Riverhead Farmers Market to return this November

Riverhead Farmers Market

Lucy Senesac of Sang Lee Farms at the Riverhead Farmers Market in 2015. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo)

The indoor Riverhead Farmers Market will return to downtown Riverhead this winter after all.

Earlier this month, the Riverhead Business Improvement District Management Association announced it would no longer sponsor the event, one of the few farmers markets open regularly on the East End during the winter months.

But Lucy Senesac, farm manager at Sang Lee Farms in Peconic, which is one of the market’s vendors, said she reached out to Bernadette Martin, director of Long Island Greenmarket to see if there was a possibility that the market could reopen. That organization, which is dedicated to bringing farm products and healthy foods to local communities on Long Island, has agreed to sponsor the event, including the $1,500 monthly rent.

I jumped in because the BID said they weren’t going to do it,” Senesac said. “It was a nice transition and kind of a win-win, because the BID didn’t have the staff, money or experience to run the market, whereas LI Greenmarket has experience with markets.”

The market will be located in the same building, 117 E. Main St., as in years past. It will open on Small Business Saturday, Nov. 25, and will run Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. until the end of March.

Vendors are not yet confirmed, but Martin said she has plans for events in the area to coincide with the weekly market.

“We’d like to host some cooking classes and I would love to get a movie series going,” she said. “We’re going to try to get the downtown popping with some events.”

Martin anticipated singing the lease Tuesday and Senesac has launched a GoFundMe campaign to help pay the rent, advertising and other expenses. In 2016, the market lost more than $5,000, BIDMA president Steve Shaugher had told the Riverhead News-Review.

“We’ll be running a GoFundMe campaign to help promote the market, and if everyone feels like they helped keep it going and put in a little bit of money for it, it’s kind of the community’s project in a way,” Senesac said. “It needs a little boost and we need to make it more sustainable.”

The Riverhead Farmers Market will accept SNAP benefits and partner with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Suffolk County and Northwell Health to promote healthy eating among SNAP beneficiaries.