According to Viana, much of the credit for bringing the farmers market to Baldwin belongs to Reyna. Working with the BCA’s Potential New Business committee, Reyna helped the organization achieve its strategic objective of bringing good food and good business to Baldwin. It was her research that led to the BCA’s partnership with G&G Long Island Farmers Market.
G&G was founded three years ago, when sisters Jaime Greci and Lona Graepel recognized the demand for farmers markets in the winter. They felt that the desire for quality, locally grown foods didn’t diminish just because the mercury dropped.
“For G&G,” Graepel said, “farmers markets are about building communities, providing healthy foods in safe venues where families can bring the kids, neighbors, Grandma and Grandpa out to taste, socialize, mingle and mix with community.” This is a mission, she said, that G&G shares with the BCA.
Vendors at the market either grow their own food or find it in the metropolitan region, often at farms in Nassau and Suffolk counties. Good, healthy food, grown here and sold here, is the mantra, and the vendors at the first Baldwin Winter Farmers Market fit the bill. The lineup included bakery items, artisanal cheeses, locally produced coffees, soup stocks, root vegetables and winter greens.
As I moved from table to table, I saw the pickles (which I love) and cookies (another weakness), but I held out for the empanadas. Each time I passed Jessie’s table, I silently counted how many were left in the display case. Just before I left, I bought two chicken pastries and squirreled them away in my tote bag.
As I write this, I’m nibbling on the empanadas and making a list of what I plan to try at next week’s market. Lona Grapple mentioned that a jams-and-preserves vendor would be there next week. Mental note: sample the preserves, buy the coffee and get more empanadas.