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Two Batavia farmers markets agree to merge in downtown location

BATAVIA – The fruits – and vegetables – of country living in the Genesee Region will have an expanded season and longer hours in a downtown home this summer, thanks to a farmers market joint venture announced Tuesday by the Batavia Business Improvement District.

Laurie Oltramari, executive director of the agency, said officials of two competing farmers markets – the Downtown Batavia Public Market and the Genesee Country Farmers’ Market – agreed to consolidate their efforts.

The merger means that the downtown market will continue at the parking lot at Bank Street and Alva Place, with expanded hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

“We’re going to add a month to the season, starting June 10 and running through Oct. 28, and also will be able to sell a greater variety of products,” Oltramari said, adding that she is hoping for 20 to 25 participating vendors.

The Genesee Country Farmers’ Market, which was set up at the Batavia Downs Gaming parking lot on Park Road, will cease operations, but its board of directors will run the downtown market, Oltramari said.

Last year, the Genesee Country market was open on Tuesdays and Fridays, and the downtown market was open only on Thursdays. Products for sale included fruits, vegetables, baked goods, coffee and tea, and hamburgers, hot dogs and sandwiches.

Oltramari said downtown business owners are receptive of the merger – and of the plan to have it open on three days each week.

“We consulted with businesses and the idea was well received,” she said, noting that she will be seeking City Council approval. “It is located in a walkable area, near senior housing and residential areas, and close to commercial downtown buildings. With this mix, it lends itself to the greater success of the market.”

Oltramari said she will serve on the board but will no longer be responsible for coordinating the market each week.

“I will let them do that, so I can concentrate on getting a permanent structure on that site,” she said.

Those interested in being a vendor or volunteer at the market are asked to contact Bob Austen, board president, at robertausten@frontiernet.net.