GOSHEN - John Lupinski Farms, one of the founders of the Goshen Farmers Market, won't be back this year.
Citing issues with new Goshen Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Barbara Martinez, John and Diana Lupinski say that after 27 years at the market, they now feel unwelcome.
Diana Lupinski, who managed the market for eight years, said she has “no hard feelings” toward the Chamber.
“John would probably go back,” she said. “I don't want to.”
Martinez declined to comment for this story, referring questions to Goshen Chamber of Commerce Board President Mark Kalish.
“This is an employment issue. Diana was the manager of the Goshen Farmers Market,” but is no longer an employee as of August, Kalish said. “We have a past employee who has privacy rights, and we just cannot discuss it.”
Martinez has done “an absolutely fantastic job” as executive director, Kalish said. “She has increased our membership dramatically over the last year.”
The Lupinskis said their Goshen sales made up about half of their business. They'll still sell at the Highland Falls market and operate their Community Supported Agriculture farm share.
Diana Lupinski said friction with Martinez started shortly after Martinez started her job in February 2019, and came to a head after Martinez “dismissed” another vendor from the market in late May. In an email provided by the Lupinskis, Martinez wrote that the vendor had been discourteous, cursed and created a hostile environment.
Diana Lupinski said she disagreed with Martinez's decision to ban the vendor from the property, a public park, during market hours.
On Aug. 6, Kalish dismissed Diana Lupinski from her job as market manager.
“I didn't have a reason why I was let go, other than it was easier to replace me than to replace her,” Diana Lupinski said.
Kalish told her John Lupinski was still welcome to sell at the market.
In an Aug. 7 letter, Martinez told Diana Lupinski that she was “not welcomed back“ to the market or allowed to set up for the rest of the season, and that "you are no longer welcomed to the property while the market is in operation.”
John Lupinski Farms was moved farther back in the market for the rest of the season.
On Jan. 24, the Chamber sent out 2020 vendor applications "to every other vendor but us,” John Lupinski said.
So Diana Lupinski posted Feb. 8 on Facebook to say the farm won't be at the market in 2020, and airing her issues with Martinez. Some responses to the post have called on the Chamber to investigate the matter.
“I can tell you that none of this was a unilateral decision,” Kalish said. “Prior to the decision, there was significant deliberation ... there's no need to review something that was already reviewed.”