LAKEWOOD - The area of Chautauqua Avenue and Second Street in the village of Lakewood has been bustling in recent weeks with the Lakewood Farmers Market.
Operating each Tuesday afternoon through October, the farmers market offers organically grown fruits and vegetables as well as meat, cheese, eggs, maple products, goat milk fudge, bakery items, jams and jellies, apple butter, local honey, and fresh-cut flower bouquets. Seasonal items will be brought in as they are available, such as fresh-pressed cider in September.
Participating local producers include Abers Acres, Big Tree Maple, the Busti Cider Mill and Farm Market, Country Kettle Corn, Munsee Farm and Small Meadows Farm. Judy Schulz of the Busti Cider Mill and Farm Market, manager of the Lakewood Farmers Market, said that when she first began to contact people about organizing a farmers market in the village this year, the plan was to include as many farms which use organic practices as possible.
Organically grown fruits and vegetables, such as these peas from Abers Acres, are now available every Tuesday afternoon at the Lakewood Farmers Market.
P-J photo by Dave Emke
''We kind of wanted it to be a 90-percent organic farmers market,'' Mrs. Schulz said, adding that this is the first market of its type in Lakewood in recent memory. ''I was talking to several people over in the Lakewood area, and they were all excited to think that we grew organic produce and that we had other farmers who also did and were going to be coming to a farmers market if we did one there.''
Since the farmers market began in Lakewood in the first week of June, it has continued to grow in popularity each week, Mrs. Schulz said. People from the community seem to be making it a social outing, she said.
''People are very receptive - they keep thanking us for being there, welcoming us and hoping that we'll stay,'' she said.
Mrs. Schulz said that more farmers and producers will be added as the season continues. She also said that, if business calls for it, an indoor facility will be sought in Lakewood in the effort to continue the market going into the winter months.
All farms are participating in the New York State Agriculture and Markets Farmers Market Food and Nutrition Program, meaning they will accept farmers market checks from WIC-eligible families and seniors. WIC-eligible families will be able to apply for their farmers market vouchers on July 1, Mrs. Schulz said, while the Office for the Aging will have a designated time and location for seniors to pick up farmers market coupons in the month of July.
Some of the participating farmers are also equipped to accept food stamp benefits and credit cards.
Business has been steady during the first few weeks of the farmers market in Lakewood, and Mrs. Schulz said that there are many advantages of holding a farmers market in the middle of such a small village.
''There's easy parking, free parking, but we have a lot of folks in the village who walk to the market - it's just like a community event, which is kind of nice,'' she said. ''It's like a reunion-type day, where people come by, visit and make an event out of it.''
The Lakewood Farmers Market is held every Tuesday, rain or shine, from 2 to 6 p.m. at Chautauqua Avenue and Second Street in the village of Lakewood.