Oneonta Farmers' Market plans upcoming move

Apr. 22—The Oneonta Farmers' Market will move to lower Dietz Street beginning Saturday, April 27, after the city's Common Council approved the road closure last month.

The market operates 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays. From November through April, the winter market convenes indoors at the Foothills Performing Arts and Civic Center.

Since 2021, the summer market has utilized the open field next to Foothills from May through October.

Market business manager Margaret Kennedy said Saturday, April 20 — the last market of the winter season at Foothills — that vendors are unanimously happy to be returning to the area of Main Street.

"When the city leaders asked if we would consider [the move], I went around and told the vendors one by one, what do you think about moving up to Main Street again and being on Dietz, if they were to close it off to traffic?" Kennedy said. "And everyone said yes. I just presented as a very neutral option, and everyone who decided that they would like to go up."

Kennedy, who is vice chairperson of the Otsego County Board of Representatives, also is a market vendor and administrator at farmers markets regionally.

The Oneonta market currently has 11 vendors, with a couple considering joining, she said.

She added that some customers have said they are looking forward to the move as well, because their walk to the market would be shorter.

"They are looking forward to finding us in a spot that they don't have to travel quite so far," she said.

Others have asked about parking, which will be available in the Wall Street lot and in the Dietz Street lot for the general public.

Kennedy said that she and the vendors appreciated the access to the field to set up in during the pandemic and post-pandemic summer seasons. The market plans to return to Foothills for the indoor season in November.

John Tauzel, of Tauzel Farms in Schenevus, has been a market vendor for 14 years selling beef, sweet corn when in season and Clark milk.

"We'll have to see how it works out," Tauzel said about the move. "We were on Main Street before, and it always seemed to work pretty well. If it's more convenient for the customers, I'm all for it."

Amy McKinnon, of Mill Hollow Maple in New Lisbon, said she's "thrilled that the city is starting to support us."

"We don't have the high rent of that field," McKinnon said. "It was great that the owner rented it to us, but it's better to have have something more in town."

She said that even though the market moved only a block away from Main Street, she heard complaints from people that it was no longer on Main Street.

"I know a lot of store owners missed us as well," she said. "Everything about [the move] is really positive. The only thing that would be better is if the market had a permanent home that was winter and summer in one place."

At its March 26 meeting, the council approved the trial closure of Dietz Street between Main and Wall streets Saturdays from April 27 to May 25.

In the closed area of lower Dietz Street, plans call for a marketplace aimed at increasing foot traffic downtown by attracting locals and visitors, particularly families of players from the Cooperstown All Star Village, during the summer.

The council further approved on April 16 closing lower Dietz Street 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays to Fridays and 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturdays from June 1 to Aug. 31, as well as 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays from Sept. 7 to Nov. 2 to allow the farmers market to utilize the street.

Not all customers are happy with the market's upcoming move.

Bill Shue addressed the council April 16, saying he felt that the city's senior citizens would not patronize the market if they perceive it would be "too difficult" to get there.

"They will not do it, they will not go there," he said. "I guess your target audience is someone else besides the 1,700 senior citizens."