By Himanee Gupta-Carlson
The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is moving indoors for the winter. This change takes place every November, but this year is different. The market has a new locale, and a new start and finish time. It will be chaotic – and exciting.
The market’s new winter locale is at the Wilton Mall, Saturdays, from 9:30-1:30 p.m. Through the end of April, the market will stretch from the Department of Motor Vehicles location to the Bath & Body Works store. Vendors will intermingle with mall retailers in a space that offers convenient parking, bus service, free Internet, and warmth.
Market staff have been preparing for the move for about two months.
Still, they know the change will mean adjustments – for customers and vendors alike.
“We’re farmers,” says market association president Beth Trattel, with a laugh. “We’re used to being outdoors, around hay, animals, live plants.”
The mall has a decidedly different feel from the outdoor pavilions at High Rock and even the historic Lincoln Baths Building where the winter market took place in recent years. However, market director Emily Meagher notes, the mall and the market also pair together well.
Malls throughout America have been repurposing themselves as community gathering sites as consumer shopping habits continue to shift more toward online retailing. Likewise, farmers’ markets strive to bring the community spirit that accompanies them into locales where customers and vendors are protected from cold winter weather.
When the market opens this Saturday, much will be familiar, notes Meagher. The opening bell ringer will walk through the area of the mall that the market will use, clanging away. Musicians will perform; hot coffee and prepared foods will be waiting; cans will be available for the collection of home compost, and Friends of the Market volunteers will be on hand to answer questions and assist customers. Most of the market’s longtime farmers will be offering their goods, along with a handful of newcomers.
Still, Trattel says, “we know this is a big adjustment for our regular customers, who we value quite deeply. We’re looking forward to working together to create something new.”
The Saratoga Farmers’ Market is now 9:30 a.m-1:30 p.m. at the Wilton Mall. CDTA routes 450 (Schenectady-Wilton) and 452 (Skidmore College-Wilton) offer regular Saturday bus service with many stops in Saratoga Springs (see cdta.org/routes- and-schedules). Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.