Cultivating Business At Farmer’s Market

By Danny Schrafel

dschrafel@longislandergroup.com

 

With the sun shining on Northport Harbor, more than two dozen vendors kicked off the Northport Village Famer’s Market’s seventh summer season Saturday morning.

Many of those vendors noted that participating in markets like Northport’s has given small, family-owned businesses an opportunity to build their roots and blossom.

There were plenty of examples as one made the rounds: Northport’s Randy and Cori Kopke offered up an array of pickled goodness at their Backyard Brine booth. As he waits to expand the Blind Bat Brewery into the Inlet of Northport Village, Centerport’s Paul Dlugokencky showed off his summer stock of smoked craft beers.

Huntington’s Meghan Cevey, who owns Imperial Empanadas with her husband, Sebastian, offers homemade Argentinean-style savory puff pastries. And East Northport’s Nina Lombardo unveiled a new branding for her selection of cookies and granola, called Nina’s Fresh Batch.

Even for established brick-and-mortar businesses like Northport Fish & Lobster, farmers markets are a tool for getting the word out in the community about your craft.

And for some of these start-up brands, it’s a platform to propel yourself into a brick-and-mortar presence.

Maria DeGregorio, whose son, Pasquale, owns Bamboni’s Ravioli Fresh Pasta Co. in Bay Shore, said they do 15 markets “from Manhattan to Montauk;” her son was in Bronxville Saturday. Their persistence has paid off – they’ll be opening a retail store on the Commack Road and Grand Boulevard in Deer Park, near the Tanger Outlets, in about a month or so.

She’s been a presence at the Northport market for the last five or six years, and she said the exposure gained from farmer’s markets is “unbelievable.”

“This one is awesome. Great market,” she said. “Nice vendors here, and our product speaks for itself.”

And more vendors will get that opportunity soon, market co-organizer Dorothy Walsh said. After seeing the market in action, Walsh said there’s room for a few more vendors without expanding the footprint in the harborside municipal lot, which was designed to maximize the draw without taking up too much parking.

The market is open from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday, rain or shine, expect for Sept. 20 – the day of the Great Cow Harbor Race – and Oct. 18, when the Northport Fire Department will celebrate its 125th anniversary.