The town board voted unanimously this week to okay the project, said Councilman Jim Wooten.
"I support the concept to once again showcase the beautiful atmosphere that our downtown business district offers, as well as give residents and visitors an alternative way to shop, and to utilize a building that has been abandoned for decades by an absentee landlord," Wooten said Thursday. "I look forward to breathing some new life into this new block on the south side of Main."
Holly Browder, of Browder's Birds in Southold, came before the Riverhead town board last week to discuss the plan, along with Ray Pickersgill, president of the Riverhead Business Improvement District.
The idea for the indoor farmers' market in Riverhead was born after a similar venture in Sag Harbor didn't materialize this year. The goal, Browder said, is to bring those vendors, from all across the East End, to a Riverhead location.
The Riverhead Farmers' Market will be located at 117 East Main Street, in the old Swezey's building directly across from the Suffolk Theater, and will be open on Saturdays from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m., from Feb. 1 through May 17.
"This is a unique attraction we could test out," Pickersgill said.
"It fits in with the goal of promoting East End tourism past November," Browder added. "We small farmers need to make money year-round."
"Chickens lay eggs all year," Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter noted.
Some of the local products available will be eggs from Browder's Birds, wine from Borghese Vineyard in Cutchogue, donuts and other baked goods from Ginger Goods in East Marion, cheese fromGoodale Farms in Riverhead, cheese and pork from Mecox Bay Dairyin Water Mill, Amy's Ark Hummus from Westhampton Beach, Kalypso Greek Yogurt, Lulu Knits, fibers, yarn and skin products from Long Island Livestock, coffee from Long Island Coffee Roasters, pickled products and jellies from A Taste of the North Fork, potted plants from Greenhouse Affect/Garden Fusion in East Marion, Blue Duck Bakery products, and goods from Garden of Eve in Riverhead, to name a few.
Browder said just because snow is on the ground, it doesn't mean farmers have closed up shop. "There are greenhouses," she said.
"We want to bring everyone to the greatest town on the East End," Walter said.
"We had our first meeting last Wednesday and it took off like a freight train," said Chris Kempner, director of the Riverhead Community Development Agency.
If the idea takes off, down the line, the next step would be to acquire funding to create a more permanent indoor farmers' market, Kempner said.
The building will have electric baseboard heating; the BID will pay electric and rent, Pickersgill said.