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St. James Farmers Market

Bee Witched Honey at the Port Jefferson Winters Farmers Market. File Photo by Giselle Barkley

Those who are trying to grow it and sell it on Long Island have a new way to try and get their business on the map.

Suffolk County announced that through the Choose LI – Local and Independent initiative, local businesses can request a free “Choose LI” or “Take the Pledge” sign to display at their farm stand, farmers market, fish market, brewery, cidery, distillery or vineyard. The signs, printed on white corrugated plastic measuring either 18 × 24 feet or 30 × 40 feet, can be requested online through the chooseli.org website. To date, more than 46 local businesses have signed up, according to a county press release.

“Our local farmstands, fish markets, vineyards and breweries are the backbone of our community and we want residents to continue to take advantage of these locally grown and harvested products,” said Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (D) in a release. 

The Choose LI initiative asks local residents and visitors to choose goods from local and independent farmers and fishermen. Suffolk is asking residents to “Take the Pledge” and commit to spending 10 percent of their weekly food budget, approximately $17.60, on local and independent food goods.

The website includes a searchable and interactive map of all the farmstands, farmers markets, fish markets, vineyards, breweries, cideries and distilleries in Suffolk County

The searchable map currently lists 25 farmers markets, 115 farmstands, 33 breweries, 4 distilleries, 2 cideries, 33 fish markets, 51 vineyards, 21 restaurants selling local oysters and 49 flower retailers. Anyone who visits the website can interact with the map, finding the exact address, hours of operation, phone number, and website of the business they are looking for. If your business selling Long Island produce is missing from the county map, please contact Choose LI at chooseli@suffolkcountyny.gov.

From left, Kerry Maher-Weisse, Leg. Kennedy, Rich Weisse, Sal Riccibono, Laurel Crotty, Clara Spadafina-Giunta, Kenneth Maher, Councilwoman Nowick, Councilman McCarthy, Pastor Neil Mittelstaedt, Conrad Chase and Leg. Trotta. Photo from Leg. Kennedy’s office

Legislator Leslie Kennedy (R-Nesconset), Legislator Rob Trotta (R-Fort Salonga), Councilwoman Lynn Nowick (R) and Councilman Tom McCarthy (R) joined members of the St. James community on June 3 at the St. James Lutheran Church to welcome the opening of the St. James Farmers Market with a ribbon cutting ceremony in front of the church.

Open through summer and autumn, the St. James Farmers Market allows locals to browse and purchase locally grown produce from the people personally invested in growing them at an affordable cost. Opening day featured more than simply market stalls — attendees listened to music provided by local musicians, poetry readings by local authors and craft making, among others. “With all the conveniences supermarkets give us today, it is too easy for us to forget that much of the produce we eat can and is grown right here on Long Island,” said Kennedy. “Farmers markets like these help remind us that the food we eat and the people who grow them are right next door.”

The St. James Farmers Market will be open every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the St. James Lutheran Church on 230 2nd Avenue, and will be open through Oct. 28. EBT, SNAP, FMNP and WIC are accepted. If you are interested in being a vendor, an application can be found at ligreenmarket.org/stjames.