Saturday, July 19, 2014

Sustainable Saturday - Hot Jazz and No Coffee

Was it only yesterday that the daffodils were blooming?
Now, sunflowers are blooming, bees are buzzing and hot weather threatens us next week in upstate New York
Finally, people are coming out to the Downtown Binghamton, New York Farmer's Market.  I still intend to write the email/letter I blogged about last week to our local state assemblywoman about some of my fears, and thoughts about possible ways the market could prosper.   For the first time this year, I felt energy at the market. 

The jazz was hot yesterday, as Energee Jazz entertained at the market (above, setting up).
Ayana D, the band's singer, drew office workers, retirees and local residents in with her renditions of "Summertime" and other favorites.

Summertime veggies are coming in.

At Fojo Beans (rightmost tent in the above picture) I hung out for a minute inhaling coffee as the owner ground some beans for a customer. 

And then, I noticed something interesting. 

Someone walked past me, commenting to her companion that she had gone into that tent looking for a cup of coffee, and they were not serving coffee. That is true - they sell ground beans and whole beans.  They do not brew coffee for sale.

No one else does, either.  I visited Tampa, Florida's farmers market in March of 2013, and someone there was doing a brisk business selling iced coffee.  Why not in Binghamton?

The more I thought about it, the more I realized this simple fact.

Some years ago, there was a local vendor who used to grill chicken spiedies (a local dish) and sell them to the market's lunch crowd.  But at the market right now, there is no one selling prepared food (if I don't count Full Quiver Farms and her breads and cookies - recommended, by the way.)  No coffee, despite the fact that there are at least two coffee houses in downtown Binghamton who could set up a booth.  There is no one offering lunches to go, yet there are restaurants throughout downtown Binghamton.  Not all office workers have time to eat a sit down lunch.

There are two breweries in downtown Binghamton, both of which are brewpubs - neither are present at the market, yet, if you go to the Ithaca market, an hour away, several wineries (a major New York industry, incidentally) are there sampling their wares. (We have a winery but it's not in Binghamton, so I am just trying to think local here.) There is no one selling "dinners to go" for downtown office workers to pick up and take home.

Something really seems strange.  I do not know if the issue is lack of interest, a Binghamton ordinance, or simply that no one wants to try new things out.  Or maybe they did do these things at one time and they didn't work.  But if it hasn't been tried for several years. I know that the demographics of Binghamton are changing, especially with more and more college students moving into downtown.

Maybe I am just not knowledgeable enough to know that something won't work.  Maybe I am just the person who needs to speak up and suggest something.  I have no vested interest.  I don't own a business.  I'm "just" an office worker.

"Just" someone that can make it happen.  If I don't try, it never will happen.

Let's see if I go through with it. You, my readers, will be the first to know.


  1. I prefer to make ground beans and whole beans on my own because I enjoy it. What a nice market to visit with. I miss my own hometown, Thank you for sharing!

  2. There are rules of what can and cannot be sold here at our local farmers markets. And there is a fee, so one needs to sell and charge enough to cover the annual fee for participating. The county health department must do inspections ( probably an additional fee for them) in order to sell prepared food at our markets, too. It just may not be worth the trouble and expense to sell sandwiches or coffee.

  3. The first sun flower is SO stunning Alana. I love the colours!
    Having live music in the market place is also a great idea. It would really draw people in. You live in such a nice part of the world!

  4. Do the market rules prohibit selling drinks? I know our market rules are pretty fussy. Go change things, Alana! :)


Your comments sustain me, as long as they are civil, are on topic, and do not contain profanity, advertising of any kind, links or spam. Any messages not meeting these criteria will immediately be composted, and my flowers will enjoy their contents.