By Peter Sloggatt
Eagerly awaited by many each summer, the Sunday morning farmer’s market in Huntington village opened to diappointment and controversy last weekend.
Several vendors were absent from the Long Island Grower’s Market on opening day June 2, including it’s largest. Rockland County-based Orchards of Concklin has been selling apples, stone fruits, berries, pies and related products at the Huntington market for over 20 years, owner Rich Concklin said.
Conckin sat it out Sunday because the farmer’s market organizer Ethel Terry had been unable to clarify a question on Concklin’s eligibility since he is not Long Island-based.
The market was established to promote Long Island-grown produce and other products and Terry’s contract with the town states just that. Still, Concklin has participated without anyone making a fuss.
However, when she received the contract form the town attorney earlier this year, the Long Island requirement was underlined, Terry said. Having run afoul of the town last season over health department regulations and vendors providing samples to patrons, Terry said she asked for clarification.
“He sent his insurance in and they approved him, but I felt it would be a violation.
Terry sent a letter to the town board asking for an exception, but when it went unanswered, she advised Concklin to stay home.
Regulars at the market were not pleased.
“I was so disappointed. Turnout was terrible,” a 20-year customer Karen Barasik said. “Concklin bakes pies, they bring fresh eggs, and their quiches are amazing. It’s the largest stall in the market and it was missing.”
While Terry is working to resolve the issue, controversy erupted on social media over the poor vendor turnout. Worse, Terry’s attempts to explain that some vendors were missing because they hadn’t turned in required insurance was met with a sharp rebuke from the town. A post from Huntington’s offical Facebook page put the blame on Terry.
Barasik and others found the town administrator’s comments about Terry inappropriate.
“They insulted her,” Barasik said. “The person who wrote that needs a lesson in business etiquette.
Barasik said the situation could be resolved, simply. “Make an amendment to the contract and let them back in,” she said.