Outdoor farmers market in Riverhead may be scaled back

The outdoor farmers market in downtown Riverhead may not run as long this summer. (Credit: Vera Chinese, file)
The outdoor farmers market in downtown Riverhead may not run as long this summer. (Credit: Vera Chinese, file)

The Riverhead Business Improvement District Management Association may shorten the number of weeks it holds the outdoor farmers market in downtown Riverhead this summer. 

While the indoor farmers market has been successful, in part because it’s a one-of-a-kind market on the East End in the winter, the summer market doesn’t draw as many vendors because it’s competing with individual farmstands throughout the area, according to BIDMA president Ray Pickersgill, who brought up the issue at Wednesday’s meeting.

“The problem with Saturdays, when there’s all the other farmers markets going, is nobody comes to the Riverhead one,” said BIDMA member Dee Muma. “All the East End people have their own farmers markets in their own towns.”

The indoor market, held this year at the former McCabes/Dinosaur Walk building on 221 E. Main Street, is scheduled to end May 16.

Last year, the outdoor market, held along the riverfront off Heidi Behr Way in downtown Riverhead, ran from May 24 to Oct. 31.

But this year, the BIDMA is considering ending it in early September, Mr. Pickersgill said.

“It’s back to school, people aren’t going to the farmers market when it’s back to school,” Mr. Pickersgill said.

“Plus, it’s cold,” Riverhead Councilman John Dunleavy added.

Mr. Pickersgill said he will contact farmers and other vendors to get their feedback to the idea of ending the outdoor market earlier.

He said he doesn’t want to do the summer market unless there are at least 30 vendors.

“One of the reasons the indoor market is so popular is because we have everything,” Mr. Pickersgill said. “We have to get the right vendors.”

He said the winter farmers market has also been hurt by the cold weather this winter, and he said he thinks the previous location, in the former Swezey’s furniture store, worked better for downtown because it had more parking.

Ms. Muma, who ownes Dark Horse restaurant, suggested the BIDMA consider an offer made by Tanger Outlets to have the summer market there. This will give farmers a chance to sell their products before large crowds.

“Will that help on Main Street? That’s what we’re trying to do,” Mr. Pickersgill said.

The BIDMA also voted to hold its Fourth of July fireworks show on July 3 this summer.

The fireworks show will also feature a concert from Brady Rymer of Southold, who had a second album nominated for a Grammy Award earlier this year.

The price of the fireworks is lower on July 3 than it is on July 4th and the show won’t be competing with as many other fireworks, Mr. Pickersgill said.

The Fourth of July falls on a Saturday this year. Last year, the fireworks and Brady Rhymer concert were rained out on July 4.

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