How that push will play out remains to be seen, as both entities have agreements in place to run the event, according to Village officials.
The non-profit, Rivertowns Village Green (RVG), is made up of Sleepy Hollow and Tarrytown residents. Members posted the petition about a week ago. They maintain that volunteers have improved the market, bringing programs that include music, yoga and children's activities, while Down to Earth Markets has failed to do its part in growing the event.
"The for-profit did not follow through on its promises to promote and expand the market," the petition states. "They’ve made it difficult at almost every turn—resisting new ideas and suggested changes. Not only has the for-profit created a market that doesn't serve our residents, but our market has actually shrunk in vendor size, lacks any meaningful variety of goods and services, and is considered one of the smallest and least interesting markets in Westchester County."Patch reached out to the company with several questions about the claims in the petition. Director of Community Relations and Marketing Frankie Rowland provided a statement, noting that Down to Earth Markets "has had a positive relationship with the Village of Tarrytown for 13 years and anticipates an ongoing positive relationship."
The market is open on Saturdays from late May to mid-November. It's held at Patriots Park on North Broadway.
In past seasons there have been fewer than a dozen vendors, while nearby markets—such as the one in the Pleasantville, where the population is less than that of Sleepy Hollow's and Tarrytown's—offer up to four times as many, according to Suzanne Sorrentino, one of RVG's co-presidents.
Examples of unmet requests include selling coffee and accepting food stamps, she said.
The non-profit's goal is a bigger, more vibrant market "run by the community, for the community," according to the petition.
"I think at the end of the day we just have different visions for this market," Sorrentino said.
The organization has expressed that vision before local leaders. Michael Blau, Village administrator in Tarrytown, provided Patch with a statement Friday morning.
"The Village has been working with both Rivertowns Village Green (RVG) and Down to Earth Markets (DTE) concerning a farmers market for the upcoming season," the statement reads. "The Village did execute an agreement with RVG to operate this year’s market, but at the time the Board was not aware that there was an existing agreement with DTE that dated back to 2006, and which does not expire until December 2015. Thus, we now have two agreements with two different entities to operate a farmers market in the same location on the same day of the week. Consequently, the Village is attempting to work with both parties in an effort to resolve this and provide our residents the best possible farmers market. In making its decisions, the Village must consider all related items, including legal concerns, in order to provide for the farmers market and protect the residents of Tarrytown. At the same time, the Village greatly values input from the public regarding this matter and will take the petition into consideration as one of the items affecting the decision making process."
There were about 500 names on the petition as of Sunday night, along with a slew of comments from local folks. Sorrentino called the reaction "astounding," and said it "validates" that the group is "on the right track.
"Our famers market has so much potential to be a vital center of our beautiful village," Jill Liflander wrote. "It seems to be wilting and not reflecting the desires of the SH/TT community to be an exciting, positive weekend destination."
Click here to view the petition, and use the comments section to share your thoughts about the Tarrytown Farmers Market.