By Himanee Gupta-Carlson
Shorter days, grayer skies, and sweater weather all mark shifts in the seasonal cycle of the Saratoga Farmers’ Market. The market will continue to operate outdoors from 3-6 p.m. Wednesdays and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays at High Rock Park through October.
On Saturday, Nov. 2, the market makes its annual move indoors.
This year, however, the move will be to a newer, larger, and more accessible location at the Wilton Mall, where the market will operate from 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Saturdays, in the area around the Department of Motor Vehicles and former Bon Ton store.
The move creates a community partnership between the nearly 60 vendors who make up the winter market and the retail businesses at the mall.
“We are excited about this change,” says Saratoga Farmers’ Market Association board president Beth Trattel. “It gives us an opportunity to give all of our vendors more selling space, while also offering expanded parking and a bus-accessible site to our customers.”
Vendors will offer fresh produce, meats, eggs, cheeses and other dairy items, fresh-cut flowers, spirits, prepared foods, and a variety of handmade arts and artisanal craft items.
The Saratoga Farmers’ Market’s move comes as changes in consumer shopping patterns are causing malls to reinvent themselves. The Wilton Mall has lost two major anchors in the past year – Sears and Bon Ton – and much of its space is unfilled. Bringing farmers, artisans, and other local businesses into some of that vacant space creates a vibrant shopping atmosphere that could help the mall rekindle its potential to be a public gathering space.
At the same time, by opening up its space, the mall is helping the farmers’
market address three of its greatest challenges: ample parking, access via public transportation, and vendor visibility to the public.
“We are excited about this move,” says market director Emily Meagher. “We will have ample parking. We will be located directly by a CDTA bus stop, and being in a space that is shared with many other businesses creates a ‘one-stop-shop’ for customers’ weekly groceries and other errands.”