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Chappaqua Farmers Market Taking Winter Hiatus Because Of Space Crunch

The Community Center, which is on Senter Street in downtown Chappaqua.
The Community Center, which is on Senter Street in downtown Chappaqua. Photo Credit: Tom Auchterlonie

CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. -- The Chappaqua Farmers Market will not be operating this winter after it was unsuccessful in getting enough space, the organization announced.

The decision comes days after a last-ditch attempt by the group to keep the market going for the winter. Will Wedge, a member of the market's board, told the New Castle Town Board at its Dec. 2 meeting that only five dates were being offered at the Community Center, when the organization had requested eight. Wedge warned that the market would be cancelled if the issue was not resolved by the end of the week.

The lower-than-desired number was attributed to a Recreation Commission policy of not allowing for consecutive uses at the Community Center. 

However, more dates would not have been enough, according to Priscilla Sorensen, who chairs the market's board.

"We didn't have further talks with the Rec Commission because even if they waived their policy and gave us a few more dates, it wouldn't have gotten us through the winter with a viable schedule," she explained. "We respect their rules. There are a lot of users that want that space."

Although a conversation between Wedge and town officials on Dec. 2 was tense, the market's announcement expresses no hard feelings toward the town and offers thanks for its effort in helping with the search for new space.

Several places in Chappaqua were considered for the market, which, it was previously noted, searched for a new winter space after the Church of St. Mary the Virgin chose not to renew its lease. In a Q&A accompanying the announcement, the organization attributed not staying at the church to a change in needs.

"We've grown in size, and also their operational needs have changed, so the space is not suitable. We did approach other churches in town, but none were able to accommodate us."

The market, in its Q&A also explains that Chappaqua Crossing was considered for a location but opted not to relocate due to layout and a desire to stay downtown. 

The Q&A also answers why the market is not relocating to a building within the Chappaqua school district.

"The district had operational concerns with a farmers market in the schools," it notes. "We did not request to use the schools without the charge that they customarily charge community groups. Nor was it a liability issue. We have always carried insurance naming the space provider."

The Q&A also addressed why space in and near the Chappaqua train station wasn't used, explaining that the cold weather would affect turnout. 

"The town helpfully offered the train station building, but only until mid-January when a tenant is expected to be in place," the Q&A adds. "Also, the station building is small and there is not adequate electrical service for our vendors."

"They will be missed but I look forward to many more great markets next year," wrote New Castle Supervisor Rob Greenstein. "They will certainly have the full support of the Town Board and town staff, as they always do."

The market hopes to return next spring.

"We hope to have an early spring opening, around the end of April, but that depends on how difficult a winter it is for our farmers. We will be making announcements in March about the opening date."

The market will remain for two Saturdays this month: on Dec. 13 outside of the train station and at the Community Center on Dec. 20

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