostly been produce and plants.

Applegate did note that there are variations on items being sold, depending on which vendors decide to participate. On the week of July 12, one vendor sold maple products.

Applegate also said that since the market has been open, she thinks people have become more confident to visit.

“I think people feel safe because it’s outside and because there are not a lot of people here, they can still stop and chat with us which has always been a good feature of the farmers market,” she said.

That has included people like Lutz, who bought berries and a succulent and wanted to explore what else was being sold.

Vendors and shoppers were required to wear masks and be 6 feet apart, according to signs.

Customers were discouraged from handling the items themselves and cash was put in a basket or bag each vendor had to collect.

“I’m glad people are being careful to protect themselves,” said Stacy Pendell of Locke. “The vendors, who are here all day, are more at risk than the people who stop by for a minute and then go on their merry way.”

Saturday was Pendell’s first time at the market, she said.

She had purchased some lettuce, raspberries, kale and snap peas and said she would return as she and her daughter, who had just moved to Cortland, have been checking out nearby farmers markets.

Applegate said that August and September will be the busy season.

“That’s when everything is ready in the garden and there’s just a huge variety of things to choose from.”

The market runs 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturdays until the first week of October.