By CASEY CROUCHER
Starting next week, Amsterdam residents will be able to purchase fresh, locally-grown food at the city's farmers market.
Ben Wallach, marketing director of the Niskayuna Co-op, who's also managing Amsterdam's farmers market, said he struck a deal Thursday to use the Walter Elwood Museum parking lot at 100 Church St. for Saturday markets between 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The first will be July 12.
"We have an agreement with the museum for the market site," he said. "The site will be moved; it was originally supposed to be closer to Dunkin' Donuts in the same parking lot, but the city owns that part of the lot. We'll be located farther down the lot, closer to the museum, and we'll be using power from the museum during our Saturday markets."
Wallach said he thinks the farmers market will help rebuild the city.
"[Farmers markets] bring a sense of community to an area," he said. "They get people out of their houses, exploring and buying locally-produced items."
Some of those items include a variety of jams, jellies, pickles, honey, baked goods, cheeses, eggs, meats and organic produce.
He said the market will also include crafts, lunch shops with different ethnic foods, a bounce house for children, and different bands.
"It's a nice idea to include entertainment for the kids so the parents can really look around and shop," Wallach said.
He said it's important for the city to start the market and keep it going.
"You want an alternative to the big-box store groceries," he said. "You want to get fresh food, and you want to support your local farmers and vendors. They're right in our backyards, but we have no way to get their produce directly, that's what farmers markets are for. This is the start of something for Montgomery County."
He said the Saturday market is starting late in the season, but he intends to keep it going every Saturday until the end of October.
Wallach said he hopes to have 20 food vendors and five craft vendors for next week's market, however, he said vendors are welcome to join at any point.
Anyone interested in being a vendor in the market needs to contact Cornell University intern Shannon Bush at City Hall. Her number is 841-4322."
He said vendor positions aren't permanent.
"Potential vendors don't need to buy a spot for the whole season; they can buy a spot in the market for one Saturday at $40, or buy a spot for the whole season at $150," he said. "We don't care how long a vendor wants to sell for. If they picked a bunch of berries and wanted to sell them one random Saturday then that's perfectly fine; we welcome that."
Wallach also said once the outdoor farmers market ends in October, the market will potentially move inside to a site in the museum from November to March.