The Regional Market off Park Street is one of the largest retail areas in central New York that I’m of the opinion many people don’t know about. Even with that, come to the area on a Saturday morning and it can be so crowded that you might end up parking your car so far away that you’re closer to Alliance Stadium than the marketplace.

That’s because Saturday mornings are what’s known as Farmer’s Market time, where people from around the community and some parts beyond come to hawk their wares. There are fruits and vegetables, baked goods, clothes, scents, and all sorts of goodies being sold. You want fresh fish, it’s there. You want to buy old video tapes and newer DVDs; they’re there. You want honey, or want books on religion of all types, or football and baseball jerseys, they’re there. And the prices are cut rate; if you’re looking for savings this is the place to go.

It is with part of this intention in mind that I went there last Saturday, alone for the first time as my wife had to work. I went because I wanted to buy some fresh baby spinach, as the prices have gone up at the local store and my wife, earlier in the season, was able to buy 3 pound bags of spinach for around $5; that’s a steal!

Unfortunately, I learned that by myself I have no idea what spinach looks like when compared to any other green leafy vegetable, and thus I didn’t see any spinach, and the couple of people I asked about it didn’t have any. But I looked at everything through 5 covered areas and 4 uncovered areas, which are only used in the summer when the weather’s good. In this case it was good and hot, and I’d have hated to be the people marketing their wares outside, although it seems the selling only goes until 1PM or so.

Everyone is really friendly and there’s plenty to see, including cute babies, ladies wearing little (well, it was hot), and people wearing some very colorful outfits; seems it’s a place to be seen as well. In some of the buildings there are permanent little shacks set up where people are selling things like donuts, pizza, coffee, hotdogs, and a lot of other things. Truthfully, if you’re in a spending mood and you come with $50, you could walk away with your hands full after a couple of trips, depending on what you buy.

For me, my day ended with only one purchase, and it was some fudge. I went to the usual spot but obviously I hadn’t been to the market in a long time because someone else was selling fudge in that area. Still, I got to taste a bit of key lime pie fudge, which I wasn’t overly impressed with, but I’ve tasted other fudge in the past so I knew the rest was good. I ended up buying chocolate mint fudge, which was great, although I also ended up eating it fairly fast once I got home because I’d left it in the car when I stopped for breakfast at Julie’s Diner and, well, it pretty much liquified in that hour; I did say it was hot outside, as it hit 97° that day. But it was very tasty and I know I’ll be back for more.

Yes, those are swords!

I do want to get to more about the Regional Market area because there’s more than just the Farmer’s Market. There’s a restaurant that serves breakfast and lunch. There’s a bank, a gift shop, and some other stores there as well. There’s even a Wendy’s if you want traditional fast food. And I was told that some of the people who market things on Saturdays store foods there at the Regional Market and will often sell you goods on off days if the price is right; I can’t confirm that one however.

Anyway, it was a great time, and I also got to see how the parking area around the Regional Transportation Center is totally chopped up right now, leaving me wondering where travelers are parking their cars these days, since I know they didn’t cancel bus service. If you’ve never been, go!

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