A winter farmers market on the East End -- something local growers have been talking about for years -- is becoming a reality.
"We've got 35 vendors," said Holly Browder, a director of the Long Island Farm Bureau who will be selling eggs on Saturday when the market opens inside the long-closed Swezey's department store at 117 East Main St. in Riverhead. "I invited 20 people and hoped to get 15 . . . I'm happy now that we have such a big space."
While traditional crops like corn and asparagus aren't coming out of the frozen ground, her organic Browder's Birds farm in Mattituck runs year-round, and while she normally sells to other farm stands in the summer, she has had no local market in winter.
Four oyster farms will take turns selling their shellfish, and one wool producer using locally raised animals will be at another table. Some preserved foods being sold were grown on Long Island and later canned and pickled.
Breads will be baked locally, and the cheeses being offered were made in the area as well. Other tables will have greenhouse-grown microgreens, Greek yogurt and locally produced granola.
"As long as it's processed on Long Island, it's OK," Browder said.
The farmers market will be open every Saturday for 16 weeks from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. By the time it ends on May 17, the weather should be warm enough for farm stands on the East End to be selling local asparagus and other early crops, and the Mattituck Strawberry Festival will be only a few weeks away.