MARCELLUS | The parking lot of Baltimore Woods Nature Center in Marcellus Saturday was filled to the point where cars were lined along the side of Bishop Hill Road.
The third installment of the once-a-month Winter Farmers Market boasted its popularity. The aptly-named Winter Farmers Market is also the first and only west side winter farmers market.
There is a lot of positive feedback surrounding this event, which is held the second Saturday of every month from November to April and from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
"There is a huge demand for the market," said Stacy Drake, marketing coordinator for the nature center. "The first weekend in November, we stopped counting at 200 customers."
Neil Miller, owner and founder of Farmshed CNY, saw an opportunity to enhance the relationship he had already established with Baltimore Woods.
According to the agency's website, Farmshed CNY's goal is to simply "connect consumers with local farmers and artisanal food producers."
Miller, who has previously worked with Baltimore Woods with its annual February Local Harvest Dinner series, wanted to bring something else to the table: products for consumers' tables.
"The Winter Farmers Market represents the next logical step in Farmshed CNY's efforts ... and furthers our longstanding relationship with Baltimore Woods, who have been leaders in supporting local farming and food producers," Miller said. "There was no winter farmers market on [this side of town], and I wanted to utilize the space."
Mary Kate Intaglietta, executive director for the nature center, appreciates the ongoing relationship as well.
"We are happy to rent space to Farmshed CNY to provide a warm and friendly shopping experience for local buyers during the winter months," she said.
The farmers market celebrates the community and the buy local push. Having such a market on this side of town encourages residents in the Marcellus, Skaneateles, Auburn and other surrounding communities to come and enjoy themselves to support all things local.
The vendors come from a diverse area. Miller said the vendors were either invited to participate or they asked if they could. He smiled at this notion of producers' excitement to participate.
"There are vendors from the Syracuse and surrounding area, but some are based out of Rochester, Oneida and Little Falls," he said.
"As part of our vision, we are dedicated to transforming individuals and communities by cultivating a personal connection to the natural world, and dollars spent on locally-produced goods is one great way to strengthen the economy and support of the local food movement," Intaglietta said.
With the present popularity, there is always consideration to grow and add a few more vendors. Being in an indoor setting, there is limited space. The winter-long duration, however, will not be extended. After April, Miller will be hitting pause for the summer.
"I don't want to take away from the business of other markets," he said, acknowledging the farmers markets in Skaneateles and Cazenovia and the year-round CNY Regional Market.
- 4 Tin Fish Farm, Conquest: Andrew and Kim Fish boast their creamy and delicious goat cheese products, a business that has been participating in the community for eight years.
- Black Button Distilling, Rochester: The Rochester-based, small-batch distillery is making a name for itself in the CNY distillery niche.
- Cakes and Other Goodies, Oneida: Marlene's made-from-scratch baked goods are topics of conversation and hard to resist.
- Groovy Granola, Baldwinsville: The small-batch, handmade granola company has been providing flavorful treats since 2012.
- Lune Chocolat, Manlius: Chocolate is the gift that keeps on giving, and locally-made is the perfect gift for your valentine — or yourself and "just because."
- Primo and Mary's Heritage Products, Cazenovia: This fresh salsa can be found in your local Tops and Nice-N-Easy Shoppes.
- Simple Roast Coffee, East Syracuse: Coffee in CNY has its artistic niche, and the East Syracuse roaster founded in 2013 is joining the ranks with the rest of the locally-roasted coffee companies.
- Zimmer's Bakes, Weedsport: There is nothing small about owner Tracy's baked goods. Especially the cookies. In order to dunk the cookies effectively and without breaking them, your hot or cold beverage will have to be contained in a bucket.
- Also: Balsam Rose Soap, Cat's Creations, Cedarvale Maple Syrup, Creekside Meadows Farm, Elderberry Pond, Farmshed Harvest Hub, Flour City Pasta, Kriemhild Dairy Farm, Meadowood Farms, and Red Fox Jam and Jellies
The next Baltimore Woods Winter Farmers Market is slated take place Saturday, Feb. 14. That evening, a Sweetheart Snowshoe will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. for $30 per couple.
The sixth annual Local Harvest Dinner is set for Sunday, Feb. 8 and costs $25 and $40 respectively for nature center members and non-members. For more information, visit baltimorewoods.org.