Today, we had the Saturday farmers market at Otsiningo Park in Binghamton, New York. There is ample parking, a setting in a beautiful park next to playgrounds and picnic pavilions, level ground (important for the elderly) - everything except good mass transit.
The people came out, for local:
Strawberries (close to the end of the season) and cherries (sold out just as I got to the booth - 45 minutes after the market opened!). There were also plants, cheese, baked goods, jellies, milk, beef, pork, chcken, and a bakery booth selling breakfast items.
Meanwhile, yesterday, at the downtown Binghamton farmers market, at lunchtime, there were...
...not too many people. (My apologies to this long time vendor for using her booth to symbolize emptiness. Her baked goods are excellent - and, in the past, I've seen her selling and selling.)
You could say, perhaps, that I hit the market at a bad time. But I have worked in downtown Binghamton for years, and I've been visiting the market for years, at about the same time each Friday-my lunchtime, and when office workers visit the market. At lunch, there is also live music during the summer (that's the tent you see below, to the left.) So, I've seen it in summer, in fall, right before holidays, and over the years.
|Downtown Binghamton has so much potential|
I so hope that someone local will comment and tell me I'm wrong - that perhaps the hours of busyness have shifted, and business is still good. Why?
Downtown Binghamton (population about 47,000) NEEDS a market - nearby neighborhoods are food deserts, it has a lot of low income people living in the area, it has OK mass transit (most bus lines originate in downtown Binghamton, so if you use mass transit, it is easy to visit) but parking is terrible. Still, lack of parking doesn't keep other downtown markets from succeeding.
Last year, some of my readers made excellent suggestions as to what Binghamton can do to jump start its downtown market, so it can be as successful as the one in Otsiningo Park.
I plan to blog more about this in the coming months, because I do care.
Does your community have a downtown farmers market that succeeds? If so, does it do anything special?