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High hopes at Hicksville Farmer’s Market

Dreary skies did not reflect on the mood at the kickoff for this year’s Hicksville Farmers Market.

About 10 vendors stood smiling at their stands on Sunday afternoon and chatted happily with the passing customers.

“This is the best market on the Island,” said James Pavone, legislative chair for the Hicksville Chamber of Commerce.

Pavone, who helped build the John Bull locomotive replica, which the chamber of commerce gave to the Town of Oyster Bay in 2008, had hoped to host an educational program for children at the kickoff to explain the history of the John Bull and Hicksville’s place in Long Island Rail Road history. The event was canceled because of the weather, but Pavone said there will be historical and environmental programming at the Sunday market throughout the summer.

“We want Hicksville to be a destination,” said chamber president Lionel Chitty, “not just a train station.”

The farmers market, which takes over a small section of the Hicksville train station parking lot between Jerusalem Avenue and Broadway, has been an important step toward that goal, Chitty said. He said he wasn’t worried that the rain deterred attendance on Sunday because last year’s market had such a loyal customer base. About a dozen people could be seen shopping Sunday afternoon, but organizers said many more had shown up throughout the day.

George Cafiero, who was selling dairy products from Ronnybrook Farm and wine from Cascade Mountain Vineyard, both from upstate New York, said he had a good day for sales despite the rain, and he noticed his customers seemed happy to see him again.

“They’re pretty good that way over here,” he said.

Marc Shapses and his daughter Emmory, 14, ventured to the market for the first time on Sunday.

“We’re very excited that it’s here,” said Shapses, who said he lives about four miles away in Plainview. “We’re looking for fresh produce for our barbecue tonight.”

The market, which is now in its second year, will return every Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. through Nov. 20, said market manager Joseph Naham. It will feature 13 regular vendors, many returning from last year, including Horman’s Best Pickles, of Glen Cove, and Carucci Greenhouses and Farm, of Mattituck.

All vendors at the market grow their products within 250 miles of Hicksville, Naham said.

Naham said everyone was happy to be back in action on Sunday.

“This place is fantastic,” he said. “The vendors make the customers feel welcome and vice versa.”

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