Spring is here again, and with it are the area's local farmers markets.
However, there will be some new wrinkles at the locations this year, which should keep things fresh for shoppers.
Perhaps most notably, the farmers market in Johnstown has a new location.
Clayton Wilson, seated, talks with customer Shadrach Geisler of Fultonville, holding his son, Ian Geisler, at the new Fonda Farmers Market on Thursday, its opening day.
The Leader-Herald/Bill Ackerbauer
Anne-Marie Johnson, the president of the Fulton-Montgomery Farmer's Market Association - which runs the markets in Johnstown, Gloversville and Amsterdam, said the new location at a city parking lot, adjacent to Sir William Johnson Park, is a better location for some people. Some, particularly the elderly and people with young children, found last year's location on North Perry Street a little difficult walk across the parking lot to get to.
"[The new location] is more of a community setting now," Johnson said.
The Johnstown market runs on Tuesdays, starting May 22, from 3 to 6 p.m.
Gloversville - On Saturdays, 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., at the Elm Street pavilion.
Johnstown - On Tuesdays, 3 to 6 p.m., parking lot adjacent to Sir William Johnson Park. Market starts May 22.
Fonda - On Thursdays, 4 to 7 p.m., corner of Bridge and Park?Street.
Amsterdam - On Wednesdays, 3 to 6 p.m., at the Sanford Farms complex on?Route 30.
The sense of community at the farmers markets is what caused her to join the organization as a vendor last year.
Unlike supermarkets, Johnson said, the producer who raised the food is there to answer any questions customers have.
"[The market] is an asset for the community," Johnson said. "People can support the local economy and eat healthier."
At the Amsterdam market last year - which is held at the Sanford Farms complex on Route 30 across from St. Mary's Healthcare's Amsterdam Memorial campus - Johnson said she noticed how much livelier the location seemed once they added live music halfway through the year.
"What a change," she said.
This year, for the first time, live music will be at all of the markets.
"It creates a wonderful atmosphere for the event," Johnson said.
The Amsterdam market starts Wednesday, and runs Wednesdays from 3 to 6 p.m.
The association also has a new vendor lined up who will sell prepared foods, such as eggplant parmesan, which are ready for the dinner table.
Johnson said some customers will find it nice to have the option to purchase food that is ready to be taken home and consumed, especially after a long day.
"It's a nice addition," she said.
The new market manager, Deena Sisco, also will be doing children's activities and cooking demonstrations at the Gloversville market - at the Elm Street pavilion between Spring and Church streets - and the Johnstown market when it has music.
Sisco - who is involved in running Chick and Hen Baking Company in Bleecker, which also will sell prepared foods - said children will be able to participate in activities such as planting a seed in a cup or coloring at a craft table that will be setup for them.
Sisco also will take food from vendors at the markets and turn it into a meal. Customers will get to sample the food, and get another idea of how to turn food from the market into a delicious dish. She will post the recipe she uses at Gloversville on the company's Facebook page and website - chickandhenbakingcompany.com.
"We're trying to give people something more to do," Sisco said. "We're giving them a reason to linger more."
The market in Gloversville, which has started, runs on Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
For more information, visit the Fulton-Montgomery Farmer's Market Association's website at www.fultonmontgomeryfarmersmarket.org
There also will be a new farmers market this year in Fonda, and it is not be managed by the association.
The market will be on the corner of Bridge and Park streets at the Fonda Dairy Bar. The market will run on Thursdays from 4 to 7 p.m.
Curdie Gardner, a former market manager with the Fulton-Montgomery Farmer's Market Association, said she felt the area could use another market, and the village in particular could use a place offering people food.
"We have a great location across from the Fonda Fairground," she said.
In addition to the locally grown food, musical acts are lined up to provide entertainment.
"Basically, it's great fun to do on a Thursday evening," Gardner said.
For more information, visit the Fonda Farmers Market website at www.fondafarmersmarket.com, visit its Facebook page, or call Gardner at 775-7844.