This past Tuesday, I traded my weekly Wegmans run for College Night at the Westside Farmers Market, which takes place in the parking lot of St. Monica’s Church on Genesee Street, about five or so blocks away from the footbridge. The market includes vendors from within 50 miles of the church to ensure that all of the items are locally grown/made. As a Genesee St. resident, this wasn’t my first time at the market, but I was excited to see the special events included for College Night.
College Night included a free tote, a raffle ticket for gift cards to the market or Barnes & Noble, and a $3 coupon. If you’re weird like my roommates and I, you could post a picture of yourself in the available vegetable and fruit costumes to get a $5 credit for the market. You could also be boring, not wear them and post anything on social media to get the voucher.
As usual, I was pleased with the variety of selection at the market, which included multiple produce stands (one of which had hard ciders for those over 21), a bread stand, a pickle stand, a vegan bakery, and more. There’s also a stand for bikes, which offers minor repairs for free.
Additionally , there were live performances by college groups that typically appear at the market. First, there was Eastman’s string quartet, which really elevated the atmosphere. Trebellious then performed a set that got the crowd going. I don’t use the term “crowd” lightly; the turnout for college students was really something. It was great to see people again, especially students interacting directly with the community.
Overall, it was really nice to see people out and about and actively engaged with the community. The event felt organized and put together, and there were students from Eastman, Brockport, and Monroe Community College as well. The market encourages students to learn about the community and support small businesses — here’s something really important about students supporting their community as much as it supports us. The vendors at the market are friendly and deeply care about what they do. The market is completely volunteer run, and it’s obvious that despite all the work it takes, it’s a labor of love. The work that these people are doing — providing fresh and local produce and food for the community — is really important. If students continue to engage with the market, it will not only serve them, but all of Rochester.