Food, art and education play a critical role in shaping a community’s identity. Chappaqua and its surrounding towns are home to an army of hardworking farmers, artists, and motivated taste-makers who aim to fuel dynamism and growth among their neighbors by providing superior products, services and expertise.
As part of our series - It Takes A Village - we are proud to showcase our first Villager Pascale Le Draoulec. Pascale is a seasoned food writer and author of American Pie: Slices of Life (and Pie) from America’s Back Roads (HarperCollins). Pascale also serves as Director of the Chappaqua Farmers Market.
CS: How did the Chappaqua Farmer's Market come to fruition?
PLD: Priscilla Sorenson and a small group of devoted Chappaqua residents founded the market in 2010. At the time, I was running a farmers market in Hastings and was approached by Priscilla to help shape the identity and sustainable agenda for Chappaqua’s farmers market. We started with a winter market and by the time summer rolled around, we had built momentum and launched the market with 25 vendors. Since then, our market has become the town’s Saturday social and we operate all year long!
CS: What benefits do you think people get from using the market?
PLD: The presence of a farmers market in the community results in the opportunity for locals to connect and interact with farmers and other members of the community. Its gives the townspeople a chance to become more than acquaintances with their neighbors: it’s an opportunity to chat and socialize and catch up on the week’s happenings. There are activities for kids and the market serves as a hub to discover new vendors and businesses, which keep money in the community and helps small businesses thrive.
CS: What does the farmers market mean to today’s average family compared to families 10 years ago?
PLD: As suburbs and supermarkets gained in popularity, farmers’ markets witnessed a sharp decline in community presence, but they have recently seen a resurgence of interest and loyalty among consumers committed to supporting local farmers and local businesses. Also, ten years ago, you’d typically see moms with their grocery list, perusing the markets and preparing for her family’s upcoming week. Now, Saturday mornings at the farmers market has become quality family time. Strollers and cars full of kids, dogs, produce and stories are such a beautiful and common sight!
CS: What would Chappaqua be like without the farmers' market?
PLD: People would be less inspired to gather and there would definitely be less dinner parties with recipes inspired by the season’s produce. The thing is, Chappaqua’s farmers market is more than just a place to buy food. It is community-building, community-defining and a community-sustaining institution. It builds stronger family ties, promotes volunteerism, and opportunities for our citizen’s involvement in matters of importance to the community. People are appreciative of the market and are cognizant of the role they play in helping maintaining it.
CS: Where do you see the market in 5 years?
PLD: I hope that we can keep the location, just in front of the Chappaqua train station and evolve so that we offer something new every week. We're really happy with how the market has shaped into something the town enjoys and feels is a part of their lives. If we can maintain that integrity, experiment with more vendors and keep the community engaged, then that same spirit will hopefully influence the next generation and keep the community hub afloat. Kind of like an American success story of renewal.