Back in 2009…
Back in 2009, on a bus ride from Delmar to downtown Albany, the idea of a Delmar Farmers Market was born. Anne Benware, Jean Gerbini, and Paul Tick were riding to work and talking about having our own farmers market in Delmar. They agreed that if there was to be one, they had better act on the thought.
There followed a meeting in February 2009 at the home of Agnes Zellin and Paul Tick. Mark Warford, Assistant Principal of the Bethlehem Central Middle School (BCMS) and a long time friend of Paul and Agnes, was present. Mark already had experience in community gardening. Lee Greenstein, also a home gardener, had invited Heather and Mike O’Heaney, new neighbors in Glenmont, and all three became charter board members. Mark Warford was chosen President of the Board.
Paul Tick, who went on to become the first and long standing manager, had some experience at the Troy Farmers Market. He invited a farmer, Karyn Novakowski, to join in the early discussions. Karyn joined the board and became the first farmer of the Delmar Farmers Market.
When word got out that a market was being formed, the Town of Bethlehem offered the use of the municipal parking lot off the Four Corners. When the members explored that space, it seemed to be a bit small for what was envisioned. Fortunately, Mark Warford thought of using the BCMS parking lot, which seemed perfect. Mark received the O.K. from school officials, and we were off and running.
The first market was launched in the spring of 2009. Though the number of vendors was small compared to what it was to become, about six of the original vendors are with the market today. When the cold weather neared, arrangements were made to use the hall of the Delmar Presbyterian Church on Delaware Avenue. The pastor and congregants were most welcoming and generous. For the following years, however, we began to use the cafeteria of the BCMS, which made for a more unified setting.
Among our early vendors were Gatherer’s Granola, Our Daily Eats, Fin, and Larry’s Sauces. They have all gone on to great things in the world of food. We remember them fondly and wonder who will be the next vendor/friend to expand.
Many people have taken part in the growth and success of the market. We have had many volunteers, Participation in Government students, and most recently two young men and women who help set up and close the market each week.
Paul Tick, who was closely identified with the market, left his position as manager in 2016, but he is still a contributing member of the now 15-member board. Ken Myer, a veteran of the food industry who brings a wealth of experience to the market, was hired as manager. We are confident that the Delmar Farmers Market will continue to flourish as a highly successful market and community gathering place.