|Elmwood Village Farmers Market runs through November.|
By Johnathan Ciolek
There have been numerous sightings of large groups of Buffalo residents gathering on the corner of Elmwood Avenue and Bidwell Parkway in the midst of COVID-19.
That’s because customers were eager to get fresh and locally grown products at the Elmwood Village Farmers Market before the season comes to an end.
Tyler Ross is one of the family owners at Belleview Farm, a vendor at the farmers market. He is very pleased and enthusiastic with the positive turnout despite the pandemic.
“This market went very well for us,” Ross said. “We nearly tripled in market sales as well as we picked up more local wholesale business.”
Belleview Farm is a family owned and operated sheep farm in Corfu, that raises all-natural lamb, as well as beef and pork. Ross said the farm has been in the family for five generations now and has focused on traditional farming values to supply Western New York with some of the best lamb products available.
“I found that more people came out to the markets because of the shortages of quality food in supermarkets,” Ross said.
According to the American Farm Bureau Federation, only about 8 percent of farms market their food locally leaving the rest to supply grocery stores and restaurants.
Rooted Locally, another vendor at the Elmwood Village Farmers Market, is also part of that 8 percent benefiting from these direct-to-consumer sales.
Lisa Brocato, who owns Rooted Locally with her husband, Jason, enjoyed the business Buffalo residents provided.
“At the Elmwood Village Farmers Market, we were able to space the vendors out and expand the market footprint to allow people to feel safe and comfortable shopping there,” Lisa Brocato said. “I would say it was a very busy year there, but with how things were spaced it never felt too crowded.”
Rooted Locally is one of Western New York’s largest vertical growers of microgreens and edible flowers located in Williamsville. In the growing process, only non-genetically modified organisms seeds and organic soil is used, no pesticides.
Brocato along with other vendors admire the personable aspect the market provides.
“We are a producer-only market which means what is being sold at every booth is either grown or made by that business,” Brocato said. “Many times, the person working the booth is an owner. It's the epitome of buying local.”
The one-on-one aspect the market provides helps all the vendors there build stronger relations with customers.
“We continue with the Elmwood Village Farmer’s Market because we really enjoy serving our customers and building deeper relations with them,” Ross said. “The market has served as a great stepping stone for us to get our product onto local family’s plates.”
The Elmwood Village Farmers Market is ending its season on Thanksgiving weekend. Until then, people are able to visit 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday.