Setauket market for a good cause back for second year

Setauket market for a good cause back for second year

Setauket Farmers Market organizers Leah Sugrue and Liv Halvorsen enjoy the fruits of their labor at one of last year’s events. Photo from Liv Halvorsen

Farmers markets featuring fresh, local produce and other food items are great for everyone involved, from vendors to shoppers, and the Three Village community is about to get another dose.

The East Setauket Farmers Market, which kicks off for the season on Saturday, May 14, on the North Country Road grounds of the Three Village Historical Society, takes “win-win” one step further. All of the money raised from vendor fees, raffles and donations goes to the nonprofit organization Hope for Javier, which is dedicated to finding a cure for Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

The East Setauket Farmers Market was started in 2015 by then freshmen at Ward Melville High School Leah Sugrue and Liv Halvorsen. The market began as a National Junior Honor Society fundraising proposal, though it has grown to be much more. This year the market will be open on Fridays from spring through fall, starting with the special kickoff date on May 14.

“It’s pretty cool to drive by and think, ‘Wow I created that,’” Halvorsen said in a phone interview Tuesday as she reflected on how the idea sprouted from a school-related proposal to an annual reality.

Sugrue and Halvorsen chose Hope for Javier because another student in the National Junior Honor Society has a family member involved with the organization, and the pair thought the devastating nature of Duchenne muscular dystrophy made it as worthy a cause as any to get behind.

“This is one we felt like the community really responded to,” Halvorsen said, adding that their involvement with the nonprofit has been as fulfilling for them. “[Hope for Javier] shouldn’t be thanking us, we should be thanking them.”

Sugrue said the response to last year’s market “changed what we were thinking, and we’ve become more involved with the cause.” She added that she’s learned a lot about local produce along the way.

The market will feature many of the same fresh, local produce from last year, along with artisanal breads, wines, olive oils, jams, beef jerky, pickles and much more this time around. The pair also hinted they are trying to secure a bouncy castle for marketgoers to enjoy on the 14th.

Sugrue and Halvorsen credited Melissa Dunstatter with helping to get the market off the ground. Dunstatter owns Sweet Melissa Dips & Gourmet catering in Rocky Point, and sells her products at the market and helps with the market’s operations.

“The outpouring of support has truly been amazing,” an informational release about the 2016 launch of the market, said.

To learn more about the market visit