This week is the last Farmers' Market of the season. I know I will miss it over the winter.
Have you not visited yet because you wouldn't know what to do with yourself at a farmers' market? If you find yourself in the same supermarket aisle picking the same familiar fruits and vegetables because you know how they taste and you know how to cook, surprise yourself and your family. Be adventurous and try something new. I discovered tomatillos and cousa this year. They looked interesting, I never saw them before, and the people at the market were more than happy to share recipes (find Cindy's tomatillo salsa recipe here.
The Market Table has a board where you will find lots of recipe cards that you are welcome to take home.
Come early, as some things tend to sell out quickly (kale from Dick's Market Garden and eggs from Shady Pine Farms come to mind). Bring your reusable shopping bag. Chat with the vendors. Try samples. Forget your shopping list and buy whatever catches your eyes. Listen to the music.
The Farmers' Market is also a place to catch up with people you have not seen in a while. I have met my elder son's kindergarten teacher and a few 'old' friends whom I have not talked to in ages. It was nice to catch up.
Then there are the obvious reasons why shopping at the local farmers' market is a good thing: you support small local businesses; produce is freshly picked early in the morning so you get the best quality; no unnecessary packaging is used - less trash in the landfill (Rick from Beverly Farms Soapwerks uses compostable wrapping for his soaps); produce is transported only a short distance, so fuel and energy costs are minimal; seasonal organic produce is better for our health and has better flavor.
A Farmers' Market does not appear out of thin air. Heather MacDonald and Cindy Chabot are the Co-Market Managers who meet with volunteers during fall and winter to plan for the following year. This includes contacting farmers and other vendors, soliciting donations from local businesses, and discussing location and other details with the Park Commission. Without volunteers, the market could not be as successful as it is. Every week, volunteers set up market tents/tables/chairs, take down, put out and take in signs around the city, update the website, create the newsletter, post on Facebook and Twitter, account for the Market Money, and coordinate the volunteers. It literally takes a community to put together a farmersʼ market! If you are willing to donate some of your time next year, please contact Cindy at email@example.com or 781-258-9635.
Visit the Market Table and have a look at the information board. You will get to know everybody who was involved with the market this year, and maybe one of the 'job' description piques your interest for next year.
The Sally Frankʼs Farmersʼ Market is a non-proﬁt (501(c)3) organization . We are a member of the Melrose Community Coalition as well as the Massachusetts Farmers Markets. The Melrose Community Coalition is a Melrose community of non-proﬁts whose members consist of Melrose Arts (MACA), School Smarts, Donate Life Melrose, and Excellence in Education. Other participating organizations of the Melrose Community Coalition are the Melrose Chamber of Commerce, Hallmark Health, Melrose Alliance Against Violence , City of Melrose Health Department, Melrose Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition, Mass. in Motion, Melrose Human Rights Commission, MMTV, many of which you might find at the market providing valuable information and advice.