“Farmer’s markets have grown in popularity, and for good reason,” said Kelly Pearson, a campus registered dietitian at SUNY New Paltz. “They bring communities together, support local farmers and encourage people to eat more fruits and vegetables.”
New Paltz Dining Services wanted to bring these benefits to campus. The organization began hosting pop-up farmer’s markets at Peregrine Dining Hall twice a month. So far, they have been held on Tuesday, Nov. 2 and Monday, Nov. 20, between 12:30 and 2 p.m.
“We want to continue to grow the offerings at the farmer’s market by partnering and supporting local businesses, clubs and organizations on campus and provide fresh, local and sustainable produce to the SUNY New Paltz community in a fun and interactive way,” Pearson said.
Vendors including Yadi’s Empanadas, WFNP The Edge, The Bookstore, Rockland Bakery and Red Barn Produce, a women-owned and family-operated wholesale produce company located in Highland, NY, are invited to be part of the market.
An alumni of SUNY New Paltz, Yadi Derisse, owner of Yadi’s Empanadas, said she was delighted to return to campus and participate in such an important event. “My hope is for people to enjoy a delicious authentic empanada, foster a sense of connection with others and help create new memories and experiences,” she said.
“For us, the goal is for people to simply know that we have a college radio station, can provide music for campus and community events and that any student can get involved,” said WFNP radio advisor, Valerie Turco.
These farmer’s markets are largely student-geared, so it’s a perfect place to engage and create a sense of community on campus.
There is more to the cluster of folding tables, products and music than simple profit. This event is really about the crowd of students waiting in line, the jumbling of conversations, the people behind the cash register, the connections being made and the environment being intentionally fostered.
“Farmer’s markets are an important addition to campus life,” Derisse said. “They promote good health, community engagement and an educational experience.”
“I do what I do because I love cooking and the idea of bringing people together through food,” she added. “My mission is to infuse love, happiness and a sense of togetherness into every empanada I make.”
This value seems to be making an impact at the New Paltz farmer’s markets.
“We have been blown away by the success of the farmer’s market,” Pearson said. “We have received such positive feedback from the students, faculty and staff.”
The markets will continue to be held twice a month throughout the school year, offering a wide selection of goods, including berries, cucumbers, baby peppers and carrots, apples, pumpkins, apple cider, freshly baked bread, cookies, Yadi’s empanadas and other seasonal offerings.
The next farmer’s market is scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 6.