MENANDS Since it first opened in 1933, the Capital District Cooperative, Inc. has traveled a road of changes. For starters, it’s now called the Capital District Farmers Market.
Back at the original market, more than 500 farmers from nine counties would sell mainly to mom and pop stores around the Capital Region. Today, there are roughly 150 farmers from 15 counties selling to restaurants, larger chains and the public.
But throughout the years of changes and challenges, the fundamental goal of the enterprise has stayed the same: providing fresh, locally grown products to the region.
“It’s really one of the few places where a farmer can drop off a product that was picked within 12 hours and get to the end user,” said Jim Hans, president of D. Brickman Inc, a wholesaler at the market since 1958.
With the rising “buy local” movement, the Menands-based farmers market is celebrating its 80th anniversary with a bigger presence than ever. People are becoming much more conscience about what is on their plate, Hans said, creating a movement that swings back to “supporting the local operator.” The market will celebrate its anniversary by doing what it does best: continuing its retail and wholesale market, as well as adding some family-friendly events, including a corn festival and pumpkin festival.
“To mark the 80th anniversary, it’s really about continuing to promote the small operator, from product to table not only in a timely matter, but in a cost efficient matter,” Hans said.
A market with many faces
The Capital District Farmers Market is the oldest and largest farmers market in the area, with its home base at 381 Broadway in Menands. The market has always had two main components: the wholesale and the retail market. Farmers come from Hamilton, Warren, Washington, Saratoga, Fulton, Montgomery, Schenectady, Albany, Schoharie, Rensselaer, Columbia, Dutchess, Greene, Ulster and Delaware counties.