Downtown Jamestown has hosted a farmers market in some way, shape or form for almost 40 years. And based on the enthusiasm surrounding this year's market - held on Fridays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Foundry Alley - it will be around for some time to come.
But growing interest in the market brings new challenges and opportunities, and the Jamestown Renaissance Corporation needs to know what the public wants the market to become as we plan for the future.
First, here's an overview of what we have today. At the market's current location, four participating farms provide a variety of homegrown vegetables and other products from June through October: Abers Acres, Busti Cider Mill, Scott's Farm and Greenhouse and Small Meadows Farm.
In addition to the farms, this year's Univera-sponsored market has vendors with prepared and specialty foods. Planet Earth Catering provides a breakfast and lunch menu featuring locally produced ingredients; Dalahast Coffee Roasters sells coffee made from beans freshly roasted in downtown Jamestown; the Gypsy Moon Cake Co. sells specialty cupcakes and other baked goods; and Country Kettle Corn sends market goers on their way with a sweet and salty snack.
Besides vendors, the market features seating and live entertainment during the noon hour, and educational resources on nutrition and food preparation from Cornell Cooperative Extension.
The market's present layout in Foundry Alley provides a sense of enclosure for vendors and their customers, while its timing makes it a Friday lunchtime destination for downtown employees, visitors and residents, especially on nice days.
But there's no room to accommodate new vendors in the existing location. And although Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. is convenient for some customers, many have suggested that the day and time be changed (or expanded) to allow people to visit the market after work or on the weekend.
As we consider the market's future and how to build upon its current strengths, several goals are on our mind: adding to the vibrancy of downtown Jamestown; providing access to healthy food options and supporting local food businesses; and serving residents and employees in the downtown area while also being a destination that draws customers from surrounding communities.
With that in mind, we need to know what you think. If the market expands to a new location, where should it go? If it changes or expands its days and hours of operation, what should those days and hours be? What types of new vendors, educational resources, or amenities would make you more likely to visit the market on a regular basis?
If you have ideas or suggestions, please find a link to our Farmers Market survey at www.jamestownrenaissane.org or on JRC's Facebook page (jrc14701). Or, you can contact Christina King at email@example.com and 664-2477, ext. 228 with your ideas.
Renaissance Reflections is a biweekly feature with news from the front lines of Jamestown's revitalization.