With the ultimate goal to promote healthier eating choices and wellness within the Upstate New York Finger Lakes Community, for the past 3 seasons, the Canandaigua VA Medical Center has been hosting a weekly Farmers Market. The idea of hosting a farmers market program was a result of collaboration between the medical center's Wellness Committee and Healthier US Veterans program. The Farmers Market is open to the Veterans, medical center staff and the general public.
Starting in March of each year and working closely with the Cornell University Cooperative Extension, Wellness Committee Chairperson Debbie Brahm begins contacting areas growers and vendors for their availability to participate in the farmers market. Starting in June, and continuing every Tuesday through early October during the hours of 1:30 p.m. – 5 p.m. local vendors sell fresh fruits, produce, floral bouquets, annual and perennial plants, baked goods, herb enlightened coffee and lavender products. When the market first opened in 2008 four local vendors participated, in 2010 the number of vendors increased to nine. Vendors are required to provide liability insurance.
The framers market is located conveniently located in the Andrew Jackson Parking located in front of Building #1 of the medical center campus. This handicapped assessable location provides easy access not only for patients and staff members but also community members. Senior Vouchers and WIC (Women, Infants, Children nutrition program) checks are accepted by local vendors participating in the NY State Farmers' Market Nutrition Program (FMNP). Vendors often saw assisting in helping carry products to the customer car.
VA Police, engineering staff assist with traffic control and signage. Although Mother Nature occasionally interferes, the market has never been canceled due to bad weather.
The farmers market has been a great success! An average of 300-400 customers attends the market each week. As the 2010 seasons comes to an end the medical center and all the vendors are looking forward to the 2011 season!
For more information, please contact Debbie Brahm, Canandaigua VA Medical Center Wellness Committee Coordinator at 585-393-7552. The Canandaigua VA Medical Center is located at 400 Fort Hill Avenue, Canandaigua, NY.