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Farmers' market treasurer provides information in response to City Council's queries

By Mike Pettinella

The treasurer of Genesee Country Farmers’ Market Inc., has responded quickly to the Batavia City Council’s request for more information about the organization as it looks to operate the market at the Alva Place parking lot beginning in June.

GCFM Treasurer Sharon Brent, of Schwab Farm Market in Gasport, sent an email to City Council this morning after being advised by Beth Kemp, director of the Batavia Downtown Business Improvement District, of issues that arose at Monday night’s Council meeting and were reported on The Batavian.

Brent wrote that she has been treasurer of the corporation for 15 years and uses the mailing address of P.O. Box 303, Gasport, NY, 14067 because that is the post office closest to her residence. She also said that the previous treasurer lived in Oakfield, and that’s why an Oakfield mailing address was listed.

She said all money collected from “stall rent” is used to pay a market manager, advertising, supplies, permits, postage and insurance.

Total income in 2018 was $28,526.65 and expenses were $27,406.32, leaving a net income of $1,120.33.

In 2019, the numbers were $25,857.05 and $25,946.05 for a net loss of $89.

“Any profits stay with the corporation and are used the next year for more advertising or other increased costs or saved for unknown expenses in the future,” she wrote, adding that the GCFM files IRS form 1120 each year.

Brent also pointed out changes in the operation of farmers’ markets this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic as issued by the state Department of Agriculture.

The current requirements are:

-- No forms of entertainment; no cooking demonstrations or sampling; no craft or non-food vendors, except soap or hand sanitizer; space out vendors as much as possible; minimize amount of food on display with customer access; increase the number of handwashing stations and make hand sanitizer available.

-- Manage customer traffic within the market to eliminate congregating and to promote social distancing. At this time masks must be worn by vendors and customers if social distancing cannot be kept.

-- Prepackage raw agricultural products such as apples, potatoes, onions, etc. to the extent possible. All baked goods must be prepackaged.

Brent wrote that board members are working on how to implement these guidelines and any changes that come.

The market is scheduled to be open on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from June 5 through Oct. 30.

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