December 6, 2021

Pop-up proves popular

Growers host indoor winter farmers market in Cortland

Jamie Costa/staff reporter

Tobi Sosa of Cortland buys vegetables Thursday from Robert “Bobcat” Bonagura at a pop-up farmers market at Cortland Beer Co. in Cortland. The vendors organized the sale in part to support and recruit community supported agriculture (CSA) members, and in part to get out of the house.

Rows of produce stacked high on foldout tables filled the event room of Cortland Beer Co. Thursday as dozens of people flocked for their fix of fresh winter vegetables.

The market, open from 4 to 6 p.m., saw more than 20 customers within the first five minutes.

Main Street Farms of Cortland, Bottomland of Berkshire, and Food and Ferments of Cortland worked together to host a pop-up farmers market, in part to satisfy customers — and maybe recruit one or two more — but also just to get out of the house.

“We have our hard-core CSA (community supported agriculture) members that get sad around this time of year,” said Robert “Bobcat” Bonagura, co-owner of Main Street Farms.

Between the end of winter and the start of summer, nothing is in season.

“They want to be able to access our veggies whenever possible,” he said.

Bottomland, which raises, butchers and packages its own meat, had a selection of pork, turkey and chicken for sale; Food and Ferments offered sauerkraut, kombucha and kimchi.

Jamie Costa/staff reporter

A shopper picks some beets Thursday at a pop-up farmers market at Cortland Beer Co. on Court Street in Cortland. Vendors were looking to provide, and recruit, CSA members — and get out of the house, too.

“I think the community is happy to be here,” said Becca Rimmel, co-owner of Bottomland. “A lot of people that bought from us in the past placed orders to come pick up.”

“I am a huge fan of local meat,” said Ben Wymer, a brewer at Cortland Beer Co. “It’s fresher, has a richer flavor and it tastes better.”

Bonagura had extra crops, mostly root vegetables, so he contacted farmer friends to invite them to promote local food.

“I just felt like it would be kind of a nice way for people to get out and see people a little,” Bonagura said. “But it’s for food, so it’s a necessary thing at the same time.”

Bonagura hopes to host pop-up farmers markets bi-weekly into the start of the summer season and invite local farmers to participate in selling their local products.

Beth Klein of Cincinnatus, who used to be a CSA member, has been looking forward to the pop-up market since it was first announced last week.

“I love fresh veggies and I love to support the local community as much as possible,” Klein said. “I attend as much as they have them, especially this time of year when I don’t have anything growing myself.”