What is a Slow Road and why does it matter?

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I am very excited to announce a new vision and collaboration for Slow Road beginning this Fall of 2014. In tandem we are launching the “Slow Roads & Story of Place blog” to tell you about the stories of the people and places that we discover on the roads less traveled.

There is a tremendous amount to explore in our region and Slow Road will continue to capture the spirit of place as we advocate for sustainable locally rooted tourism.

WATCH our trailer below to learn more:

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/104036255″>Slow Road Trailer 2014</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/slowroad”>Slow Road</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Slow Road

It has been far too long since I have written but I assure you that has not meant my efforts towards honoring local integrity and working towards community improvement have subsided in the least bit.

The main reason I am making this post today however, is because I want to share with you that I am launching and hosting a brand new project that I am incredibly excited about. I am currently working along side a production company here in Rochester to produce a local travel series that will put a lens on the often overlooked people and places from our region. I can tell you from my own personal experience that there are incredible things happening in and around our community that often don’t see the light of day enough for us to even pay attention.

Today I spent the day filming in and around Medina, NY to take time to explore and discover the many incredible initiatives that are happening there. It is a myth that innovation cannot come from outside of a major metropolitan area and quite the contrary after today’s filming in Medina I would actual assert that the village is demonstrating greater innovation in their urban planning then we are here in Rochester, NY.

Medina’s investement and creativity in adaptive reuse of beautiful (and often dilapidated) infrastructure is something that will be making major news with or without my project’s attention, just remember you heard that here first!

It was an incredible day of exploration and conversation which will not only make you want to visit this amazing small village of Medina but will also challenge your perception of what is happening here in Upstate New York.

We are surrounded by amazing people and places and it is time we start paying attention, my project will do just that and will give the incredible people (and their personalities) an opportunity to be known and heard.

I anticipate that the first screening of this series will begin in early Summer of this year (2013).

Sometimes it takes a slow road for us to take notice of  the beauty that is around us, I’m thankful I explored one today and that it is reinvigorating a desire and passion to explore, pursue, and honor the people and places of our greater community.

Stay tuned, this is something you do not want to pass by!

 

The Accessibility of Escape

As we enter into the New Year one of the themes I want to communicate and live towards involves the concept that the feeling of escape can be accomplished much more easily then we realize.

Often we are under the impression that a break from the stress of our daily lives or escape from monotony needs to come from an elaborate, expensive, or long duration vacation and so we travel far and wide to embody the concepts of freedom and to explore the unknown, in an effort to find a place that feels “less than familiar.” Do we ever stop to consider how accessible these feelings and experiences are?

As I write this I am sitting in one of many places where I have found the same feelings of freedom “mental transportation” that I have encountered on trips far and wide. Perhaps those feelings are not as intense as the mountain top experiences in the Swiss Alps, perhaps these feelings don’t feel as intense as the “unknown” when I was recently driving through the desert to Santa Fe, New Mexico, but they exist with me here and now. It is even possible that because this place represents somewhere largely unknown to me (and is a place where I am largely unknown) that a sense of freedom exists that is reminiscent to other experiences that I have had. The ability of this place to inspire such feelings creates a sense of belonging for me, and I find myself feeling favorable towards my surroundings.

Today this place is the quaint charming (and somewhat forgotten) historic village of Scottsville in the town of Wheatland, NY located only 15 miles from where I live in the City of Rochester. Often we ignore what is directly around us and I truly believe that we suffer because of it, we miss the ability to make our “escapes” accessible and so instead we feel frustrated that our desired freedoms feel so far and difficult to accomplish. Forgotten places suffer as well, because we fail to realize that our interest and engagement of them has dramatic effects. Will anyone remember me in Santa Fe? I highly doubt that, but I find myself believing in a place like this that I will be remembered.

This small ignored town has become very meaningful to me and because of that I desire to tell others that this is an experience worth having and a place worth visiting.

Travel to somewhere forgotten and you may just realize that you can find part of yourself in that process.

It’s never as far as you think or as difficult.

When you go:

Visit the Artisan Coffeehouse to feel the pulse of the community and to see if you too can find that sense of belonging.

Visit the Free Library to be inspired by the past while you can sit and write about your future.

Links:

Artisan Coffeehouse
http://www.artisancoffeehouse.com/

Scottsville Free Library
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scottsville_Free_Library

The Village of Scottsville

http://www.scottsvilleny.org/

The Village of Scottsville on Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Village-of-Scottsville-NY/337398322352

bringing community along

Very often in my quest for “place-making” I find myself taking on a lone-ranger identity as I meander the back roads across New York or elsewhere in search for those communities, history, and places that will become memorable. There are aspects to this approach that I genuinely like,  I slow down the pace of a very busy and often chaotic schedule with Graduate school and working outside of it. I enjoy having the time to really think and clear my head as the scenery transforms before me, and sometimes I just like the fact that I’m out there doing this on my own in the spirit of exploration and adventure.. I’m well aware at this point that this trend will continue because it’s something I’ve found that brings me a great deal of purpose and satisfaction and is something that is so signature to who I am.

I greatly enjoy getting to meet people along my journey’s as well, strangers who become somewhat known as they introduce their places to me. Recently however I’ve been really dwelling on how much I enjoy sharing new experiences with people and so recently I decided to plan out a road trip with me and six friends who interact with my life in very different and separate circles at times.


The destination was obvious for me, it was a place I hadn’t been in quite sometime but have always loved and I knew it was time to return. The city of Ithaca, NY is one of my favorites cities in the entire state of New York, and it often reminds me of my time spent out in the Pacific Northwest where I lived for a summer back in 2008.  The city is surrounded by serene natural beauty, gorges, waterfalls, and the Lake Cayuga waterfront with no major city nearby and reflects its cultural identity in this way as an island amongst the finger lakes, and in an area surrounded by beautiful rolling hills and farmland with communities that make up the Amish, Ithaca acts as a solid dose of counter-culture to all that surrounds it.

I have been a sort of travel ambassador to Ithaca over the years ever since I was captivated by the place from an early trip there with my best friend (which I believe was back in 2004). Since then I have encouraged many people to come visit with me to experience the natural beauty, great restaurants and pubs, and wealth of eclectic locally based shops that encompass everything from old books to music stores, to vintage clothing and more. Ithaca is a place I have grown to love and to encourage others to experience.

There is much that I can go on to talk about regarding the destination of Ithaca, but it is the spirit of moving away from purely destination based thinking when it comes to the travel that I want to discuss. So much of what made this trip memorable was about sharing the experience with others and the tremendous joy I find in introducing people to new and exciting things.

It’s this idea of “community travel” that I want to focus on and how unorthodox this concept really is when we begin to realize how linear we can become when we think about tourism and travel. At times we put an enormous amount of pressure on the idea that the place (destination) is what must “make” our trip, instead of considering that it is the journey itself, this notion of transformation, is what helps us to extend into new perspectives and added value. I believe that this “transformative value” can only be compounded when we realize that it can be shared.

It’s this concept of continual and perpetual added value that fascinates me, what becomes obvious with any given travel exploration is that we are seeking value in our lives in a way that is traditionally unfamiliar to our routines and is something that can somehow engage us in a way that becomes memorable (as observed in previous posts). At the end of the day do we plan accordingly to reach these ideals though? Is it even a conscious thought in our minds that we are looking to add value in our lives when we travel?  I want to suggest and hypothesize that perhaps we are not looking as much for “place” as we are for “belonging” and this ability to feel connected to each other and to community( even while traveling).

In introducing the Ithaca trip with six friends from Rochester I want to emphasize that what I believe made this trip valuable and rewarding was the fact that we were able to share the experience with one another, and we were able to find connection with one another. One other major point I would like to illustrate is my belief that something like travel, (especially when it is a first time shared experience) can emphasize these connections more than ever. Perhaps travel could even be one of the ideal vehicles to enable relationship and connection to one another. This could emphasize the importance or potential benefit of  “community travel.”

One of the beautiful things about the trip to Ithaca was that many of the people who came didn’t know each other well or at all before we embarked on this winter journey from Rochester, and yet a bond and connection was made over the simple concept that we were experiencing something together for the first time. It is those interactions, those discussions, those moments of light-hearted laughter, singing along to music in the car, and pointing out things on the horizon that we all believed we might find mutually valuable and engaging that made for the most memorable, satisfying, and entertaining experiences.

As beautiful as Ithaca was at the end of the day what I remember was the people and personality of those I traveled with that made it such an incredible trip and more importantly the ability to introduce friends into this world I knew existed, for the first time.

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Above: Playing around with some stop motion burst mode shots by dancing in Ithaca Commons (these are just a few entertaining shots taken from the bunch

All Photos by Paul Stanley Beinetti

I encourage you to explore the photos posted in this blog and look at them through the lens of connection and these ideas of “community travel” do they change how you perceive travel, do you feel that the ideology of “community travel” could be branded as an added value or relationship building experience?

long overdue

This really is just a brief blog post to illustrate how horribly overdue I am for posting one. I will be posting thoughts I have had, and (in some cases travels) over these past four months. I encourage all of you no matter how busy you get to always keep writing. It will be one of my great passions moving forward to keep my thoughts, ideas, and inspiration flowing throughout the course of this summer as many exciting opportunities, adventures, and experiences lie ahead.

I am entering the critical junction within my Masters degree program at RIT to begin my Capstone project (essentially my thesis). With my coursework now complete, I look forward to attaching my signature to the ideal relationships of public policy, tourism, and marketing concentrations I have employed in an attempt to comprehensively develop creative and innovative solutions, for urban and community development.

My passions for the arts, the slow food movement, and the dynamic form of truly “localized” expression have never been greater and I look forward to sharing my concepts, theories and ideas moving forward!

As always I welcome your feedback and the opportunity to learn from you as well!

Thank You,

~ Benjamin J. Woelk

The Roads Less Traveled Part II

I’ve had another great opportunity to take the roads across Upstate New York in search of the desire to experience something new. Today the greatest experiences have been the ability to  see the incredible beauty of the farms and orchards that are such a part of this region in New York State. Shortly after leaving my workplace at Joe Bean Coffee Roasters today, I headed north along Route 250 and towards the Sea Way Trail which hugs the coast of Lake Ontario. It was an impromptu decision to fill some unplanned time and to engage in what is quickly becoming my favorite thing to do in my free time. I am constantly amazed at just how quickly the scenery changes with a short drive out of town, often I find the ability to experience something “less than familiar” as purely refreshing.

Today I wanted to pay attention to the motivations and the things I wanted to experience. Whenever we set out to explore something new from somewhere we always hope for a positive experience, but what exactly are we looking for?  In examining these thoughts I began to really ask the question what is it that makes “place” for us? Why is it that we feel the motivations to travel towards a particular area or destination? In my opinion it becomes about having the desire to find somewhere that engages us enough that it becomes memorable.

What was it that was memorable for today? So much of what brought me fulfillment was the natural beauty of the road and landscape before me. A winding road that took me through apple orchards and old farm homesteads and the ability to glimpse the whitecaps on Lake Ontario that were created by a blustery and unusually warm and sunny late winter day. It dawned on me how much the natural landscape dictated the way that the road formed, something that is so clearly lacking when we take a major highway or expressway. We are use to roads cutting through and away from everything in a manner that bypasses the environment around us. Today’s trip became more about the road carrying you into places, at times I felt the road was almost designed to give me a tour of the many orchards and farms I passed through. Not surprisingly the Sea Way Trail has been dedicated as one of America’s Byway’s by the U.S. Department of Transportation. The Sea Way trail is,” recognized for its unique landscape, scenic freshwater coastline, and historical significance.” That intimate connection with the natural environment was refreshing as I set out along my way.

As I continued down the road I shortly arrived  in the serene small town of Pultneyville and was captivated by the nautical nature of the town, it was set as close to the shores on Lake Ontario as any town I have seen in New York and boats were scattered throughout the marina. Everything about the town made you think about the history of its settlement, old Edwardian and Victorian homes it was amazing to think of the first people who would of settled there back in 1806. This town even served as a trading port during the War of 1812.

Though today I didn’t set out with a final destination the end of my journey took place in the beautiful town of Sodus Point. Here the ability to experience the lake shore was incredible. My first stop was a visit to the grounds of the Sodus Point Lighthouse, a historic lighthouse which was first built in 1824 and later replaced because of deterioration in 1874, the lighthouse stood out beautifully against the cliffs of Chimney Bluffs State Park in the background.

The highlight of my journey came when I arrived at the lake shore itself and decided to brave the wind out along the sea wall. Huge formations of snow and ice blanketed everything and the wind produced waves that were capable of spraying some icy cold water in my direction. When I arrived at the end of the pier and took in the 360 degree view of the water surrounding me I knew I had found what I had been searching for all along, the opportunity to experience something so engaging that I knew today would be memorable.

View from the Sodus Point seawall

Upon returning to the shore I stood on the beach as the sand whipped around my feet creating an incredible sight as sand trails formed across the entire beach front, and I stood in the midst of it with the winds gusting and the sun shining. These natural surprises created an environment where I suddenly found myself connected to the idea of truly experiencing “place.” All the conditions and characteristics of the area were causing me to form a connection with where I was, it was almost as if Sodus Point was there to speak it’s identity and I had the opportunity to listen to and recognize that.

Sand Trails on Sodus Point Beach

The ability to experience something that is exciting and beautiful enough that it becomes memorable should be the ultimate goal when visiting somewhere new. Not every destination in life is memorable nor does every place bring us the excitement for it to become so.

In my last post I encouraged you to slow down and to take the “roads less traveled,” as added instruction I want to also encourage you to look for those places that have the capability of becoming memorable to you. Look for the natural beauty, heritage, and people who have the ability to transcend the ordinary and become something exceptional. When you open yourself to experiencing the unknown, the unknown has the ability to become known in such a way that it can become familiar, and before you know it you’ll be wanting to return to the destination that had the ability to make that conversion for you in the first place.

What is it that makes “place” for you? What is the last trip you took that was truly memorable? I welcome your comments as always!

The Roads Less Traveled

“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.”- Ralph Waldo Emerson

I’ve recently been thinking about what it is that’s beautiful that I look for when traveling. Just yesterday in an effort to break the winter blues I jumped in my car and drove into the back roads of Upstate and Western New York. I have recently realized that so much of what brings me excitement and draws the spirit of adventure from within me, is found in my desire to go look for what is not commonly sought after. I have started to recognize that one of the greatest challenges of living life is that often we travel through it at such a blindly fast pace that we miss the very essence and character of what’s around us.

We travel our lives on a highway always thinking about how many miles are left until we arrive at Point B after departing from Point A. It is my belief that something tragic happens in this process, we forget the very concept of what it is to be on the journey itself, we lend ourselves to the disposition that all is predictable because we’ve seen it before. Our “journies” become so planned and predetermined that there’s no need to anticipate any added value, perhaps simply the unexpected nature of being delayed or stuck in traffic.

Recently I have found a real desire to really know and understand my environment and surroundings. When I’ve set out to travel I’ve made it a real purpose to explore and find the roads less traveled, to pay attention to the smallest details of how the area around me has been formed and organized over time and to find those local people, businesses, and places that uniquely represent the communities in which they reside.  It’s the reminders of the communities that existed in these small towns and places that brings me great fulfillment. Sometimes it’s the simplest details, an old church that’s stood through the years, an old homestead, an old farm and the wide-open spaces that accompany them. Sometimes it’s just the fact that I’m forced to slow down as I travel through these small towns, in a way these places demand that you do, and it seems so appropriate that a place that has existed for so long deserves the tribute of at least lending my close attention.

My favoritve photo from the trip

My travels reflected

I have begun to realize just how much these roads less traveled are a greater form of expression and how these small  towns reflect community. They are cohesive and collective and their unification speaks loudly in the fragmented and busy world around them.

As I traveled through towns such as Rush, Mumford, Caledonia, LeRoy, Batavia, Williamsville, Lockport, and Olcott ,I began to feel more connected to the communities around me. These sometimes forgotten places had to power to remind me that character and community are worth finding no matter how far the distance traveled.

Now I carry the beauty of these places forward, and I am realizing that in doing so, the destination is becoming less important.

The Influence of the Arts in our Markets Lessons from Burlington, VT

Hello everyone! Pardon my delay in getting up any recent posts as I have been well immersed into a summer session graduate class at the Rochester Institute of Technology. I am excited to continue to study the relationship of our farmers’ markets and community and will begin filming and documenting interviews with our local market vendors and attendees. Stay updated by subscribing to my blog and as always your feedback is extremely welcome and appreciated!

I have decided to focus this blog entry on the relationship of the Arts and our local Farmers’ Markets. I am a tremendous believer in the power of artistic expression and its ability to foster and grow community and I have pursued electives in the Arts including an Art Gallery Managment class here at RIT in an effort to understand the role that Art can play in community. My undergraduate degree is in Music Industry from SUNY College at Oneonta in Oneonta, NY and my desire is to continue to create places of community and vibrancy around the Arts and music.

On a recent trip to across New England, I happened to visit in Burlington, Vermont on the way back to New York. To my surprise and delight it turned out that the Burlington Farmers’ Market happened to be in full swing the morning of my arrival. The market was a tremendous explosion of people, fresh produce, beautiful fresh cut flowers, music, maple syrup (of course!) and prepared foods and most surprisingly, the Arts!

The market featured a beautiful selection of artistic goods including pottery, blown glass, wood and ironwork, hand-spun clothing, jewelry, framed prints and even natural soaps. The market tremendously highlighted the local craftsmen and woman from the area and brought an incredible dynamic to an already fresh and vibrant market.

Pottery in the market

Hand thrown pottery from Roof Top Pottery in Burlington, VT

This Burlington Farmers’ Market held in the City Hall Park brought a new focus to the Arts that I have not seen with any other market I have experienced since Pike’s Place Market in Seattle, WA. The fact that this was a purely outdoor market (versus Pike’s Place) made this even more impressive. It honestly dawned on me for the first time that the Arts ability to create community, and my belief in our farmers markets to become centers of community and “third places” could be paired together in the same vision!

People enjoying food and music at Burlington's Farmers' Market

The Vermont farmers market has been running for over 30 Years since its inception in 1980 and by all appearnces this market was every bit of the expression of Burlington that I could experience. There is something purely human about expresses oneself in your dedicated craft or trade and I genuinely felt that both the farmers’ and the artists represented this with passion and a commitment to excellence.

Beautiful produce at the Burlington Farmers' Market

It is my genuine hope that we will translate this influence of the Arts to our local markets here in Rochester, NY. We have a tremendous wealth here in the Arts and our city is built around the creation and history of photography with George Eastman. Our local colleges in the area including RIT continue to educate in the arts and now we even have community based arts programs including “First Fridays” that highlight our local galleries and talents every first friday of the month. If we can place emphasis on bringing the Arts into our Farmers’ Markets here I can only assume the quality of our local markets will be even greater and the possibility for community

How do you feel about the the Arts and music in our markets? Do you agree that the expression of these adds to the value and community that is being cultivated? Have you experienced a market where the Arts or Music are highlighted? Your feedback is welcome! Thank You!

On the web:

The Burlington, VT Farmer’s Market

Burlington, VT Farmers Market Facebook

First Friday-Citywide Gallery Night in Rochester, NY

George Eastman House-Rochester, NY

Gallery R-Rochester Institute of Technology

Rochester Institute of Technology

Reaching Beyond our Farmers’ Markets-The Good Food Collective

As stated in my previous post, I wanted to devote my next entry to the conversation I had with Chris Hartman about the Good Food Collective and the idea of our region’s local rural farms looking for ways to get food into urban communities.

Chris was generous enough to take the time to talk with me in detail about the South Wedge Farmers’ Market and his desire to build off of the Farmers’ Markets to continue to find ways to bring healthy food into the communities of Rochester.

He was the founder or the South Wedge Farmers Market back in 2007. The market was started with a desire to infuse an urban neighborhood with producer-only vendors from  farms across central New York State. The Good Food Collective is a gathering of  local farms and is demonstrating a new model to bring local food into Rochester.

In my conversation with Chris, he highlighted the wonderful benefits of what something like a local farmers’ market means, and spoke of the same ideas of “place-making” and the idea that farmers’ markets are rich in social capital…the wealth and value that each person brings who attends that market (the Regulars per “Farmers Markets as Place-making”).

There are great positives to having farmers’ markets, but Chris also pointed out the issue with farmers’ markets being inefficient. Why is this the case? The access to fresh food is limited. Traditionally local markets only run once a week and for a few hours. They are seasonal and weather dependent, and farmers travel great distances (in this case up to 100 miles) to bring fresh food to market. Even the hours they spend at market may take away from other farming duties. With the belief that farmers markets should continue to exist, Chris also stated the need to create localized food systems that would benefit the community as a whole over the long-term.

Chris Hartman from the Good Food Collective explains his vision for a community food network

This is where the Good Food Collective excels. The Good Food Collective is a collaboration of Chris’ company, Head Water Foods Inc., and the partnership of nine other local farms. Those farms differ in their offerings but I have listed them below with a brief description and links so you may learn more about each of them.

The nine farms represented include:

Chicory Blue-featuring cut flowers, and pesticide/fertilizer-free vegetables

Clearview Farm-certified organic vegetables herbs and fruit, non-organic free range eggs

East Hill Organic Farm-organically grown vegetables, honey, apples, pears, peaches, plums, grapes, eggs, and hay

Fraser’s Garlic Farm- organic garlic, potatoes, leafy vegetables, root crops, edible pumpkins and certified organic eggs from free-range chickens.

Honeyhill Farm-certified organic, pasture-raised chickens & beef, vegetables and 20 tomato varieties.

Lighthouse Gardens-greenhouse grown annuals and perennials including herb and vegetable starts.

Mud Creek Farm-chemical/pesticide-free vegetables

Organic Matters Farm-Eggs from free-range hens, certified organic vegetables

Raindance Harvest-Sustainably grown transplants, mixed greens, and assorted vegetables.

Together these farms are assisting in the vision of a multi-farm CSA or Community Supported Agriculture model for the Good Food Collective. In a CSA, people buy into farms as shareholders an in return receive a share of the farms weekly harvest. This model enables the farms to receive support and money up fron,t and to benefit people with local and fresh produce (see the offerings of each farm above).

The commitment of Chris Hartman and Head Water Foods Inc. is to bring, “individual, social, economic, and ecological health to the Rochester community.”

I want to thank Chris for his commitment to bringing Rochester’s agricultural offerings to the surface, and to bringing attention to the incredible wealth that our local farms are injecting into our city. I ultimately believe that if we can continue to highlight the profound local and regional agriculture that exists around Rochester, we can become known as a world class agricultural destination.

The impact on our neighborhoods, our city, and our communities could be tremendous! Support our local farmers and support our city in becoming known for our agritourism.

On the Web:

The Good Food Collective

Edible Finger Lakes Article (Chris influence on the South Wedge Farmers Market)

The South Wedge Farmers Market

“The Food Less Traveled”-The South Wedge Farmers’ Market

I had the recent privilege of attending the South Wedge Farmers’ Market for the first time this season and found the market to be a wonderful place of dialogue and community. This market is a wonderful example of the organized efforts of the South Wedge Planning Committee (SWPC), and reflects the commitment of the organization to build community throughout the neighborhood. [The market meets every Thursday from 4-7 pm at 100 Alexander St. (Boulder Coffee Parking Lot.)]

The market is officially run by the SWPC which serves one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city of Rochester. I am proud to call this my new neighborhood and just moved here this past May (more on that in another post perhaps).

The South Wedge Farmers’ Market has been an inspiration to many other markets in the area because of  its strong focus on community, commitment to local produce, and neighborhood identity. The market is now entering it’s 4th year anniversary.

The market has a very strong focus on very local produce and goods, and boasts the fact that everything at the market comes from no more than 100 miles away. The official motto of the marketplace is “the food less traveled.”

My attraction to this market comes in the utilization of the market as a “third place” as stated in my previous blog post “Farmers Markets as Place-making.” The greatest attribute of this market is that conversation is the main activity. This is stated in no way to undermine the fact that the produce and goods are as fresh and local as you can imagine, but instead speaks to the ability the market has to educate and create dialougue around healthy food, healthy people and community well-being.

"Conversation is the Main Activity"

As stated on the SWPC website, the South Wedge Farmers’ Market “educates and encourages healthy eating for long term health.” The educational experience with this market is like nothing else I have experienced in the area up to this point. The day I attended the market, Jill Stackpole of Bloomfield Honey was speaking on how to be a beekeeper and demonstrating how we get our honey.

Bloomfield Honey Observation Hive and Hive Smoker

Everything about this market was engaging, whether I was learning about organic baking methods from Small World Bakery, learning about Bloomfield honey and beekeeping, or learning about incredible wine varietals from Jerod and his family-run Leonard Oaks Estate Winery.

I had an incredible conversation with Chris Hartman from the Good Food Collective, who is also the founder and manager of the South Wedge Farmers’ Market, about the desire to move “good food” into the communities of Rochester. I will devote my next article to discussing this topic and his efforts.

Leonard Oaks Estate Winery Wine Tastings

This market had the ability to engage and educate, and as I looked around I genuinely felt that people were not only getting to experience this market as a “third place” and a place of community, but also getting to learn about the food and the incredible people and processes that had brought healthy and local food to them.

As this market continues to flourish, my hope is that the model demonstrated through SWPC will continue to spread into neighborhoods associations and planning committees across Rochester area neighborhoods. These markets need to be seen as a way to bring cultural vibrancy and community well-being to the people of our city.

On the Web:

The South Wedge Planning Committee (SWPC)

The South Wedge Farmers Market

Facebook Page for The South Wedge Farmers Market

Small World Bakery

Leonard Oaks Estate Winery