Last summer at the Ithaca Farmers Market, a crowd poured out from a wooden pavilion beside Cayuga Inlet. The smell of fresh crepes, fried eggs, donuts, coffee and much more wafted through the air as shoppers picked up breakfast while purchasing the week’s groceries from local businesses. Instead of closing the market when the temperature drops, the market moves indoors.
The winter market, which takes place from January to March, used to be located in a small space inside Greenstar Cooperative Market, located on Buffalo Street. This year, the location has moved to the Triphammer Marketplace, located on Triphammer Road, where it will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Saturday until March 28. The market will move back to its outdoor location in April. In the winter, there are fewer vendors for shoppers to choose from, but there is still bread, cheese and vegetables for sale at the stands.
The marketplace resembles a mall and is comprised of small local businesses. Jeff Perry, property manager of the Triphammer Marketplace, said he wanted to host the farmers market to help to support the business in the marketplace and local farmers.
“[Local businesses] keep the money local and makes the local economy better,” Perry said.“Being a smaller mall and a local mall, we’re part of the same idea as the farmers market.”
Ithaca College junior Maddie Guerrier frequented the farmers market at the pavilion in the fall. She said she enjoyed her farmers market experience and thinks shopping local is important. She said she has not attended the winter market yet this season but would like to pay it a visit.
“Every purchase you’re making is helping a mom feed her kids and is going toward more sustainable and local projects you can actually see,” Guerrier said.
Laura Gallup, marketing and events coordinator for the farmers market, said that the market had to move to a new location after Greenstar switched to a larger store this past year.
“We knew we weren’t always going to be able to stay at [Greenstar], so we’ve been looking for a new space for a while,” Gallup said. “The Triphammer Marketplace checked all the boxes we needed.”
Triphammer is an ideal location because of the local stores that already exist in the marketplace, the larger space and the additional parking, Gallup said. She also said the market’s opening weekend was a marked success in comparison to other winter markets of past years. Gallup said the success was because of the additional foot traffic from the marketplace and its preexisting stores and a larger area for vendors and shoppers to navigate.
One of the stores inside the Triphammer Marketplace is Ithaca Bakery, so it is not uncommon to see shoppers browsing the produce selection while eating a pastry or sipping a cup of coffee.
“[The vendors] have been busier than all their other winter markets,” Gallup said. “One emailed me and told me she had her best winter market ever on the opening day.”
Sarah Van Orden Morrow, owner of Crosswind Farm and Creamery and the vendor who emailed Gallup, said a lot of vendors sold out of products during the first weekend.
“Everybody was a little cautious at the beginning,” Van Orden Morrow said. “You don’t know what to expect with a new location. … Once vendors get used to the traffic, then they’ll be able to plan accordingly.”
Gallup said that even in the winter months there are still plenty of fruits and vegetables available, alongside meats, cheeses, breads and other artisan goods from sources within 30 miles of Ithaca.
“A lot of people think you can’t be local all year–round and especially in the winter, but you really can,” Gallup said.
Van Orden Morrow said she sees a lot of the same people at the market every week, and getting to know her customers is one of her favorite parts of working there.
“You get to be friends with them and learn about what’s going on in their life,” Van Orden Morrow said. “And we share what’s going on in our life and on our farm. You get to build a relationship with your community.”