Festival tents pop open and vendor tables unfurl seemingly out of nowhere every Saturday within Patriots Park, a four-acre swath of green with monuments, a playground, a stream running through it, a high school across the street, and a library within shouting distance. This patch of verdant land straddles the border of Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow, two tight-knit communities that share a zip code.
Now in its second year, TaSH (Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow) Farmers’ Market, which operates from 8:30 am-2pm every Satuday through Nov. 19, has experienced a lot of twos lately. The market has doubled in size to 53 vendors, some regular attendees, others rotating, so that there are about 30 at any one time. Chosen because of their good stewardship of the earth and its animals, the vendors are all from within 100 miles of the two towns. Shoppers can pluck moist loaves from Meredith’s Country Bakery and refreshing body suds from Clean Ridge Soap. There’s beer from Westtown Brew Works and cheese from Chaseholm Farm Creamery. Fishkill Farms brings eggs, and seafood comes courtesy of Pura Vida Fisheries. Hudson River Apiaries offers sweet bee nectar, and JD Farms provides vegetables and fruit for sale.
The market also has twice as many activities as it did in 2015, from live music and chef demonstrations to the local farmer panel series called “TaSH Talks,” along with children’s fun and educational activities. Also, TaSH offers offer low-income families twice the value of their food-stamp benefits. That means for every $20 in SNAP benefits spent, shoppers will receive $40 to part with at the market.
“The market is meant to be inclusive, and nobody should ever be denied access to this wonderful local food,” says volunteer Annie Cauthren, a new mother from Tarrytown who donates her time and public relations expertise to the cause. “The market’s mission is also to give families a free educational resource to learn about that food, where it came from, and it’s about making that inclusive to everyone.”
Opening for the season on May 28, TaSH drew about 1,700 people, and organizers expect an average of 1,500 shoppers weekly. But they’re not just shoppers. Parents can get coffee (or beer!) and bring their kids to the crafts booth. On a recent Saturday, Katie Karpenstein from the Tarrytown Nature Club led a nature walk for children and adults. People bring blankets and sit together to listen to the live band.
“You’re seeing the same face for a couple hours,” Cauthren adds. “The kids are dancing. It gives you a sense of wanting to stick around and chat with your neighbors.”
Suzanne Sorrentino, co-president (with Tammy Abraham) of the board of Rivertown Village Green Inc., which is by volunteers who live in Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow, agrees. “The market previously was purely a transactional experience where you go and buy your pickles and your bread, and go home,” she explains. “We wanted it to be a community meeting place, a village green. Sure, you pick up what you need for the week and for special occasions, but then you’d run into your neighbors, and you could spread out a blanket and relax, and there are kids activities and chef demonstrations. We want it to be vibrant, robust, and busy.”
Future “TaSH Talks” include Eat Local NY’s fermentation workshop; a beekeeping panel and an organic livestock talk; and workshops on rain barrels and composting. Market organizers send out an e-mail newsletter (sign up via their site) to inform people of the coming weekend’s specific vendors and events.
TaSH Farmers Market runs from 8:30 am to 2 pm every Saturday through Nov 19. For more details, visit www.tashfarmersmarket.org.