Vendors to offer meats, cheeses, veggies, bath and body products
By Joshua Maloni
Following-up on her successful holiday vendor fair, Lewiston entrepreneur Jamie Symmonds will debut a weekly artisan market on June 2 inside Academy Park. Each Saturday (through Oct. 13), a collection of a dozen-plus vendors will offer an assortment of locally grown or produced foods, plus handcrafted bath and body products.
"I've been very fortunate - I'm excited - because I set out to get an array of vendors, and it's shaping up to be that way," Symmonds said.
Some of the merchants participating in the artisan market include the Brickyard Brewing Company, Dispenza's Meat Market, doTERRA Essential Oils, Gorge Coffee Roasters, Meraki Designs, Naturally Nuts, Niagara Mushroom, Samco Designs, Senek Farms, Singer Farms Naturals, The Naked Soaps and Thyme's Right Organic Farm.
The artisan market, Symmonds noted, will have plenty of, well, everything. She selected each vendor based on quality and originality.
"You might be looking for meat or honey. But someone like me would show up and say, 'Point me in the direction of the vegetables,' " Symmonds said. "I wanted it to be that, no matter who comes, there's going to be something for them. I think it's shaping up to be that way."
This will not be a traditional farmers market, Symmonds said.
"I didn't want to pigeonhole it," she explained. "There's so many other things out there. ... I wanted to open the opportunity up to other individuals. For example, I met this lovely girl who handmakes lotions, some soaps, deodorants. It's like nothing I've ever seen before. It's a unique product and I was immediately drawn to it when I saw her. And she's on board."
Some of the vendors are brick-and-mortar, while others can only be patronized at festivals and special events. A handful are from the outskirts of the River Region.
"Singer Farms - they're in Appleton. If you're from Lewiston, that's about a 35-minute, 40-minute drive. So, if you're ever interested in trying their tart cherry juice, they have garlic, they have lots of other things there, it may not be as convenient to just jump over there and grab stuff," Symmonds said. "So now, by bringing people to Lewiston ... (they) will know, 'Great, on Saturdays I know I can go and I can grab this item, because this person is going to be there.' "
Frank Dispenza of Dispenza's Meat Market on Ridge Road in Ransomville said he was pleased to learn the artisan market would emphasize local products.
"(Jamie) said she wants it to be things that are produced, made or coming from locals - from Niagara County," he said. "A lot of times at these farmers markets, you go to them and people are bringing produce that have stickers on them because they went to a wholesaler and bought them. That really kind of voids the point of what the farmers market is. A farmers market was meant for people to go shop and get artisan products from local farmers or producers or artists, whatever the product is they're selling.
"We're excited to bring our products to Lewiston, to attract more of the Lewiston-Youngstown customers to actually come out here to our shop. They'll have the convenience of the farmers market to see a taste of what we have, but then come out here to our shop and actually see the huge variety of products that we carry."
Some of Dispenza's items include pork, beef, chicken and lamb, plus dairy products from Teacup Farms in Barker and honey from Schultz Apiary in Ransomville.
"I'm going to bring a variety of steaks each week; definitely our sausage - we make all our sausage homemade, not from package seasonings, all from organic seasonings and spices and all-natural meats," Dispenza said.
He also plans to feature and cook something new each week, to "give you a taste of what our store is all about," Dispenza said.
In addition to for-sale goods, some artisan market dates will have special activities such as exercise demonstrations or yoga for children.
"For me, it's an experience; that's what it should be about," Symmonds said. "It's not you just show up, grab your eggs and you walk out. I want people to stay. I want them to enjoy not just the market, I want them to enjoy Lewiston. ... I want people to have the opportunity to leave there and go have lunch at one of our great restaurants. Or if they want to shop our shops. Or if there's a festival going on, or something else in town, or the surrounding area - Youngstown, Sanborn - that they'll stay. I want this to benefit everybody."
The artisan market will be located on the Portage Road side of Academy Park. The venue, Symmonds said, "is an underutilized gem that we have in the village. And it's right when you come into town. It's a great park. I felt that was the right place to do it."
She added, "So far, the reaction has been amazing. I love the support and the encouragement I've gotten from surrounding businesses - especially the businesses around Academy Park. They're ecstatic because - a few times I've heard from them - how so much goes down at the other end of Center Street. They're excited to have something happen down here at their end."
The rain-or-shine artisan market will run from 8 a.m. until noon each Saturday, with the exception of July 28 (Wine Festival in Academy Park) and Sept. 8 (Peach Festival).