Officials Consider Relocating New Canaan Farmers Market from Center School Lot

With an eye on giving downtown New Canaan businesses a boost, town officials say they’re thinking about shifting the popular Farmers Market to a more central location.

The parking lot behind Town Hall is one possible future location of the New Canaan Farmers Market. Credit: Michael Dinan

The idea of hosting the Saturday market in one of the lots behind Town Hall had come up about six years ago, but the prospect of an extensive capital project there helped put it on hold, according to First Selectman Rob Mallozzi.

With that project finished and signals from some local merchants that they’re interested, Mallozzi said he’s ready to reopen the conversation.

“I like the idea of having the Farmers Market in town and I agree absolutely that any foot traffic we can derive from having it a couple of blocks closer to town is a good thing,” he said.

With approval from the town, the Farmers Market is slated to open Saturday, April 22 in its longtime location—the Center School parking lot off Maple Street. It isn’t clear who this year’s vendors will be—the market manager, Lexi Gazy, could not be reached for comment.

Officials say possible future locations include the Town Hall or Playhouse parking lots. The market runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Tucker Murphy, executive director of the New Canaan Chamber of Commerce, said she expects many people to resist the prospect of a change in location. Even so, the New Canaan Library is expected to be under construction at some point for a period of years during its widely anticipated rebuilding project, which may take away some parking in the area of the Center School lot.

“I think anything that can draw traffic on a Saturday morning to town—albeit briefly, for few hours in the morning—I think it’s a good thing. Because right now what happens is, people go to the Farmers Market and you get your mozzarella sitting in your car and it’s hot and you just go home. Whereas if you can park in town, go do your banking, buy your shoes, do whatever you have to do, then run to the Farmers Market and do it all in one fell swoop, seems to me like it’s a no-brainer.”

17 thoughts on “Officials Consider Relocating New Canaan Farmers Market from Center School Lot

  1. If Tucker Murphy likes the idea of another location for the Farmers Market, then I am in favor too. She understands. We are so fortunate having her head the Chamber of Commerce. Peggy Jay

  2. The Farmers’ Market is perfect where it is. Don’t mess with something that is working so well. Putting it behind Town Hall just adds congestion to an already crowded Saturday morning parking situation. The great location on South Avenue draws people into the center of New Canaan where they will shop after buying their fresh corn and bread.

  3. This is silly. The Center Parking Lot is a central location (hence the name!).

    Moving the Farmer’s Market to behind Town Hall will not accomplish anything other than to make it harder to find and reduce the amount of available parking.

    This is a foolish idea and should be abandoned.

  4. I completely agree with George Baker — leave the Farmers’ Market where it is … it works fine for the farmers and it works fine for the customers — don’t they come first!
    Putting it somewhere behind Town Hall would make it out of sight and out of mind and they would lose customers and business.
    It’s also a cheap shot to spring this idea again at the last minute just before the Market starts. And the library crowding argument is a specious one — we will have a tiered parking lot in New Canaan before any new library building even gets going.

  5. Why change something that is already highly successful at it’s current location? There is plenty of space for the “farmers” to set up their stands and ample parking. It’s a simple shopping experience as compared to downtown where you have to battle for a parking spot and worry if you are going to get a ticket.

  6. Why not split the difference? Hold it in the Morse Court lot. This is right off of Elm and Main closer to the shops and, the Elm and 124 intersection…

  7. Craig,
    We can’t afford to give up the Morse Court lot parking. That lot is critical for Elm & Main street businesses and their patrons.

    • You also could not afford to give up the Park St Lot “pass through”
      to Main St which would surely need to happen to secure the safety of those walking around the farmers market.

  8. moving the farmers market into town will help everyone. the current location is cumbersome, the traffic backs up, people crossing south ave. requiring a policeman to direct the cars etc. in town there is plenty of parking with multiple entrances and exits. as to parking there is plenty of parking on saturday, the train station is free, all the lots are empty, no one is working at town hall. i think the market will be even more successful because more people will have better access to the market and to the downtown.

    • Typical Pauline Dora view only looking out for herself … none of the stuff she says above is true. If we polled Farmers’ Market shoppers, i would suspect that 90+% would say they are happy where it is and don’t want it moved!
      The traffic tie is minimal at Center School lot … and people coming and going on South Ave. can easily see that the market it on.

  9. Out of sight, out of mind….move the Farmer’s Market out of sight and I will forget it is there. In fact, the Farmer’s Market is the only reason I go to town on a summer weekend. I can get my mozzarella, tomatoes, bread and veggies at Stew Leonard’s plus a whole lot more. I can pick up a birthday gift in Westport or Norwalk on the same trip, and spend less money in total. It’s easier to run up Rts 7 and 15 than go around the pop up park that closes one of the main accesses to our town. I’ll come back to town in September….I love our town but don’t make it more difficult. Plus Stews is open at 7:30 am so I can beat the crowds and get home in time to do things with family and friends.

  10. In an attempt to stick to the facts I would like to clarify some of the commentary about the idea of a possible move of the Farmer’s Market.
    1. No one is suggesting we do this at this time, we are just having a discussion about it so the comment about it being a
    cheap shot” to do it right as the market is about to open is wrong and disrespectful
    2. The fact is the market could (underscore COULD) be forced to move in future years when the Library project starts depending on what their final plan is. The Library is still working on designs and drawings so once that is finalized we can determine what impact that will have on the Center School Lot. Bear in mind, St. A’s and Merritt Village will also be under construction at the same time.
    3. Center Parking Lot is actually called Center School Parking lot because Center School once stood in its place
    4. I am unaware of any tiered parking that will be completed in NC within the next year or two??? Please let me know if this is incorrect
    5. The “pass through” behind town hall and Park St/Outback lots is important to traffic flow and I agree, should not be closed. It was closed for a year and a half during the town hall construction however.

    Finally, it is my sincere hope that while we may not always agree and at times might have to agree to disagree, can’t we have a discussion without such personal assaults? For some that may not be possible……

  11. To all of Tucker’s points, we would request that for any future meetings with Town officials and/or CC and merchants, that representatives for the farmers and Farmers’ Market shoppers be informed about these meetings and invited to attend.
    These are two groups with a strong vested interest in the market and where it is placed in Town. There inclusion is not unreasonable.
    Does anyone disagree?

  12. Is there really any need to move our successful farmer’s market? I don’t see it. Before the market was in place, the Center School lot was virtually empty on weekends, so a strong point has always been: the market, where it is, doesn’t take away ANY downtown store parking. That simply cannot be said for any of the alternatives now being floated. Over time, I’ve seen the market thrive where it is. I also don’t quite get the comment about people not wanting to keep mozzarella in a hot car — that assumes everybody comes to the market first, and then, with fresh food in a hot car, must sadly, reluctantly dash away. I’ve never done that — I think more people do shopping in town, have lunch, and then hit the market when they’re done. Just watch any Saturday — people walk TO the market. As a former Center Schooler, I know all too well that it’s town-owned property; development of the not-town-owned Library and the not-town-owned Merritt Village and the not-town-owned St. Aloysius should have little or no bearing on how our lot gets used for 4 hours , one day a week, in warm weather months.

  13. Best would be to have Farmer’s Market on a temporarily shut-down Elm Street, and have central parking be for, well, parking. Certainly people would not only do their Marekt shopping but also do more twon shopping…
    Second best would perhaps be to allocate half of the unused (weekends)Train Station’s parking lot to Sellers/Stalls, while allowing the other half to remain for customer parking…being at the top of Elm Street, certainly could also be attractive to local businesses, and also very easy and attractive for non-resident’s to pop into town.

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