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Chaumont Farmers Market off to a good start

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CHAUMONT — What types of produce could possibly be sold at a farmers market in the winter?

The answer came clear at the Chaumont Farmers Market on Sunday, when vendors displayed potatoes, onions, squash, parsnip, leeks and even bananas.

“You wouldn’t believe the amount of people. It was just packed. ... I never dreamed it would have been such a success,” said Dennis W. Pearson, who organized the event along with Carolanne A. and Charles J. Porto of Breakers Restaurant, Cape Vincent.

The event was held at the Chaumont Volunteer Fire Department. It is expected to run every Sunday throughout February with the hopes of an extended stay, should it remain successful.

Mr. Pearson speculated about 1,000 customers came throughout the day. There were 28 vendors on site, although by 3 p.m. many had left after selling out of their goods.

Even Dani F. Baker, who arrived halfway through the day, said her goods were running low.

“I sold a lot more than I expected,” said the co-owner of Cross Island Farms, Wellesley Island. “This has been fabulous for a Super Bowl Sunday.”

Ms. Baker had onions and a variety of potatoes for sale. With her onion sales, she even included a recipe for onion soup.

“It’s great to have an opportunity like this in the winter for the local people to come and see what local businesses are around and have a chance to get out with their families,” she said.

Produce wasn’t the only thing available at the market. In addition to hand-made craft items such as purses, clothing, woven baskets and wines, Rick Lawrence of Lawrence Family Farm was selling meat products.

“It’s ideal for us because our frozen beef and beef stick can be sold year round, and this is a quiet time of year,” said Mr. Lawrence, who sells beef jerky and a variety of cuts from grass-fed beef. Next Sunday he intends to have chuck roast and steaks.

“I was a little reluctant to give up a Sunday to come, but it’s been worthwhile,” he said.

Local businesses such as Thousand Islands Goat Cheese, Betty’s Fried Rice and the Cape Winery were also on site.

The farmers market is part of a tourism effort the Portos and Mr. Pearson are putting together. The group already has arranged a toga party at Breakers, 194 E. Broadway, for the end of the month. Also on the horizon are a boxing match in Clayton and possibly an antiques festival in the summer.

“We plan on bigger and better events all the time,” Mr. Pearson said. “Our plan is to keep on bringing more events into the community. Chaumont, Cape Vincent, Clayton — wherever they’ll have us.”

The Chaumont Farmers Market runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays throughout February in the Chaumont Volunteer Fire Department, 11385 Route 12E.

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