With summer in full swing, everyone is ready to get outside to socialize, shop and have fun. The Great Neck Parks District (GNPD) and Deep Roots Farmers Market have teamed up to provide a weekly farmers market in Steppingstone Park. The farmers market began in mid-June and will be happening every Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. till September.
The founder and owner of Deep Roots Farmers Market, Amy Peters, spoke with the Great Neck Record about the vendors and the exciting opportunity to host the farmers market for the residents of Great Neck.
Peters began the farmers market in Sea Cliff about seven years ago as a passion project. The farmers market started small but grew from 14 vendors in 2019 to now having about 40 vendors. Because of the growth, Peters rebranded her farmers market from the Sea Cliff Farmers Market to Deep Roots Farmers Market and moved the business home base to Glen Cove.
The GNPD approached Deep Roots to see if Peters would be interested in installing a farmers market in Great Neck. With the help of site manager Leslie Rafuse, Peters has brought in vendors, organized the weekly market and promoted the event on social media to be a successful excursion for Great Neck residents.
“We are a food-focused market,” said Peters. “Everybody at the farmers market is a maker or grower. At least 80 to 90 percent of what [the vendors] are bringing is what they make or grow.”
“[The farmers market] is really meant to foster entrepreneurship,” said Peters. “So we don’t have a whole lot of established brick-and-mortar vendors coming in and having an outpost at the farmers market, there are a few, but it’s not really the mission of the farmers market. [Our mission] is more entrepreneurial growth and giving people a venue to promote and raise awareness about their products so that they can grow.”
The market provides a good variety of food products. Vendors offer the staples such as fresh fruits and vegetables, but other vendors offer more unique products such as organic juices, meats, fish, spices and coffee.
While Deep Roots’ primary focus is providing fresh and self-grown or made food products, Peters does schedule to have the occasional artist come and sell jewelry and other accessories.
“We do have crafters come as guests,” explained Peters. “We don’t have many arts and crafts vendors that come on a weekly basis because if someone buys a product one week, it’s unlikely they will rebuy something from the same vendor the next week.”
Peters gave the example of soap-makers and candle-makers as craft vendors that come weekly because those products are things people will buy and come back to try a new scent or formula.
For the food product vendors, some are scheduled on a weekly basis, some bi-weekly and some monthly.
“We have a ravioli vendor that comes weekly and a bread vendor that comes weekly because those are products that people come back and get every week,” said Peters. “But vendors like sweet treat bakers and others that I find that there are so many of, I schedule differently. I don’t want them to compete with each other, so I try to schedule them so that someone else doesn’t have a similar product offered on the same day.”
The organization and scheduling of vendors to ensure a wide variety is offered is an essential task that Deep Roots takes on. According to the GNPD, that dedication is paying off.
The opening day was a great turnout, with an estimated 1,200 people visiting the market, according to the GNPD’s records. The second week had a count of over 1,000 patrons of the market. Peters and the GNP hope to hit that mark every week from here on out.
In addition to the vendors, the entertainment and games provided by the GNPD attract residents to check out the farmers’ market. Weekly music is lined up for each Sunday event, and games such as oversized Jenga and Connect Four are offered for patrons of all ages to have fun with.
The farmers market is open to all residents of Great Neck. Residents holding a Park Pass from the GNPD can park in the park’s lots; others without a pass must find their other parking options. Dogs are not allowed at the farmers’ market unless they are registered service dogs.
The farmers market will be at Steppingstone Park every Sunday until Sept. 4. The market will be moved into town to Firefighters park and will remain there until mid-November, weather permitting.
The Great Neck Park District and the Deep Roots Farmers Market are thrilled with the turnout and are looking forward to the future farmers’ markets. Check out gnparks.org for additional information.