Donna McKeown is an eight-year resident of Port Jefferson and a cookie maker. In the first year of the Port Jefferson Farmers Market, McKeown was there selling her cookie called "The Junkie," filled with pretzels, potato chips, bittersweet chocolate, coffee and marshmallows. She made this decadent delight from her home-based business, D.K. Cookie Company.
This year, she has moved from vendor to manager of this year’s Farmers Market and predicts that it will be bigger and better than ever.
McKeown has two young children, Seamus, 5, who is in Kindergarten at and Annie Grace, 3, is in preschool. She worked as a buyer in New York City for many years but says she is now in sales and marketing at a company in Setauket.
Between dedicating her time to work and her kids, the homemade cookie business as just too demanding but McKeown says she likes to be part of community.
"I dont do this alone," she stressed.
She gets lots of help from two other dedicated locals, Amanda Eckart and Jane Parker, who is her co-manager.
We sat down with McKeown to ask a few questions about the third season of the Port Jefferson Farmers Market that opens on Sunday in the parking lot between of and the .
What is the job of the Farmers Market manager?
As the market manager, I help organize the set up and break down of the market on Sundays. I work on seeking out new vendors, schedule music, events and activities and act as a go to person for both the vendors and patrons of the market.
This is the third year of the Farmers Market. Seems like a success. How is the success being measured?
We have many repeat vendors, most of which have experience in more established markets and their positive feedback assures us that we are continuing to be just as successful. In addition, we are having more and more vendors seeking us out to be part of the Port Jefferson Market.
Positive feedback from the community is the ultimate measure of success and that is the goal each and every week.
How many people visit the Farmers Market every year approximately?
Each Week we have approximately 400 to 500 people visit our market, this increases each year and even each week.
Is there a dollar amount of money raised from last year's event? If so where does the money go?
The 1st year was our “trial year” and we did not collect fees from the vendors, it was a real tight squeeze to pull it off. Last year we implemented a nominal vendor fee to attend the market. All monies collected goes back to support the market.
We do not profit from this market, its there for the betterment of the community. Any additional funds leftover would go to the Economic Development Council who sponsors the market and in turn back into the community. This year we are looking for sponsors. We are reaching out to local businesses who might like to sponsor the market and in return advertise their business. If your organization or local business is interested in becoming a sponsor please contact Donna McKeown At (917) 865-6249 or Barbara Sakovich at (631) 473-4724 at Village Hall.
What does a space cost for a weekend (if someone was interested in reserving one)?
The fee is $200 for the Season for a 10 by 10 tent. We offer a half season, which is $100 and vendors, must commit to at least five Sundays.
What vendors are returning this year and which ones have been there (if any) from day one?
Returning vendors include Condzella Farm, Stan Pat Farm, Beaverdam Organic Farm, Biophilia Organic Farm, Pickle Packin Papa, Hidden Ridge Farm, Blue Duck Bakery, Coach Farm, Sweet Melissa’s Dips, Kerri's Kupkakes, Bambino Ravioli.. Some new vendors include: Polka Dot Pound Cake, Goodale Farms, R&M Andrews & Son, Bobby's Tomatoes, Monty Bread, Delpozzo food, Palantine Valley Dairy.
What can people expect this year? Anything new and exciting?
We have a great line up of Musicians scheduled each Sunday. In addition this year will be having other events such as food demonstrations, science and educational activities for kids, music programs, arts and crafts. We are still seeking out special events to fill the calendar so if anyone is interested in participating they can contact me at (917) 865-6249.
What makes it bigger and better than ever?
For the reasons listed above and the many new vendors, on site managers and Farmers Market Event Tent, more advertising and signage. This all helps in getting the word out.
We look forward to a great season and we thank all of our vendors, old and new who participate and the community for its support and patronage!