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Has This Woman Delivered the Farmers’ Market of the Future to Peekskill?

This article is part of a syndicated series written by Paul Stark and focused on the things that make Peekskill special.

Corinna with a baby chick
Corinna with a baby chick
Corinna Makris has worked hard to give Peekskill a farmers’ market that’s state of the art.

No, there’s nothing high tech about this future – no clothing with built-in internet access, no self-driving trucks filled with fresh-picked produce. Just corporate-trained business savvy, a belief in hand-to-hand capitalism and a deep understanding that a farmers’ market should be so much more than an open-air supermarket.

The Market invites you to “bee” there every Saturday
The Market invites you to “bee” there every Saturday
If you’ve been coming to The Peekskill Farmers’ Market (Facebook, Pinterest), you know what to expect and you’re starting to recognize some familiar faces. But you may not know it hasn’t always been like this, or how it was transformed. (If you haven’t been coming to the market, it’ll be Saturday morning before you know it, so c’mon by)

Market day has been a special occasion since humans invented agriculture. Not only an opportunity for all kinds of buying and selling, but a chance to meet neighbors you haven’t seen all week, or all season. Away from familiar chores and familiar faces, there can be discussions, side deals, gossip, maybe a little flirting, maybe a little celebrating. And, at a more basic level, market day is a time for everyone to celebrate their personal participation in the bounty created by the fruitful and generative earth transformed by human work and ingenuity.

So, all that is old is new again. As Ms. Makris puts it, the Market offers a “revolution in shopping: it’s possible to buy what you need directly from the person who made it.” She calls herself a practitioner of “capitalist activism,” an advocate of what might be called hand-to-hand capitalism.

And you can meet the people on the other side of those hand-to-hand transactions. You can meet some of the Wengerd family and buy produce grown on their Rolling Ridge Farm in Mifflinburg, PA. The unassuming guy who sells the Cooperstown Cheese? His award-winning cheese has been served at the White House. The hilarious guy selling meat down at the end? All his cows have names, and in his spare time he flips (buys, restores, sells) classic cars.

How did Ms Makris, a woman whose mother celebrated her blossoming maturity by giving her Saul Alinsky’s classic Rules for Radicals, pass through high-level corporate capitalism to end up running a farmers’ market in Northern Westchester? She liked her corporate work: she was good at it, a “people person” who thrived within in an environment of clearly articulated rules and goals. But her populist instincts rebelled when she saw wealthy companies looting their employees’ pension funds. How could that not be wrong? How could that not be illegal? Eventually those and other abuses made waiting tables in Hudson the more soul-preserving alternative. She soon found work in community activism, and when the chance came to manage and grow a community endeavor that doesn’t do evil, she jumped at it and became part of the unfolding history of Peekskill.

What she’s grown at the Peekskill Farmers’ Market is a win-win raised to the sixth power.

Marcy B. Freedman colorfully changing the tone
Marcy B. Freedman colorfully changing the tone
It’s marketing for Peekskill’s downtown: it entirely changes Saturday’s tone, and brings people from ever-greater distances to enjoy Peekskill and spend money here. “You have to entertain the customers while they’re here. It has to be fun. You want them to spend the day in Peekskill. Hopefully, you want them to buy a house in Peekskill.”
Peekskill citizens get to buy farm-fresh produce and other good things, while having a market day, making new friends and running into the old.

Corinna is very concerned that every single one of her vendors is happy and making enough money to make the day worth the effort (efforts like heavy lifting and getting up at two in the morning).

The entertainers make it fun for shoppers while earning new fans, maybe selling some merchandise, and leaving with some tips and some farm-fresh produce.

Community organizations (the Cornell Extension Master Gardener, the City of Peekskill 75th Anniversary Committee, HVCCA’s Peekskill Project are visible to a broad cross section of our community.

And there’s even jobs, jobs, jobs. Some vendors hire locally. If you’re interested, Corinna can hook you up with whoever’s hiring. And while we’re at it, volunteering for the market will not only make you feel glad all over, but will look great on your resume.

And the market supports Local Living Economies both here, and in all the places within the 250 mile radius food shed that sends us the fruits of their lands and people. (Learn more about Local Living Economies at the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies, and around these parts, check out Re>Think Local. And Scott Tillett, founder of Re>Think Local, has also stepped into the stream of Peekskill history, as I detailed here.)

Farm Fresh from Eight Mile Creek
Farm Fresh from Eight Mile Creek
Some important facts. The market operates under the auspices of Peekskill’s Business Improvement District. The theory, borne out in fact, being that the rising tide created by the Market will lift all boats in the district. But the Market doesn’t cost anyone anything: it’s not only self-supporting, but turns a profit. Some people believe City of Peekskill tax money is spent on the market – not true; in fact, the City gets paid by the Market for street closure.
There’s no electioneering at the market, but that doesn’t make it politician-free. “It’s a good place for elected officials to be seen – it’s neutral territory,” Corinna explains, “Everybody wants Peekskill to be a good place to live.”

Another win-win in the market’s six-dimensional win-win universe: Quirk Shop Peekskill (Facebook), a retail co-op for designers is slated to open on North Division in August. It will be curated by Jeorjia Shea, a designer whose work flew off the shelves when she was a vendor at the market. She’ll be representing other independent designers and providing gallery space for local artists.

I’m grateful that the Farmers’ Market is part of my Peekskill, and I see lots of grateful, happy Peekskillians (as many as 1,500 per market day) getting farm-fresh produce and so very much more every Saturday morning. Maybe I’ll see you there one of these Saturdays.

What’s up Peekskill? Mid-June Edition

Thursday, June 11

Fred Gillen Jr. - Wage Love
• Fred Gillen, Jr.
@ Birdsall House – 9:00 pm

• Songwriter Showcase
with John Longhitano, and Jess Erick
@ 12 Grapes – 8:30 pm

• Comedy Night
@ The Hudson Room – 8:00 pm

• Karaoke Night
@ Gleasons – 9:00 pm

Friday, June 12

Judy Collins on a fancy couch
Judy Collins on a fancy couch

• Judy Collins
@ The Paramount Theater – 8:00 pm

• Antonio Ciacca Duo
@ Division Street Grill – 7:00 pm

• Sundad
@ The Beanrunner Cafe – 8:00 pm

• Phillip Dollard
@ Gleasons – 9:00 pm

• Dylan Doyle Band
@ 12 Grapes – 9:30 pm

Saturday, June 13

Jimmy Mack
• Honoring Jimmy Mack
@ The Paramount Theater – 7:00 pm

• West African and Caribbean Family Dance Workshop
@ Embark Peekskill – 1:00 – 2:30 pm

• Charley Krachy Duo
@ Division Street Grill – 7:30 pm

• Mark Sinnis & 825
@ Birdsall House – 7:00 pm – in the beer garden!

• Eric Person Trio
@ The Beanrunner Cafe – 8:00 pm

• A Pink Floyd Tribute
with Beyond The Wall
@ 12 Grapes – 9:30 pm

• LA Soul
@ The Hudson Room – 10:00 pm

Sunday, June 14

• Greg Westhoff’s Westchester Swing Band
@ 12 Grapes – 5:30 pm

• The Mike Risko Band
@ The Hudson Room

What’s Up Peekskill? Memorial Day 2015 edition

Thursday, May 21st

• Live Band Karaoke
@ 12 Grapes – 8:30 pm

• Jazz Night
The Kazzrie Jaxen Quartet featuring Charlie Kratchy
@ The Hudson Room – 8:00 pm

• Steve Chizmadia
@ Birdsall House – 9:30 pm

Friday, May 22nd

rangers
Hockey!
• Rangers vs. Lightening – Round 3, Game 4.
At a Peekskill Bar with a TV – 8:00 pm

• Mike Milazzo & Broken Arrow
@ 12 Grapes – 9:30 pm

• Five Toed Dragon
@ Bean Runner Cafe – 8:00 pm

Foster Dad
@ Kyle’s Pub – 10:00 pm

• Qu Boii
@ The Hudson Room – 10:00 pm

PLUCK AND RAIL
@ Gleason’s – 9:00 pm

Saturday, May 23rd

hvcca docent tour
Docent Tour
Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art
@ HVCCA – 2-3 pm “sharp”

• Valerie Capers Quartet
@ Bean Runner Cafe – 8:00 pm

• The City Boys Allstars, Two shows / Two seatings
@ 12 Grapes – 1st show: 7:30 pm; 2nd show: 10:00 pm

Slam Allen
• Slam Allen – Soul & Blues
@ The Hudson Room – 10:00 pm

• P.E.A.C.E.
Join the first chamber ensemble in Peekskill!
Interactive Looping with Acoustic Instruments & Electronics to create Ambient Music. You too can Participate!
@ Embark – 8:00 pm

Sunday, May 24th

• Rangers vs. Lightening – Round 3, Game 5.
At a Peekskill Bar with a TV near you! 8:00 pm

• Great Blue
@ Bean Runner Cafe – 4:00 pm

Memorial Day, Monday, May 25th

Keep Your Hudson Clean!

Sick of finding junk along the shores?
Done with kayaking through patches of garbage?
Tired of taking creepy looking objects from your dog when walking along the riverfront?

Well, this Saturday, May 9th, you can do something about it!

Riverkeeper is having a River Sweep event all along the Hudson Estuary* from New York City all the way to Albany. There is still time to sign up!
Riverkeeper-Sweep-3-3-450x137
*(Fun Fact: The Hudson is actually a tidal estuary, not a river, at least as far north as Troy, NY. Same goes fot the East and Harlem Rivers.)

What’s Up Peekskill? Mother’s Day Edition

Thursday, May 7th

Sessions. The MAGIC happens here.
with JP Patrick & Friends, and special guest, Johnny Feds!
@ 12Grapes – 8:30 pm

Matt Turk
@ Birdsall House – 9:30 pm

Friday, May 8th

Rangers vs. Capitals – NHL Playoffs, Round 2, Game 5.
Rangers are down 3 games to 1. Oh dear…
Support them on at your favorite Peekskill drinking establishment!
Game starts at 7:00 pm

Music for a Cause
with Unfunded Mandate, raising money for Lakeland Schools
@ 12Grapes – 9:00 pm

The Saints Band of NY
@ Hudson Room – 10:00 pm

STEVE CHIZMADIA
@ Gleason’s – 9:00 pm

Carlos Barbosa-Lima, Larry Del Casale
@ Beanrunner Cafe – 8:00 pm

Saturday, May 9th

Garden Club of Peekskill Plant Sale
@ Riverfront Green (over the railroad tracks) – 9:00 am – 3:00 pm

Mike Bennett of 100.7 WHUD – Book Talk & Signing
Don’t Pay the Ransom, I’ve Escaped: Memories of A Life On The Radio
@ Peekskill Field Library – 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

Your mission: Have a good time
with Cobert Operations, featuring 5-time Grammy Nominee, Jon Cobert, Peter Calo, and Rob Wallis
@ 12Grapes – 9:30 pm

Dirty Stay Out
@ Hudson Room – 10:00 pm

Gerry Malkin Quintet
Chris Morrison (guitar), Jeff Pittson (piano), Mike McGuirk (bass), Bobby Leonard (drums)
@ Beanrunner Cafe – 8:00 pm

Sunday, May 10th – MOTHERS DAY

momtattoo
FREE Prosecco for Mom
with Buffet Brunch from 11:30 am, Dinner from 3:30 pm
@ 12Grapes – 11:30 am – 6:00 pm

Mother’s Day Brunch
@ Gleasons

The Relaxing Vocals of
Deena Goidel – Vocalist
@ Division Street Grill – 11:30AM – 3:30PM

Classic House Piano
Doug Smith – Piano
@ Division Street Grill – 5:00PM – 8:00PM

embark-050915Swing Dancing
Class – 7-8pm
Dancing – 8-12pm
@ Embark

What’s Up Peekskill? May Day edition.

Thursday, April 30th

rangers
Hockey!
The Rangers took care of the Penguins in Round 1, now they face the Washington Capitals. (Don’t you think it should be spelled with an “o” since the Capitol building is?)

Rangers vs. Capitals – NHL Playoffs, Round 2, Game 1.
I’m sure on every tv bar in Peekskill – 7:30pm

Elena Bonomo Trio
@ 12 Grapes 8:30pm

The Acquaintances
@ Birdsall House 9:30pm

Salsa Night!
with Hiram Colon & Brisa Tropical
@ The Hudson Room 8pm

Friday, May 1st

Joe Duraes
Gleason’s 9pm

Salsa Night!
with with Annette A. Aguilar and the Stringbean 5Tet
@ The Beanrunner Cafe 8pm

Showtime Dance Band
combines the sound of Motown, Soul, R&B, Funk, Old School Disco, Dance Rock and Jazz.
@ The Hudson Room 10pm

Dylan Doyle Band
@ 12 Grapes 9pm

Jazz Legends
Bucky Pizzarelli – Guitar & Jerry Bruno – Bass
@ Division Street Grill 7:00 & 8:45 PM

Saturday, May 2nd

Rangers vs. Capitals – NHL Playoffs, Round 2, Game 2.
I’m sure on every tv bar in Peekskill  12:30pm

Steven Wright – comedian
@ The Paramount 8pm

ocean
Art Opening and Wine Tasting
Photographer Ocean Morriset’s collection “Peekskill Through My Eyes”
@ Dylan’s Wine Cellar 2-4pm

Glenda Davenport – Vocalist  & Hiroshi Yamazaki – Piano
@ Division Street Grill 7:30pm

Annual Cinco de Mayo Festival (3-10pm)
Prognosis 9:30pm
@ 12 Grapes

Ninth House & “Elvis”
@ Beale Street Barber Shop 7pm

The Rhythmic Jazz Vocals of
Kristina Koller with Jon Thomas on Piano
@ Division Street Grill 7:30pm

Magnets, with Kim Clarke, Rob Scheps-sax,Bryan Carrot-vibraphone, Special guest-drums
@ The Beanrunner Cafe 8pm

Roxy Perry, blues artist
@ Hudson Room 10pm

Sunday, May 3rd

Swing Band Sunday!
with Greg Westhoff’s Westchester Swing Band
@ 12 Grapes 5:30-8pm

R&B Soul & Motown
Tommy Dabbs Singing With His Band
$25.00 2 Course Show Special
@ Division Street Grill 4–7pm

Singer-Songwriters Katie & Nash
@ The Beanrunner Cafe 4-6pm