Social, local shopping

Schenectady Greenmarket returns outside

Spring is blossoming with the opening of Schenectady Greenmarket's outdoor season on Sunday, May 1, outside of Schenectady City Hall.

In the fall of 2008, the Schenectady Greenmarket set up for the first time, but with the third outdoor season underway, the market appears to offer more than just a shopping experience. It has become a community gathering place, where residents from across the county can enjoy music, food, chat and, of course, shop.

Every Sunday through October the market will remain open before the cold air forces its return to its winter venue at the Proctors Arcade. The additional space of the outdoor market allows more vendors to participate more than 60 this season with products ranging from local produce, baked goods, wine, milk, meat and a variety of crafts.

"All of these products are produced and grown locally," said Betsy Henry, chair of the Schenectady Greenmarket Board. "It is a great place to come and spend a Sunday. We have people of all walks of life."

When the weather is "just right," the outdoor market can see 4,000 people, said Henry, but the market averages around 2,500.

"There is a lot more space, so we tend to attract more people in the summer time," said Henry. "We still get people arriving at the market that have never visited before, but we definitely have a core group of folks that visit every week."

Supporting a local economy is important, said Henry, and having food travel long distances to reach consumers is not a sustainable model moving forward. Vendors are charged a fee to participate in the market.

"A lot of our vendors are just starting their own business at a market because they are not paying a huge amount of rent," said Henry. "In a time when people are used to getting in their car and driving miles and miles to a mall when you come down to the market you can almost always run into friends. It is much more of a community focused event, and in that way, it supports the local downtown businesses as well."

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