The Central New York Regional Market Authority (CNYRMA) is a diverse and unique local food system resource, and has long been a staple for residents of Onondaga County and beyond. The Market has been open since 1938 and consists of five “sheds” packed with over 300 growers, producers, and other retailers on weekends year-round. During the week, several wholesalers operate out of the “commission houses,” including Russo Produce Company who supply food to the Syracuse City School District. It is the perfect place to shop for fresh food and locally-produced goods, eat hot donuts, and support our food system!

On Saturday, November 19, SOFSA members visited the Regional Market and were led on a guided tour by Amanda Vitale (Executive Director since 2020) and her father, Ben Vitale (previous Executive Director). The Vitale’s shared the history of the CNYRMA site, from its initial construction in the 1930s and the relocation of Sheds D and E from their original location at the Pearl Street Market, to the more recent building of Shed F in 2013. The father-daughter duo share a unique sense of pride in this history, stemming from Ben’s involvement with the Market since the early 1990’s and Amanda’s success in keeping the CNYRMA adaptable and resilient throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. As they led us through the sheds, which had been prepared for the long winter season, Amanda navigated the crowds of stalls and shoppers in the way that only an expert could. She effortlessly led us past tables stacked with Brussels sprouts sold by the stalk and fresh seafood spread over ice while pointing out several components of the market needing attention.  

The current state of the CNYRMA’s infrastructure is less than vibrant despite its status as a bustling hub for CNY producers and consumers. Amanda drew attention to part of the facade on the Administration Building that has fallen off; shed doors that are coated in decades of damage caused by salt spray from nearby I-81; and a critical lack of ADA compliance. These are the consequences of operating a lively market within infrastructure built in the 1930s. This market has seen nearly 85 years of use.

The Market experienced a facelift in the late 1990s, but repairs were limited by historic preservation laws and available funding for the project. This meant that windows in the Administration Building were replaced with uninsulated windows from the original 1930s manufacturer and the construction of certain ADA-compliant modifications were prohibited. Now, Amanda has crafted a strategic plan that will restore the historic CNYRMA structures and update facilities to include more bathrooms, improve fire suppression systems, become more ADA compliant, and provide opportunities for industry growth in the future. Her plan also includes increasing opportunities for community outreach and vendor collaboration. Amanda dreams of the Market eventually including a space for use by a food hall-style tenant, brewery, or distillery, complete with accessible outdoor seating.

In order to make all of these changes, the CNYRMA is in need of significant funding. Their status as a public benefit corporation means that while they are a State Authority, they receive no public money – the CNYRMA currently operates exclusively off of the rent paid by their tenants. So to implement Amanda’s strategic plan, the Market Authority will be seeking external funding in the coming years. At the upcoming SOFSA Open Meeting we will be presenting and voting on SOFSA’s 2023 policy priorities, including supporting the CNYRMA in advocacy work to secure funding.

Visit the CNYRMA during their year-round Saturday Farmers Market and Sunday Flea Market between 7am-2pm. To learn more about the CNYRMA and/or their strategic plan for the coming years, visit their website or contact via email ( 

To learn more about SOFSA’s policy priorities for 2023 and participate on voting these into action, be sure to attend our next Open Meeting via Zoom on January 19, 2023.