A Market with a Mission: TaSH AT 10

About 50 vendors sell their wares in Patriots Park each week.

“It’s been such a passionate labor of love,” says Tammy Bordeaux, one of the two current co-presidents of the TaSH Farmers Market in Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow, looking back on the institution she and a handful of like-minded local volunteers created, and which celebrates its 10th season this year.  “We were all dreaming the same dream of what this would look like.” 

The dream that Bordeaux, Suzanne Sorrentino (the other co-president) and the group shared was to establish a market that was more than just a collection of vendors. “We wanted to make use of the idyllic setting – a park with a stream running through it – to set up a place where the community came together, where you could connect, meet your neighbors, exchange news, where the kids play, where we listen to music and enjoy togetherness,” Bordeaux explains. 

“Our communities have changed,” Sorrentino adds. “We’re more fragmented and it’s become harder to meet and connect. We wanted to make a new kind of place and it’s so gratifying to hear, not infrequently, how much time people spend there now, how their kids demand that they go. It’s become a part of the community.” 

Although TaSH launched in 2015, plans for it had begun years earlier, when a different, much smaller, for-profit market was in existence. “It wasn’t growing in the way we wanted it to, so we worked with the village to take it over as a volunteer initiative,” Bordeaux recalls. It took four years to build the non-profit, called Rivertown Village Green Inc, and in the early years the market was considerably smaller, starting with perhaps 15 vendors. 

TaSH donated over 3,600 pounds of food to the Sleepy Hollow High School food
pantry in 2023.

Nowadays the roster includes some 100 possible vendors, with an average of 50 selling their wares in Patriots Park each week. The range of goods on offer is broad, all the products grown or crafted in New York State or within 100 miles. Healthy, sustainable, environmentally-sound, locally-sourced foods from small farms and producers have always been a priority, alongside the opportunity for growers and purchasers to interconnect. 

The result has been transformative. “It’s what we imagined,” Bordeaux says, “and there’ve been so many times that people come up to us and say, ‘This is where I spend my Saturdays.’ Or: ‘This is my happy place.’” 

“And the vendors have become a community, too,” says Sorrentino. “We have vendors who are cross-pollinating with each other. For example, one of our confectioners made jam from our sangria vendor’s sangria. So we’re building the community on multiple levels.” 

In addition, TaSH raises money through grants to fund food assistance programs, and generously doubles the value of SNAP benefits, currently matching up to $40, enabling recipients to spend $80 at the market. There’s also a partnership with Sleepy Hollow High School’s food pantry. Many of the market vendors donate their unsold food which, in 2023, amounted to 3,645 pounds of food, the equivalent of 3,037 meals. In addition, there’s a nutrition program for income-eligible mothers and seniors, an education program, and active clothing recycling 

All these elements contribute to the market’s special vibe, and stem directly from the founders’ intentionality. And all of it was celebrated on May 25, at the 10th anniversary picnic, an opportunity for the community to join in and break bread together, as well as a moment to share initiatives for the next 10 years, which include taking TaSH’s impact further. 

So, the market which ranks second in New York State, and features in the top 50 markets in America, is already at work on an even richer future. Sometimes dreams do come true. 

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About the Author: Elsbeth Lindner