The Sodus Farmers’ Market was “born” as a result of a chat among friends at the United Third Methodist Church in Sodus village, and consultation with two experienced farmer market vendors: Marie Costello and Olen Youngman. With their guidance, a committee of three was formed to “figure it all out”. In June 2009, we started our market with seven vendors on opening day. The response from the residents of Sodus was explosive, and most of those first vendors were sold out within an hour.
The market grew by leaps and bounds. We added special events, offered businesses a free first time space at the market, and had entertainment when we could find volunteers. From the first, we abided by the rules created by the NYS Agriculture Department in order to be certified by the state to accept WIC and FMNP checks. After the market was accredited, farmers had to take special training for these programs. WIC and FMNP are ongoing, and we also now accept SNAP (electronic food stamps) cards through the Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) program. Several vendors also take Credit/Debit cards.
At great expense to the congregation and as a result of much work by our pastor, the parking lot where the market is held was repaved. In 2011, our third year, we had over 20 paid seasonal vendors attending for the whole season. In 2012, we added several new vendors, offering customers a bigger variety of products. Most of the vendor fees go toward mailing, copying, and advertising. Expenses for miscellaneous items such as hand washing stations, canopies, signage, trash barrels, etc. also are paid from vendor fees. No salaries are paid, since our market team of four, and our “Friends of the Market”, have volunteered to do all that is necessary to keep the market operational.
Our Second Best Shop is open every market day. This project helps support church expenses.
For the first four years of the market we were fortunate to have parking space across the street donated by Case Marshall, for which we are most grateful. With the sale of that property and the construction of the Family Dollar store, our parking looked different beginning in 2013. We are most grateful to St. John’s Episcopal Church, Sodus Ambulance Corps, the Family Dollar and Terry Pavone all who have agreed to allow the market customers to park in their parking lots. The Village of Sodus has also approved the reservation of several spaces along Belden Avenue for handicapped parking.
The 2020 season brought new challenges! With the spread of the COVID 19 pandemic our Market Team had ZOOM meetings to keep abreast of how this would affect our market: would markets be able to open, and if so, what regulations would we have to adapt to? The news finally came - farmers markets would be considered "essential" and could open, but they would have to follow CDC and NYS regulations. As a result, we had to monitor how many consumers could enter the market at a given time to follow the 6 ft. social distancing rule, masks were mandated for everyone, vendors had to be spaced apart, all areas needed to be disinfected on a regular basis. Our wonderful community met this challenge: the market perimeter was roped off so there was one dedicated entrance and exit, hand sanitizer stations were set up through out the market, volunteers counted customers entering and exiting the market and reminded customers that masks were mandatory ... the list goes on. We opened 4 weeks late in order to meet all these challenges.
The 2020 market year came to a close on October 7th, and we would like to thank everyone that made it a success. A big Thank You to our loyal vendors, customers and MOST APPRECIATED "Friends of the Market" who set up and tore down each and every market day. The market team is now making plans for 2021 to ensure another successful season.
For more information, check out our “Sodus Farmers’ Market” Facebook page.