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From NY Metro Parents March 2, 2017

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5 Reasons We Love Pleasantville

The appropriately named village has the charm of a small community with the benefit of being a train

By Kathryn Sheridan

The appropriately named village of Pleasantville in Westchester County has all the charm of a small community while having the benefits that come from being a train ride away from Manhattan. Pleasantville is familiar worldwide to the subscribers of Reader's Digest, which made the village its headquarters and maintains a presence there. The village was noted in GQ's list of "Top Ten Best Smelling Cities in the World". They write, "If Norman Rockwell's paintings emitted a scent, this is what it would be".

Here are 5 reasons we love Pleasantville.

Jacob Burns Film Center

Credited with putting Pleasantville on the cultural map, the nonprofit Jacob Burns Film Center draws moviegoers in for screenings of indie, foreign, and documentary films. Film industry powerhouses such as George Clooney, Woody Allen, Robert Redford, and Stephen King have made guest appearances and speeches at the landmark theater. Programs and classes are offered for kids and adults of all ages to learn about film, storytelling, and production.

Pleasantville Farmers Market

Since 1998, the Pleasantville Farmers Market has provided year-round access to healthy, locally grown food. Today, it is the largest farmers market in Westchester County and attracts upwards of 3,500 people each week. Its website allows visitors to check when their favorite vendors will be at the market each Saturday. During the winter, the market is housed in the local middle school.

Pleasantville Music Festival

Every year on a Saturday in July, thousands flock to the village for the Pleasantville Music Festival. The all-day event features a mix of established musicians and bands and newcomers on two stages. Families can bring blankets and chairs and enjoy a day of live rock and blues tunes.

Village Bookstore

Located just around the corner from the Pleasantville Metro-North station, the Village Bookstore is an old-fashioned wonderland of good reads. The store also hosts author readings and poetry contests. Its most famous customers might be Bill and Hillary Clinton, who live in nearby Chappaqua and adopted the store after their local bookstore closed.

Rockefeller State Park Preserve

Offering hiking trails, fishing, and panoramic views of the Hudson River, the Rockefeller State Park Preserve is a favorite outdoor destination of Pleasantville residents. The park consists of more than 1,000 acres of picturesque land donated by the Rockefeller family. The system of carriage roads created by John D. Rockefeller, a horse-lover, remains in use in the park.


From Pleasantville Patch May 4, 2017

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3-Way Pleasantville Partnership Funnels Fresh Local Food to the Needy

Volunteers with Pleasantville Lions Club, Farmers Market and Community Garden act in concert

By Lanning Taliaferro

Having moved back outside in April, the Pleasantville Farmers Market is getting into full swing at Memorial Plaza for its 20th outdoor season. Recognized as the county's best farmers market by Westchester Magazine in 2014, 2015 and 2016, the market attracts an average of over 3,000 visitors every Saturday and has become a major regional destination. But there's a lesser known side as well.

We're especially proud of the meaningful community partnerships that have developed to help keep top quality food accessible to those who need it most, says Steven Bates, Executive Director of Market Operations, Foodchester, Inc, the non-profit operator of the Pleasantville Farmers Market.
One of those partnerships is with the Pleasantville Lions Club, a market sponsor. For the second year in a row the Lions Club has provided a generous grant for customers using Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) electronic cards at the Market. Thanks to this grant, shoppers using SNAP benefits automatically receive 40 percent more value as Bonus Bucks ensuring that families and individuals have access to fresh, healthy nutritious food.
The Pleasantville Lions are excited to partner with the Pleasantville Farmers Market to help provide fresh food options to the members of our community," said Michael Cusack, President of The Pleasantville Lions. "We're a small part of the larger effort within Pleasantville which aims to help those in need. Whether through the Interfaith Food Pantry, The Pleasantville Community Garden, vendor donations at the Market or the support of SNAP by our organization, it takes all of us together to help ensure those who face challenges putting a meal on their table are able to do so.
Also, Foodchester is in the third year of a partnership with the Pleasantville Community Garden.
At the end of the Market day, Garden volunteers collect donated food from vendors, which is added to what the Garden grows or collects from other sources and it is all donated to the Hillside Food Pantry. Shoppers also have an opportunity to donate produce to a collection bin at the Managers Tent, which the Garden gathers and delivers to Hillside as well.SUBSCRIBE
Thanks in large part to the Market's farmers, who don't live here but are generous beyond any expectation, we've contributed over 30,000 pounds of produce and fruit to county residents since we began in 2014, said Devin Juros, the 16-year-old Pleasantville Community Garden founder.
This is truly a situation where complementary efforts are coming together we're each other's missing pieces, says Peter Rogovin, President and Chairman of Foodchester, Inc. The Lions raise money to help in the community but were seeking a channel for direct service. The Garden has volunteers and contacts with food pantries, but lacked enough food. We have the tech to offer SNAP at the Market and generous vendors with food. The teamwork that has developed between our community organizations has connected everyone's strengths to a shared mission, and that is the very definition of partnership.
The Market shares Memorial Plaza with the Pleasantville Garden Club Annual Plant Sale on May 13, and is closed May 20 for the Village-wide Pleasantville Day. The Market then reopens May 21, which is when another summer of weekly programs (Culinary, Music, Kids events) begins. At that time all remaining seasonal vendors (ie: North Winds Lavender Farm, J&A Farm) will join as well.
The Market's complete vendor roster is available at, along with a map and a list of the week's rotating vendors. LESS

From Pleasantville Patch June 27, 2016

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Fresh Idea: Hillside Food Donation Day July 2 at the Pleasantville Farmers Market

It's a partnership between the farmers, Pleasantville Community Garden and Hillside Food Outreach

BY Lanning Taliaferro

The Pleasantville Farmers Market will host an event July 2 to introduce visitors to Hillside Food Outreach, a Pleasantville institution helping people across Westchester get the nutritious food they need.
The event will highlight the exciting, beneficial partnership that has developed between the Market, the Pleasantville Community Garden and Hillside Food Outreach and it will give shoppers an opportunity to contribute to the cause of eradicating hunger in our community as well.

The Market and its farmers have been helping to support Hillside Food Outreach for the past year through the work of the Pleasantville Community Garden, whose volunteers collect leftover produce from the farmers at the Market, and then deliver it to Hillside weekly. In 2016, so far - over 3,700 pounds of farm-fresh food has been generously donated from the Market farmers to Hillside thanks to the volunteer efforts of the Pleasantville Community Garden.

On July 2nd Buy an Extra Item of Produce
On Saturday July 2, our vendors will encourage shoppers to support Hillside by purchasing an extra item of produce and allocating that item to go to Hillside. The Pleasantville Community Garden will have a volunteer team on hand (mostly local High School students) to help ferry the day's food donations to Hillside at the conclusion of the market day.
Representatives from both Hillside Food Outreach and the Pleasantville Community Garden will be on hand to answer questions about their respective programs, and to speak about the partnership that has developed between them. Like the Market, both of these organizations have succeeded due to the significant efforts of volunteers. During the event, visitors can explore numerous types of volunteer opportunities that connect with the mission to reduce hunger in our county.

Joining Forces to Combat Local Hunger
As Mayor of Pleasantville, I am so pleased to see this partnership between the Pleasantville Farmers Market, the Pleasantville Community Garden and Hillside Food Outreach, says Peter Scherer, mayor of the Village of Pleasantville. Our village is full of neighbors who are looking out for one another and extending a helping hand when needed, and it doesn't surprise me that volunteers from these non-profit organizations are working even harder to ensure that all members of our community have access to fresh food.
The Pleasantville Community Garden is the brainchild of 15 year old Devin Juros, who researched the issue of food insecurity in the region and learned that 20% of Westchester residents did not have enough food on a weekly basis. Devin's concern about this local issue led to the development of a 600 square foot garden on the grounds of St. Johns Episcopal Church, created with a mission to grow fresh vegetables for those in need in Westchester.
Since it began in 2014, the Pleasantville Community Garden has grown and donated over 17,000 pounds of fresh vegetables for Hillside, which serves more than 1,500 individuals across Westchester.
To aid in this effort, farmers from the Market contribute leftover produce to go to the Hillside Food Outreach, says Steven Bates, executive director of the Pleasantville Farmers Market. Thanks to the generosity of our farmers, who understand the importance and often the difficulty of fulfilling a basic human need, over we've been able to contribute more than 8,000 pounds of fresh produce and fruit to the Garden's efforts over the last year.
These farm-fresh donations wouldn't make their way to Hillside without the work of volunteers from The Pleasantville Community Garden who pick up leftover produce and arrange for its delivery to Hillside.
It's been amazing that we've had such an impact with the added donations from farmers of fresh vegetables to Hillside Food Outreach, says Juros. We look forward to continuing to work together with the Pleasantville Farmers Market in the future to donate even more and help resolve hunger in Westchester.

Expanding Offerings to Those Who Need It Most
The Pleasantville Farmers Market accepts Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) electronic cards in the Market, ensuring that people who receive government assistance for food can use their benefits to purchase healthy, nutritious food at the Market. Thanks to a generous grant from a Market sponsor, The Pleasantville Lions, customers using SNAP benefits to pay for food receive Bonus Bucks to maximize their purchasing abilities.
"This opportunity to provide direct and specific assistance to those with less resources in our community is consistent with the Pleasantville Lions mission," says Pleasantville Lions member Mark Ipri. Shoppers with SNAP cards may exchange their benefits for Pleasantville Farmers SNAP Bucks, which can be spent at any vendor selling food staples. Thanks to The Pleasantville Lions, those shoppers also receive Bonus Bucks, making the program truly beneficial to participants.
This helps some of the neediest members of our community provide their families with fresh, regionally produced fruits, vegetables and proteins, explains Rogovin.

About Hillside Food Outreach
Hillside Food Outreach home delivers groceries to those in need of food assistance and who are unable, for whatever reason, to access local pantries. They have a team of over 250 volunteers that deliver to over 1,500 men women and children throughout Westchester County. Hillside Food Outreach also has branches in Putnam County, New York and Fairfield County, Connecticut. If you would like further information, reach out by phone by calling 914-747-0095 or, visit online.

About The Pleasantville Community Garden
The Pleasantville Community Garden, brainchild of Devin Juros in 2013 when he was 12, grows and gathers food for donation to local organizations, distributing food across Westchester. The organization is run completely by local volunteers who give their time to tend the gardens, gather from the Pleasantville Farmers Market and distribute to the organizations who distribute the food. Since inception in 2014, over 17,000 pounds of food has been grown and gathered for distribution thanks to the hard work of the volunteers. To check out our programs and find out how you can help, visit online.

About Foodchester, Inc.
Foodchester, Inc., operator of the Pleasantville Farmers Market, is a Pleasantville-based non-profit organization dedicated to healthy communities, sustainable food systems, and local economic development.


From Hudson Valley, The Homegrown Issue July 2014

Play the Market

Dig into the region's farmers markets, each with its own personality

By Mary Forsell

Voted the number one farmers market in New York by the Washington, D.C.-based American Farmland Trust, this Westchester powerhouse takes a juried approach to its 55 vendors, ensuring that each one brings something unique to the table.

"The mantra is diversity, quality, and balance," says Steven Bates, executive director of market operations. Operating in the land of Whole Foods markets and high-end shops, this market competes with upscale artisan and speciality prepared foods -- such as falafel, wines, breads, and cheeses made from locally grown produce -- or artisans who source local foods.

Chalkboards throughout the market list the events of the day: perhaps a nutritionist talk, a magician, Spanish guitar music, or a chef's demo. Foot traffic swells to as many as 3,000 on a summer's day.

"About 60 percent are coming from neighboring Westchester communities and treat the market as a destination for special visits," says Bates.


From Pleasantville-Briarcliff Manor Patch

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Plesantville Farmers Market Brings Farm-Fresh Produce, Music, Art & More!

June 25, 2014

By Wendy Mitchell

Summer has arrived and with it juicy and ripe farm-fresh fruits and veggies. Farmers across New York are gearing up for the summer season to share their local produce, dairy, breads and more with hungry locavores at weekly farmer's markets.

Pleasantville's farmers market runs on Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. at Memorial Plaza, right next to the train station. In addition to NY Grown produce, cheeses and herbs, home-made jams, jellies, fresh-baked breads and spices are also sold. More than 50 new and returning farmers and food artisans bring shoppers flavorful, regionally grown, regionally produced food. Click here for a list of vendors.

This Saturday June 28th is Tie Dye T-Shirt Day! From 9:30 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. kids can get artsy and create a unique tie dye t-shirt. Music from guitarist Doug Munro will entertain shoppers from 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

There is also a special visit from Tousey Winery. A special lecture will also be held entitled: "Let's Talk about Sustainable Food Labels." An overview of different labels including "organic," "natural," "grass-fed," and "pasture-raised" will be explained.

According to the NY Federation of Farmers Markets , choosing to eat locally is healthy for you and the environment, and it supports your local farmers as well.
Here are some more benefits:

Health benefits:

  • Higher nutrients from organically managed soil

  • Less exposure to synthetic pesticides and fertilizers

  • No synthetic growth or breeding hormones

  • No synthetic additives

  • No antibiotics

  • No genetically engineered seeds or other inputs (GMOs)

  • No sewage sludge

  • No irradiation

Earth benefits:

  • Builds biodiversity

  • Reduces excess nitrogen

  • Fights climate change

  • Keeps water cleaner

  • Builds healthy soil

  • Saves energy

  • Protects wildlife

Community benefits:

  • Brings people together at markets and community supported farms

  • Keeps money in the local economy

  • Incorporates the true cost of food

  • Supports smaller and beginning farmers

  • Protects the health of farm workers

Make sure to stop at the ATM on your way there because most of the merchants only take cash. And don't forget to bring your reusable bag!

The Pleasantville Outdoor Farmers Market runs Saturdays 8:30 am - 1:00 pm, now through the end of November. The market is located at Memorial Plaza, right next to the train station. For a full list of vendors and a calendar of events, visit

Bon Appetit!



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Are Farmers Markets Local?

By Liz Johnson, The Journal News

Mangoes, bananas and pineapples don't grow anywhere near New York, so if you see them for sale at a local farmers market, there's something shady going on.

Or maybe not. Depends on where you shop. Each of the 38 farmers markets in Westchester, Rockland and Putnam counties has different definitions about what makes produce "local" and varying rules about what their farmers and vendors can sell.

So as we head into the height of summer, how can you tell whether the sometimes pricey food you buy at a farmers market is really grown in the region? You have to ask.

But here's a hint: More than 90 percent of our markets take part in the New York state Farmers' Market Nutrition Program, which provides checks for seniors and women with children to buy locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables. In order to participate, farmers must grow at least 50 percent of what they sell and source the remainder in New York or a bordering state (like Connecticut for markets in Westchester, or Pennsylvania in Binghamton), says Joe Morrissey, a spokesman for the state Department of Agriculture and Markets.

"When farmers apply for FMNP, we work with market managers and also conduct some inspections on both farms and markets to make sure their crop plans are accurate," he says.

For a different program, called EBT/SNAP, formerly known as food stamps, markets can sell items not sourced in New York, including tropical fruit. In that case, those mangoes and bananas may be legit.

And lemons, too, in the case of the Nyack Farmers Market. For sale alongside fresh fish caught in the waters off Long Island, citrus falls under that market's 80/20 rule, says market manager Pamela Moskowitz. Farmers and vendors must grow, harvest or make 80 percent of what they sell. The other 20 can "fill in the holes of your product," she says. Meaning: it's convenient for shoppers to pick up lemons when they buy fish.

In a spot check of the rules of 17 of the most popular markets in the region — White Plains, Nyack, Bronxville, Pleasantville, Chappaqua, Hastings-on-Hudson, Irvington, Gossett's Nursery in North Salem and the nine run by Down to Earth Markets — The Journal News found that most markets have contracts with vendors that require farmers to outline what grows where on their farms.

And managers check vendors, both with farm visits and at the market, to ensure produce is in season. They also check to see that other vendors, like bakers and sauce makers, are using locally sourced ingredients. If vendors do not comply, most markets will work with them to figure out why; if not, they are asked to leave.

"A lot of times it's not egregious," says Brenda Ryan, director of vendor relations for Down to Earth Markets, which is based in Ossining and runs the markets in Larchmont, New Rochelle, Rye, Tarrytown, Croton-on-Hudson, Ossining, Spring Valley and Piermont, and Mamaroneck in the winter. "The first step is having a conversation and just working it out, as opposed to kicking somebody out."

"I have a very high standard for my vendors," says Mary Liz Mulligan, who runs the Bronxville market. "If someone comes in, and they're not who I thought they were, they're gone."

Mulligan has a close relationship with her vendors, too. On a recent farm visit to The Orchards of Concklin in Ramapo, she walked the fields with farmer Rich Concklin, asking about how the harsh winter would affect harvests — and also about how his family was doing. As she inspected a greenhouse filled with tomatoes, Concklin lamented that the cold winter had killed the first plants he put out in early March. But a walk through the orchards revealed his apple, pear, peach and cherry trees had survived the spring, with blossoms and fruit intact.

Down to Earth Markets along with markets in Chappaqua, Hastings, Irvington, Pleasantville and Bronxville shared vendor contracts and other documents with The Journal News, including papers that that outline their policies for specialty items like jam, salsa and beauty products sold at the markets. All documents are available on

Nyack did not share contracts. White Plains did not respond to interview requests for this article. Tom Gossett, owner of the nursery where the North Salem market is held, says he has a handshake agreement with his vendors, which are also vetted by other markets such as John Jay Homestead, Muscoot Farms and Pleasantville.

"We are a producer-only market," says Peter Rogovin, president of Foodchester Inc., which operates the Pleasantville Farmers Market. "You have to grow what you sell in our market." Still, the nonprofit that runs the market makes exceptions on a case-by-case basis. "Does it have good provenance?" he says. "Is it organic? Are you sourcing well? And do you add value to the experience of buying that product?" The Spice Revolution, he says, can't possibly source locally, but the Dobbs Ferry-based vendor is extremely knowledgeable about her products. "She has eight different kinds of cinnamon."

Advocates trying to build a regional food supply say a fully local market is impossible, for now.

"We try to put people, processors in particular, on the track of sourcing local ingredients," says Jon Zeltsman, an owner of Down to Earth, formerly known as Community Markets. "But the supply is not fully built, so we look for a reasonably good effort, a simpatico with the vendors that they understand what the local food system is about. We have a whole resource list where they can source grains or produce, but there's not a distribution channel built for them to do that easily. That's a challenge the industry at large has."

Shoppers have questions about produce from farms that appear at a number of markets, says Ryan of Down to Earth. How could they possibly grow so much? Farm visits are the answer, she says.

"Migliorelli Farm is in many of our markets," she says. "They're in Union Square. And the Migliorellis are really good at what they do. They started out as a family farm two generations ago, and they have expanded over time to buy other (farms) in their area. And they have a lot of people working with them to get their products to markets. We know their scale, their crop plan. They're telling us how much acreage they have, so you get a sense of scale. You can see how someone as big as Migliorelli can get kale to 30 markets a week."

Still, sometimes market managers ask farmers to bring in products from other farms — as long as they're upfront about it with shoppers.

"If there's a small market and there's nobody selling eggs, we ask that farmer if there's a neighbor to bring in the eggs," says Ryan, of Down to Earth. "But it's all about the transparency."

That's what Elena McCabe, a South Nyack resident who shops at the Nyack Farmers Market, is looking for, too.

"I usually try and talk to the vendors about it — either where they are from or I'll ask them questions about where (their products are) coming from," she says. "I know Concklin Farms brings in a lot of the dried fruits and stuff like that, you know the answers are OK. They're not necessarily the ones I always want to hear, but they're honest with me about it."

When farmers or producers blatantly disregard their contracts, Down to Earth has "consciously ended the relationship," says Zeltsman. He estimates in the 24 years he's been running markets it has happened about "half a dozen times."

"They paid lip service to local sourcing, but in the end they weren't local," he says.

The best-known case of a vendor who no longer sells at Down to Earth, or at the Nyack market where it was was a fixture, is Dines Farm, which sold poultry, beef, pork and eggs. A newspaper article in 2008 revealed that Greenmarket, which runs 54 farmers markets in New York City, imposed a 90-day ban on Jay Dines after an inspection showed he was selling chicken that wasn't raised on his farm.

Dines said in a recent interview that after that article, he wasn't asked to leave suburban markets, but he went from selling $2,600 to $3,200 a day to $300 or $400. So he quit coming. "I told them, 'I can't make any money,' " he said.

Zeltsman says that Down to Earth "couldn't get a good handle" on where the meat came from. "He wouldn't be transparent with us."

Dines says that Down to Earth never visited his farm and he maintains that days-old chickens were shipped to the farm every two weeks from a hatchery in Connecticut. He also said the Greenmarket inspector did not walk all 129 acres of his farm and did not see all his livestock.

Dines Farm was destroyed during Hurricane Irene in 2011, but Dines has spent the past three years rebuilding and he hopes to be in markets in New Rochelle and Harlem this summer.

Nicole Reed, manager of communications and special projects at Down to Earth, says vendors who aren't transparent are "much more the exception than the rule."

"I think a lot of people are very proud of the work that they do at the farmers markets," she says.

So when you shop for your organic produce, grass-fed beef and freshly baked bread, you can be pretty sure you're buying local. Except when you're not.


From Wee Westchester on June 1, 2013

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Best Farmers Markets 2013

What's New, What's Worth Driving To, and Where To Have the Most Fun on a Saturday Morning

Posted by Brooke

After regular trips to the Union Square Green Market in the city, it can be a bit jarring when you roll up to a farmers market in the ‘burbs with only three or four vendors. Ouch.

Last summer we set out to find the best farmers markets in Westchester. In other words, markets that are worth traveling to. Here’s what we found: There are four or five farmers market in the area that make wonderful hangouts, but many of the smaller markets have everything you need too — so give them a second chance if they underwhelmed you the first time. Plus. there are a few new farmers markets debuting this month.

Still, some of the markets here are better than others. Here’s how they size up.

Our Mention

Pleasantville Farmers Market (*VERY BEST*)

When: Saturdays, 8:30am to 1pm, beginning May 25

Where: Memorial Plaza, next to the train station

What They Have: Pleasantville’s market is the largest in Westchester, and in our opinion, the very best. There’s almost always live music, activities for kids, and there are so many vendors that it’s just fun to browse all of the goodies. It actually a great place to hang out on a Saturday morning. In addition to the baked foods, meats, veggies and pastas, look out for the large selection of gluten-free products. (Be sure to pop over to Black Cow, across the street, for one of their ginger peach iced teas!)

Size: Very Big, they say they have over 50 vendors every weekend.

To see the rest of the markets listed, click here for remainder of article.


From The Daily Voice, July 30, 2013

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Pleasantville Tops Most Celebrated Farmers Markets In New York

I Love My Farmers Market

The Pleasantville Famers Market has received the most pledge dollars in New York State through an organization that honors family famers and farmers markets – making it among the most celebrated markets in the country.

As of Monday afternoon, the Pleasantville Farmers Market had received $570 in pledges for the American Farmland Trust’s I Love My Famers Market Celebration. It was trailed by the Union Square Greenmarket in New York City, which had $350 in pledges, and the Saratoga Famers Market in Saratoga Springs, which had $330 in pledges.

The I Love My Farmers Market Celebration marks the fifth year that the American Farmland Trust has hosted a summer-long event to honor family farmers and to raise the national awareness about bountiful farmers markets, press release from the organization said.

In total, $6,530 was pledged for farmers markets in New York, which puts the state in third place so far nationwide. California was in the lead with $10,390 pledged, followed by Georgia with $8,440.

Pledges for the I Love My Farmers Market Celebration can be signed online. For every $10 spent on local food, as much as $7.80 is re-spent in the local community, supporting local jobs and businesses, the release said.


From May 30, 2013

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Market Season is in Full Swing

And 150ish couldn't be happier

They say there is no greater optimism than that of a baseball fan on opening day. Spring training is over, 162 games lie ahead, and anything can happen. For a certain kind of food-lover (Francesca and Marisa among them), the same is true for a farmers market’s opening day. Yes, many are open year round...

...whether outdoors or in, but the end of May/beginning of June means that market season is truly in full swing—we’re no longer looking at piles of root vegetables, but savoring the first sweet strawberries, relishing short-term visitors like ramps and fiddleheads, and anticipating the season to come. Who are the new purveyors? Will this be a good year for tomatoes (and can we afford to buy them if it is)? Is it possible to eat too much sweet corn? Yes, we’ve as much optimism as any baseball fan, but unlike most of them, we won’t be disappointed come October.

Here’s the dish. There are 470 farmers markets across New York State, including 54 green markets in the five boroughs alone. That’s a lot of vegetables—and jam, and eggs, and fresh meat and poultry, and cheese; the list goes on and on. Today, a trip to many farmers markets can rival the best gourmet shop in town.

The Pleasantville Farmers Market had its outdoor opening day this past weekend. 150ish arrived armed with a list of purveyors to visit and—despite the cold and rain—found a great selection. This is the largest farmers market in Westchester, with 50 farmers and food purveyors from around the region. Because it’s located in the Memorial Plaza that’s right next to the Pleasantville train station, the market is easily reachable via Metro North’s Harlem Line—and if you’re heading upstate for a day trip or the weekend, it’s a quick stop off the Saw Mill on the way.

Anyone who’s old enough to remember what Union Square was like before the Greenmarket can attest to the municipal value of a farmers market. Sixteen years ago, Pleasantville had a business district distinctly lacking in vitality and a desire to drive more customers downtown. Their farmers market began with four booths and grew substantially under the direction of a commercial management company.

Three years ago, the market began to transition away from its for-profit management company and established the non-profit Foodchester, Inc., the board of which is made up of local residents, many of whom had served as market volunteers for many years.

“For the past three years there were a number of surveys taken among the market customers, but many of the requests went unfulfilled because the management wasn’t focused only on our market,” says Steven Bates, executive director of market operations for Foodchester. “Now we are better able to address what our customers have asked for.”

First among those requests was an indoor market in Pleasantville, and Foodchester answered that with the January 5th opening of the indoor market at the Pleasantville Middle School. Steven notes that it quickly became the largest indoor winter market in the region, and says that, as of this past weekend, they have addressed the entire list: more cold drinks, beer, gluten-free options, middle eastern food, cut flowers, and lower prices on poultry. “This year, we have 24 new vendors acting on every one of those requests.”

Fans of this market (and there are many—a 2011 survey named it the fourth most popular farmers market in the state) will find their favorite purveyors from previous seasons as well. 150ish loved the diversity of this market—it’s well curated with a good balance of farmers and foodstuffs both ready-to-eat and to take-away.

And clearly that’s not by accident. According to Steven, “We have a 12-point criteria list for potential vendors. In addition to being local, or making food with local products, we like to see things that aren’t at other markets.”

We’ll be telling you the story behind Pleasantville venders like Lazy Crazy Acres Farmstead Creamery and their “cow to cone” gelato in the coming weeks, but here are a just a few of the many highlights.

The deservedly praised Buddhapesto is available here. The New York Times has called this “pesto bliss,” and Francesca agrees.

We’ve been enjoying jam from Margery Schiffman’s Conant Valley Jams for years and were so happy to find them here at Pleasantville for the first time. The “Blubard” (Gingered Blueberry Rhubarb jam) and Blood Orange and Meyer Lemon Marmalade are stand-outs, but hurry and get their Wild Ramp Pesto before it’s too late.

Krazy For Kazu’s offers a tasty ginger salad dressing and ponzu sauce in both regular and gluten-free versions. There was a delicious tasting of Brussels sprouts sautéed in the ponzu sauce.

We were happy to be introduced to Pika’s Farm Table, which makes Belgian waffles (that smelled incredible), as well as quiches and potpies, tarts, soups, and seasonal dips and tapenades. Try the salsa!

The Amazing Real Live Food Co. has a line of cheeses (including a tasty Camembert-style), many of which are probiotic-enhanced. There’s also a probiotic-enhanced ice cream line.

150ish arrived too early to sample
Aba’s Falafel
, but they come highly recommended by a number of the other purveyors. Steven Bates singles them out as well, noting that their preparation (freshly fried falafel on freshly baked pita) is extremely entertaining. And while the chickpeas are not local, much of the rest of the ingredients are, including those in the three Israeli-style salads that are sourced from regional farms at the market.

Those looking for local libations will find Breezy Hill Orchard & Cider Mill (selling fresh and hard cider alongside baked goods and fresh pasta), Captain Lawrence Brewing Company, Drink More Good natural sodas and syrups, and a rotating selection of wines from Adair Vineyards, Tousey Winery, Warwick Valley Winery, and Whitecliff Vineyard.

For baked goods, there’s All You Knead Artisan Bakers, Bobolink Dairy and Bakehouse (for both bread and cheese), Bread Alone, Dutch Desserts, Little Croc Bakehouse (vegan, nut- , and gluten-free), and Red Barn Bakery, Spoonful of Sugar Bakeshop (gluten-free).

Dairy products, fresh meat and poultry abound from such farms as Butterfield Farm Company (goat’s milk cheeses and yogurt), Cowberry Crossing Farm (eggs, chicken, beef, pork, lamb, and rabbit), Feather Ridge Farm (eggs and chicken), Hudson Valley Duck Farm (whole ducks, breasts, delicious duck bacon, confit, and other products), Kiernan Farm (grass-fed, dry-aged beef), Pura Vida Fisheries (fresh catch direct from Long Island), and Raghoo Farms (eggs, poultry, goat, lamb, and elk).

Other variety foods include Bombay Emerald Chutney Company, Go-Go Pops (with 70 varieties of artisan fruit pops), Orto Foods (kale chips and other vegetable crisps), Pickle Licious, Spice Revolution, Stefan’s Pure Blends, and Trotta Pasta.

And yes, there are also farm stands! Eden Farms Greenhouse (for plants and flowers), J & A Farm (herbs are a specialty), Little Seed Gardens, Madura Farms (with 12 to 15 different types of mushrooms), Mead Orchards, Newgate Farms, North Winds Lavender Farm, Shawangunk Growers, and the River Garden keep this farmers market green and blooming.

Pleasantville Farmers Market is—dare we say it?—a pleasant place to spend a Saturday morning. The venders are friendly, the crowd is not frenetic, and they strive to be community minded. As Steven Bates describes them, “The three principle goals of the market are to create a vibrant downtown area, connect the community as a whole to fresh and healthy food sources, and support local farms.” He continues, “We’re always impressed with the level of our venders’ creativity—we’re a bridge between these passionate, creative people and the customers.” Some purveyors rotate, so check the schedule. You’ll also find a full calendar of culinary and music events, as well as a different kid-friendly activity each week.

Visit the Pleasantville Outdoor Farmers Market on Saturdays 8:30 am – 1:00 pm, May 25 through November 23.The market is located at Memorial Plaza (next to the train station). For a full list of venders and a calendar of events, visit


From The Examiner May 21, 2013

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P'ville Farmers Market Raring to Get Started for the Summer

Pleasantville Farmers Market

By Martin Wilbur

Coming off a successful first indoor winter farmers market, Pleasantville is all set to welcome back its patrons and vendors to the great outdoors this weekend.

The summer market will make its 2013 debut this Saturday morning on Memorial Plaza, just two weeks after finishing its four-month run at Pleasantville Middle School.

Peter Rogovin, chairman of Foodchester, the nonprofit organization that took over operations of the Pleasantville market at the start of the year, said he is hopeful the decision to go year-round will help sustain momentum that would have dropped off once the outdoor market closed for the winter.

With an average weekly attendance of 900 visitors from January through May 11, according to Foodchester surveys, that bodes well for the new season, Rogovin said. Communities that have winter and summer markets generally draw about 30 percent of the crowds in winter that are attracted in the summer. “Being able to keep the market in Pleasantville is really good for summer,” Rogovin said.

Over the coming weeks, visitors will recognize many of the vendors but there will also be some changes, most of which were requested in surveys, he said. In all, there are about 50 vendors who have confirmed they will be part of the market as of last week, some of whom will be on a rotation.

This year, customers will be able to buy cold drinks, prepared foods and falafel. Other requests from the public that are being made available are gelato, cut flowers and baked goods. Beer was another request from patrons, so Captain Lawrence Brewery will be at the market. For the first time there will be a knife sharpening service.

There will also be the return of Hudson Valley Duck, which left the market last year.

“It’s so exciting for Foodchester and for our vendors and what I think is going to be really exciting for our town,” Rogovin said. “For three years you’ve been telling us what you want and in our first summer of running the market it’s like check, check, check…”

About a dozen vendors have remained from the indoor market while another 12 to 14 vendors are entirely new to Pleasantville, he said. Ragoo Farms is one of the new vendors, offering goat, lamb, duck and chicken parts.

There has also been a portion of another aisle added to accommodate more vendor space, Rogovin added. In a full week, there could be between 38 and 43 vendors, he said.

There will also be a greater variety of music and more events this year. Each week until mid October, except for the day of the July 13 Pleasantville Music Festival, there will be entertainment. The village’s own Nannyhagen Creek will open the market this week but there will also be jazz, classical, opera, country and a variety of eclectic sounds, Rogovin said.

“I think we’re a major destination market because of the variety, because of the scale and because we have a good parking situation,” he said.

While Pleasantville has been often criticized for lack of parking, organizers have a new arrangement with vendors this year. The village has arranged with a property owner to have vendors park on a private parcel, freeing up about 35 metered spots on Memorial Plaza. There are also about 400 parking spaces within a four-block walk of the market, including five parking lots that are free, Rogovin said.

Moving forward, Rogovin said organizers are trying to arrange for vendors to donate excess product to a local food pantry to combat hunger in the community. Visitors should also look for posted guidelines for bringing dogs to the market.

Rogovin said the efforts to focus on regional farms and fresh product will make the market special.

“We are trying to put farm back in farmers market,” he said.

The Pleasantville Farmer Market is open 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. each Saturday through Nov. 23. For more information, visit


From Pleasantville-Briarcliff Manor Patch October 19, 2012

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Apple Pie Contest a Farmers' Market Highlight

The Pleasantville Farmers' Market Committee hosted its annual pie-baking contest on Saturday.

By Sarah Studley

A panel of enthusiastic judges weighed in on 19 apple pies during the Pleasantville Farmers' Market annual pie baking contest on Saturday.

Sarah Rogovin, head of the Pleasantville Farmers' Market culinary programs, organized the popular third annual event, which this year, included five categories: best junior chef, best appearance, best tart, best semi-homemade and best scratch.

Congratulations to this year's winners!

  • BEST JUNIOR CHEF: Claire Cunningham (Pleasantville)

  • BEST APPEARANCE: Sam Ladah (Pleasantville)

  • BEST TART (1-CRUST): Maheswaran & Maia Surendra (Croton on Hudson)

  • BEST SEMI-HOMEMADE: Frank Franco (South Salem)

  • BEST SCRATCH: Tobey Jen (Chappaqua)

Jen was ecstatic when Rogovin announced her as the winner, exclaiming, "I can't believe it! I can't believe I won!"

Each winner received a gift bag filled with items donated by the market's vendors.

The 10 judges were a mix of village officials, food enthusiasts and chefs:

  • DAWN BARTZ, PHS Principal and apple pie aficionado

  • MINDY BERARD, Village Trustee and co-founder of the P'ville Farmers Market

  • DANIEL BLUM, EVP Operations of Phelps Memorial (also an experienced EMT if anyone needs a Heimlich or has a coronary due to overdose of butter or Crisco)

  • MIKE COHEN, Candidate for BA in Pastry Arts at Culinary Institute of America and market waffle chef at Pika's Farm Table

  • JULIA DELLA CROCE, Cookbook author, chef and restaurant consultant

  • JONATHAN CUNNINGHAM, Village Trustee and gourmand-at-large

  • MARISSA HARDIE, Local chef and cooking school owner

  • PHIL MCGRATH, Owner and executive chef of Iron Horse Grill, Pony Express and Seahorse

  • KEVIN ROBERTS, Painter, writer, reader, man about town who never met a mom or apple pie he didn't like

  • ALAN SHAPIRO, Acclaimed food photographer

After the competition, the pie slices were sold for $2 a piece. The proceeds from the event will benefit the newly-formed non-profit organization that will oversee the farmers' market and new winter farmers' market in Pleasantville.


From Westchester Magazine's 914INC. Fall 2011

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Farmers Market 2.0

How Pleasantville successfully reinvented an old tradition for new times


What do you do when your business isn't performing as well as you think it should? If you're marketing specialist Peter Rogovin, head of the Pleasantville Farmers' Market, you look at what successful businesses like yours have done.

Which is exactly what he did two years ago when the town's farmers' market just wasn't the cream of the crop. And in one year, Rogovin and his committee transformed their market from a curbside stop-and-go destination into an all-day local hotspot.

In 2009, Rogovin recruited friends and family to help him figure out what to do. Each friend and relative found niches and the research began. Rogovin also used Google to compile a list of nearly 20 successful American markets. He called their managers to ask what worked for them. "It turned out that it wasn't that complicated," he says. "They all do a lot of the same things and we did none of those things."

For instance, all of the successful markets included live music, good sight lines away from vehicles, children's activities, and places to sit. And, instead of carefully experimenting with some of these factors, Rogovin's committee pushed to be aggressive and implement all the changes at once. "We thought we were going to be riding a putt-putt scooter, and we came out in a Formula One," says Kat Nemec, one of the market's advisors.

The village agreed to give the market more space, a seating area, and to help change the traffic patterns. The market decided to feature local chefs, free music, and children's entertainers. Attendance jumped more than 254 percent in one year.

"It became a community destination instead of just going to shop, get things, and hustle and bustle while weaving in and out of cars," says Rogovin. Statistics showed that the transformation kept more than 90 percent of customers coming back at least twice a month. In fact, almost no one has spent less time or money since the change. "It's all about the community in the end," Rogovin says.