January 20, 2022

Indoor winter farmers market aims to fill your plate

A complete meal

Valerie Puma/staff reporter

Emily Harding, owner of Daisy Hollow Farm in Dryden, organizes her natural soap products display for the Winter Farmers Market on Friday at the Cortland County Visitor’s Center on Main Street in Cortland. She also brought potatoes, fresh eggs, chicken and ham hocks for sale. She will be back next month with fresh pork.

When Cathy Tilebein took her daily lunch break walk Friday down Cortland’s Main Street, she was excited to pop into the visitor’s center and grab some fresh food.

“I saw it on Facebook as an event that I might be interested in, so I put it in my calendar,” Tilebein said. As the owner of the Seven Valley Agency Insurance, her trek from work to the winter farmers market wasn’t far. “I wanted to check it out and see what they had, and it’s always nice to get some fresh vegetables.”

The Cortland County Visitors Center is playing host to a monthly, indoor farmers market all winter, featuring local farms, foods and businesses.

When a vendor mentioned that it was a shame there were no winter farmers markets, visitor center manager Candace Rozansky realized that Experience Cortland could change that.

“We’ve gotten to know some of the producers in the community and we invited them out. Everything is hyper-local, from right here,” Rozansky said. “One thing we tried to make sure of was that when you came to shop, we had everything you needed for dinner.”

Main Street Farms in Cortland sold fresh vegetables, Food and Ferments brought the sauerkrauts and pickles, and Daisy Hollow Farm offered fresh eggs, potatoes, meat and seasonings, along with a table of homemade natural soaps and more.

“Even though it’s a really small market, it should feel very complete. It should feel like you can get pretty much everything you need, as long as it’s in season,” Rozansky said. “We’re not charging the vendors for any of this, just trying to give them a space. We’re here to promote the community and invite people from outside of our community to come in.”

“We want people to buy local, fresh produce,” said Emily Harding, owner of Daisy Hollow Farm in Dryden. “With something that’s been grown here locally. On the farm, you know what’s going into it, you know that soil is good.”

Although Taylor Foster’s new business, Whole Bites, is more on the information side of the aisle, the nutrition coach brought business cards and offered free water bottles to customers who stopped by to chat.

“I help people learn how to plan and prep their meals, the best foods to eat for whatever
health conditions they have, like diabetes, if they’re dealing with infertility or digestion issues,” Foster said.

She spent the first half of the COVID-19 pandemic attending classes online to become a certified holistic health practitioner, and now she’s ready to help people figure out what foods are best for their bodies.

“I’m happy to help answer anybody’s questions, like if they have recipe questions, or maybe they don’t know if a certain food is suitable for them,” Foster said.

Rose Williams, a production assistant for Food and Ferments in Cortland, has set up at the Ithaca Farmers Market in the past, but Friday was her first time selling in Cortland.

“This is obviously smaller and less crowded, but I was very surprised to see how many people were coming in,” Williams said. Within the first hour, she’d run out of several products. “I would say things are going really well, everyone has been asking a lot of good questions and walking around. It’s been really nice.”

“I actually really like this smaller market, it feels a lot more cozy and less intimidating for customers,” Williams said. “It’s a nice spot where people walking down the street can just kind of stop in.”