An array of delectable choices were available, including eggs, cheese, empanadas, meats, craft beer, baked goods, olive oil, seafood, sauces, pasta, coffee, bread and more. Crowds lined up for free samples and to fill shopping bags with fresh goodies.
Across the board, crowds were happy with the new venture. "I liked the indoor market," said Kathy Tureski of East Quogue, who bought shitake mushrooms from Cutchogue, sauerkraut bread, and three bars of natural soap. "It's a fabulous idea to promote local businesses. It was very crowded. If it keeps up, maybe they'll expand."
Suffolk County Legislator Al Krupski said as a farmer, the market was a welcome sight. "If you're a grower, you have to have an outlet in the winter. This helps downtown Riverhead and growers, too."
Holly Browder, of Browder's Birds in Southold, came before the Riverhead town board two weeks ago to discuss the plan, along with Ray Pickersgill, president of the Riverhead Business Improvement District.
The idea for the indoor farmers' market in Riverhead was born after a similar venture in Sag Harbor didn't materialize this year. The goal, Browder said, is to bring those vendors, from all across the East End, to a Riverhead location.
The Riverhead Farmers' Market will be located at 117 East Main Street, in the old Swezey's building directly across from the Suffolk Theater, and will be open on Saturdays from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m., from Feb. 1 through May 17.
"This is a unique attraction we could test out," Pickersgill said.
Surveying the crowd on Saturday, Pickersgill smiled. "This is great. And we'd like to bring in even more people."
"It fits in with the goal of promoting East End tourism past November," Browder added. "We small farmers need to make money year-round."
"Chickens lay eggs all year," Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter noted.
Some of the local products available will be eggs from Browder's Birds, wine from Borghese Vineyard in Cutchogue, donuts and other baked goods from Ginger Goods in East Marion, cheese from Goodale Farms in Riverhead, cheese and pork from Mecox Bay Dairy in Water Mill, Amy's Ark Hummus from Westhampton Beach, Kalypso Greek Yogurt, Lulu Knits, fibers, yarn and skin products from Long Island Livestock, coffee from Long Island Coffee Roasters, pickled products and jellies from A Taste of the North Fork, potted plants from Greenhouse Affect/Garden Fusion in East Marion, Blue Duck Bakery products, and goods from Garden of Eve in Riverhead, to name a few.