South Buffalo Farmers Market
South Buffalo Farmers Market, Sundays 9 a.m.–1 p.m.; Warren Spahn Way, Cazenovia Park, Buffalo
Now in its third year, the South Buffalo Farmers Market looks like it’s been there for decades, with neat rows of white tents and trailers tucked into a green swale among the oaks and maples of Cazenovia Park. It’s one of my favorite markets, where you can lazily browse for staples like corn, tomatoes and peppers, but also come away with surprising finds, like a bushel of locally grown tomatillos for homemade chili verde, or enough tiny elderberries for a pie (both from Prudom Farms, which is not participating this year).
The idyllic setting aside, looks are deceiving: it took organizers, including South District council member Christopher Scanlon and the folks at Public Espresso + Coffee, quite some time to get the market up and running, but that’s not unusual for any new market. “It took a bit of organizing, getting the word out and convincing farmers, especially, that it was a great place to set up,” says Sam Scarcello, cofounder of Public Espresso + Coffee and a founding vendor.
The market had a dozen or so vendors committed in 2014, and its Facebook page began to fill with likes. It has grown steadily since, with twenty-one vendors ready for the 2016 season in early June. Farmthisway, a CSA farm from Brant, and Desi’s Produce farm stand are joined this year by Groundwork Market Garden, a small urban farm that just began growing fruits and veggies on Genesee Street in 2015. There are hanging baskets and other flowers and plants from Peppermint Farms in East Aurora, along with a predominance of “value added” and artisan vendors selling handmade food products and crafts, like soaps from Alpine Made, Hens Honey Bee Farm, and wines and ciders by Chateau Buffalo.
“We really try to have a good mix that will appeal to a lot of people,” says Scarcello, whose small-batch roastery sells outstanding cups of pour-over espresso and coffee drinks every week. This year, there will also be yoga in the park and live music every week. Unlike most markets, South Buffalo’s is open on Sundays—a relaxing alternative to the Saturday grocery shopping crowds.
The vibe is very friendly, with a nearby playground along Caz Creek and the old casino building a few feet away. Its front steps are the perfect place to have a seat and munch a hot, freshly made donut from Duke’s. In many ways, the market feels like a natural extension of South Buffalo’s small businesses and family-friendly neighborhoods—a community with roots in mom-and-pop values and old-world food traditions.
For Public’s cofounders Scarcello and James Rayburg, it’s also a return home; they’re both South Buffalonians, born and (locally) raised.
Lauren Newkirk Maynard writes frequently on food and farming in WNY for Spree.