TROY — The Collar City has a farmers market, that much is known by the thousands who visit on a busy Saturday afternoon, but where does it rank among the country’s finest?
American Farmland Trust and the Farmers Market Coalition thinks it’s worth finding out.
Since June, the Troy Waterfront Farmers Market has been vying for the top position among regional farmers markets through a voting process facilitated by the American Farmland Trust and the Farmers Market Coalition. The friendly competition over bragging rights and a piece of the $10,000 prize pool.
As of Sunday, Troy’s market ranks third in New York, sixth in the Northeast and 14th nationwide. The competition ends in just a few weeks.
“One thing we heard loud and clear from downtown Troy’s business owners and residents is that our farmers market is essential to the identity of this city,” shared Market Manager Steve Ridler in a statement prior to the market’s return to Monument Square in May. “We have one of the best urban settings of any farmers market in the country, and we are excited for you to visit and enjoy Troy.”
Troy Waterfront Farmers Market
Held every Saturday, year-round, the Troy Waterfront Farmers Market is one of the most popular attractions in New York’s Capital District.
Returning to the streets after COVID, the market transforms the heart of downtown Troy into an open-air street festival that could easily pass for a scene in Europe.
On the busiest Saturdays, as many as 15,000 people visit the market to shop for fresh local produce, meats, seafood, prepared foods and handmade crafts.
From May through October, families, college students and neighborhood regulars all mingle in Monument Square and on the surrounding streets, milling around between the tents, sidewalk tables and music stages.
American Farmland Trust and the Farmers Market Coalition kicked off its 14th annual America’s Farmers Market Celebration, the only annual ranking of the top farmers markets in the United States voted on by the public, in June.
The Trust has highlighted the important role farmers markets play in communities across the nation while celebrating the farmers, staff and volunteers that make markets possible. While they’ve long served as pillars of local food in urban centers and town squares, in recent years, farmers markets have gained national recognition as essential businesses that power farmers and communities to thrive.
The summer-long competition comes to end on Monday, Sept. 19, culminating with a final tally of votes and awarding pieces of the $10,000 prize pool.
“We believe that every farmers market in America is special in its own way. Big or small, in cities or rural towns, farmers markets nourish their communities while helping local farmers, food makers, and artisans thrive,” said Greg Plotkin, AFT Director of Digital Communications. “While the AFMC does rank America’s favorite markets, our intention is to lift up the vital role farmers markets play across the country.”
In 2022, The Trust increased the total cash prizes to $10,000 this year, expanding the awards to cover five top markets nationally instead of three. The breakdown of prize money includes a $5,000 first prize, a $2,500 second, a $1,500 third, a $750 fourth, and a $250 fifth prize.
In addition to the prize money, the top markets also receive national and local press coverage, complimentary American Farmland Trust and Farmers Market Coalition memberships, I Love My Farmers Market stickers, No Farms No Food gear, a free one-year subscription to Farmers Market Metrics and other surprises.
The Trust also identifies the top markets in each state as well as in the Northeast, Southeast, Midwest, Southwest and Pacific regions.
“Farmers markets serve as the center of community connection, economic development and local food systems resilience in thousands of communities across the country. But farmers markets do not just happen,” said Hannah Fuller, Communications Manager at FMC. “At the center of these organizations are farmers market operators, the people behind the scenes who coordinate the market and serve as community change makers. The Farmers Market Coalition is thrilled to be back this year celebrating with American Farmland Trust, supporting this exciting celebration of farmers markets, and elevating the important work of the people who make them happen.”
American Farmland Trust is the only national conservation organization dedicated to protecting farmland, promoting environmentally sound farming practices and keeping farmers on the land. Since 1980, AFT’s innovative work has helped to permanently protect more than 6.8 million acres of farmland and ranchland and led the way for the adoption of conservation practices on millions more. No Farms, No Food.
To learn more, visit www.farmland.org.