Tonawanda News — It’s a rainbow scene these summer days at the North Tonawanda Farmers Market.
At the height of the season, an array of tomatoes, apricots and peaches, sunflowers, cucumbers and zucchini, blueberries and eggplant waited on vendors’ tables this week for shoppers to inspect. Many customers carried laden shopping bags back to nearby cars, while some pushed carts or even pulled wagons.
Pam Lederhouse of the Herb & Pam Lederhouse Farm of Ransomville, whose offerings included those huge, bright sunflowers as well as eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes and yellow beans, was working her first weekday at the market since her recent retirement. While she’s been personally coming to the market for five years, she said, the stand has been there more than 30.
Business on the cloudy morning was intermittent as opposed to busy, Lederhouse said, but the past Saturday may have been the busiest day she’s ever seen.
“My green beans sold out by 9 a.m., and all the corn in the market sold out by 11 a.m.,” she said. “You could hardly move. This year has been a good year.”
This past Sunday through this Saturday marks National Farmers Market Week, an event created by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to promote and celebrate the country’s farmers markets. According to the USDA, 8,144 markets are now listed in the USDA’s directory, a 3.6 percent increase from 2012 and up from about 5,000 in 2008. New York state is second on the list of states with the most markets with 637 (behind California).
Market clerk John Long also said 2013 has been a good year for the market, which opened back in 1908 and now offers 132 spots for vendors at its location at Robinson Road and Payne Avenue.
“We’ve expanded as much as we can without adding new land ... which would be nice, but I don’t think that’s going to happen,” he said. “We’re lucky in this area. We have fertile soil for growing things a lot of areas can’t grow. Things are going great.”