Frequently Asked Questions
How come the Pleasantville Farmers Market does not allow dogs?
We certainly wish that we could welcome dogs and other pets to the Market, but even the best-trained pets sometimes forget their manners. In addition, leading farmers markets experts like the Cornell Cooperative Extension recommend against allowing dogs in markets like ours (on blacktop, lots of foot traffic, no running water).
To ensure a safe and healthy Market for all customers, only ADA-approved service animals are allowed in the Market.
Why are there no longer special events at the Pleasantville Farmers Market? When will they come back?
We miss our weekly music and kids events, and our apple pie contest, too! Unfortunately, we had to suspend those activities due to COVID-19 and will start having them again when we decide that it’s safe to do so in the Farmers Market setting.
How else are you keeping customers safe during COVID?
We have taken many actions to ensure safety for our customers, our volunteers, and our vendors. First, all vendors and volunteers must wear masks in the Market, and masks are encouraged for shoppers as well. Second, we have implemented an online preordering system that allows customers to order in advance for easy and fast pick up on Saturday in the Market – minimizing lines and wait time. Third, we moved the Market outside all year. Finally, we have partnered with Phelps Hospital to provide vaccines and booster shots to everybody who is eligible.
Why is the Pleasantville Farmers Market held outside in the winter? Will you be returning to the Middle School anytime soon?
We moved the Market outside during the winter of 2020 to ensure the safety of our customers, volunteers, and vendors in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The winter Outdoor Market has proven to be popular with our community, our farmers, and our volunteers. At this point, we have no plans to return to the Middle School.
Isn’t it too cold to have the Market outside during Winter?
It definitely gets cold in Pleasantville in the winter! And there will be some days when cold or snow does not permit the Market to open. However, given the COVID-19 pandemic, it is safer to hold the Market outside during the winter. As a result, we have shortened our operational hours during the winter and established an easy online preordering system to minimize the amount of time that our customers, volunteers, and farmers spend in the cold. Being outside is safer for all.
How do you choose your vendors?
We invite interested producers to submit a Prospective Vendor Proposal (PVP) with information about sourcing, location, evidence of demand, distinctiveness, and experience, along with photos. The PVP is designed to ensure an applicant does not have to go through the entire application process if the required elements are not in place.
Foodchester’s volunteer Vendor Committee then meets to discuss and decide whether to accept or decline the PVP. If it’s accepted and we want to move forward, we ask for a formal application with more detailed info (pricing, staff, etc) and arrange a tasting.
After the application is in, the Vendor Committee discusses again and usually has lots of follow-up questions.
Throughout the process, Market Manager Steven Bates talks with the applicants to get a feel for them, and he also confers with other market managers and vendors we know and trust, checks references, and may pay a visit to the applicant’s operation to get a firsthand look.
We always keep in mind that we are a market for cooks that focuses on regionally grown products, and we’d like the farmer to be present at the Market in person. We are careful not to draw business away from Pleasantville brick-and-mortar stores/restaurants (therefore, no pizza in the market, for example).
What process do you take to ensure that your farmers are truly organic?
For farmers to display or use the word “organic,” they must be approved as Certified Organic by the USDA, which is a very rigorous process. We are careful to include farmers who employ a variety of growing methods, including conventional, biodynamic, Certified Naturally Grown, and others. Ask our market manager for a list of organic vendors or click on “organic” in PFM-O to view Certified Organic options.
What process do you take to ensure that the vendors are safe?
We take safety very seriously at the Pleasantville Farmers Market, and we are proud that we regularly inspect all vendors’ operations. We also perform spot checks as well, if the need arises.
Why do vendors leave the Market?
It is always disappointing to say goodbye to a vendor. The most common reason a vendor departs is due to change in their business goals or lifestyle (e.g., retirement). Pleasantville Farmers Market also seeks to provide shoppers with the best market possible, which involves inspecting every farm and kitchen involved, and additional rules meant to ensure professionalism. If a vendor violates a rule, the Market sets a timeframe to help the vendor resolve the issue. However, if it isn’t resolved, then sometimes we need to make the decision to part ways.
What are you doing to ensure more diversity in the Market?
Diversity is a consideration whenever we have an opportunity to add vendors or Board members. Most of our focus is on inclusion, making the market a welcoming place for all. Like many organizations, we are on a journey to continue to improve the diversity of our board, our volunteers, our farmers and food artisans, and our offerings.
Does the Market honor SNAP benefits?
Yes, the Market does honor SNAP benefits. Thanks to the generous support of the Lions Club, SNAP benefits are extended by 40%, meaning that a user redeeming $10 gets $14 to spend.
What are you doing about local food insecurity?
First, we partner with the Pleasantville Community Garden to gather and donate food from the market to local pantries. Over 100,000 pounds of fresh produce have been donated through 2021. That’s over 50 tons of food. And, the Market honors SNAP benefits, extending the funds by 40% thanks to the generosity of the Lions Club.
What are Market Bucks, when can I buy them, and how do I use them?
Market Bucks are proprietary PFM coins that can be used just like cash. Because some vendors do not accept cards, and many shoppers come to the market without cash, Market Bucks mean that shoppers don’t need to leave the Market and find an ATM. Market Bucks come in $5 and $10 denominations. They are accepted by all PFM vendors. If applicable, you will receive cash as change. Market Bucks are sold (for a small fee) at the Manager’s Tent from April to November. Market Bucks are not sold from December through March.