Farmers market in Riverhead off to a glowing start

KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO  |  Lucy Cascio, left, and Grace Longinetti rush to restock their samples at Copia Granola's booth.
KATHARINE SCHROEDER PHOTO | Lucy Cascio, left, and Grace Longinetti rush to restock their samples at Copia Granola’s booth.

Two musicians. Twenty eight vendors. Hundreds of attendees. And at least a few thousand dollars worth in transactions.

So went the debut of the Riverhead Farmers Market on Saturday on East Main Street, in the 8,000-square-foot building downtown that previously housed Swezey’s department store.

Less than 90 minutes into the four-hour pop-up market — the weekly display will run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. through mid-May — many vendors had already sold out of their original stock.

“We’ve already had to go back to the farm stand twice,” said Katie Dinizio, with Aquebogue’s Goodale Farms.


The dairy farm makes its rounds to about 15 farmers markets throughout the year, she said. “This one has been excellent.”

The market got its legs after Riverhead Town’s Community Development Director Christine Kempner ran into her old neighbor, Browder’s Birds proprietor Holly Browder. The poultry farmer told Ms. Kempner that the winter market she went to previously, in Sag Harbor, had shut down this season. Coordinating with downtown’s Business Improvement District president Ray Pickersgill, it didn’t take long until they got enough vendors to fill out a market in downtown Riverhead.

Ms. Kempner said on Saturday that they already had a waiting list of 15 sellers before Saturday, “but lots more are interested after today.”

Businesses in attendance included downtown’s Blue Duck Bakery, Melville-based Copia Granola, Southampton Soap Company, Polish Town’s Moustache Brewing Co., Merkin Fisheries out of Montauk and more.

Sound Beach residents Jesse and Marlayna Rutter said they had purchased goods from Moustache and North Fork Chocolate Company. The wintertime market, they said, drew them to downtown Riverhead.

“It’s nice to have this in February,” Jesse said. “Rather than having to wait until the summer.”

John Quigley with Cutchogue-based Long Island Mushroom Company said the timing was great, as well.

“This is blowing everything out of the water,” said Mr. Quigley, who also sells at markets in Greenport, Bridgehampton and Shelter Island. “This time of year, we’re very thankful.”

Mr. Quigley was on his way back to his Cox Lane location about an hour into the market to pick up another round of inventory.

Matt Spitz, with Moustache Brewing Co., likewise had to make another trip back to his brewery less than 90 minutes in, after Riverhead’s newest brewery had poured through six quarter-kegs.

Some customers were doing the same thing.

“I’ve already made one trip out to my car and came back in,” said downtown resident Amy Davidson.

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