A special thank you goes to:
Our Wakefield Farmers Market Volunteer Team members who helped with everything from setting up in the morning, breaking down at the end of the day, fetching the highway signs, staffing the manager tent table, handling the Market Bucks and EBT details, taking pictures, and doing research. Here are those who were able to help at least once, if not more or many times this season: Pamela Anderson, Dianna Boothe, Bill Chetwynd, Erin Cook, Debbie Gronback, Robin Greenberg, Doug Heath, Sue Mitchell, Mary Pasquale, Simone Payment, Sarah Lynne Reul, Jade La Rochelle, Alison Simcox, Missy Thomson, and Janice Williamson. I think that’s everyone!
NEWSFLASH: Lilac Hedge Farm is taking turkey orders! Just go to lilachedge.com to order your Turkey (or Pekin Duck or Ham) and pick it up in Melrose at the Indoor Harvest Market on November 19! They are also offering homemade side dishes made from local produce for your holiday meal cooking convenience!
ALSO, to keep those veggies coming, go to farmerdaves.net to sign up for a Late Fall Share of veggies from Farmer Dave’s!
Those at the market tent also helped guide folks through the process of accessing Healthy Initiative Program (HIP) benefits which became available via Farmer Dave’s in July. Thanks to the USDA and the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR), there was funding to help at least one farmer per farmers market get set up to provide HIP benefits to all those receiving a helping hand via SNAP. The process is simple: use your EBT card to purchase your produce from Farmer Dave’s (or any farmer set up to be a HIP provider) and get the cost credited back to your account up to your maximum monthly HIP benefit. Then come to the Market Manager Tent to get SNAP designated market bucks, and the match up to $10 in SNAP market bucks provided by WFM, to purchase your additional SNAP approved food items. While the market has been providing the match since we started accepting EBT and credit cards in 2013, the HIP program has enabled our market to help even more folks gain access to fresh produce as well as bring more business to Farmer Dave’s via HIP purchases. Additionally, this program benefits all our farmers and value-added vendors via additional monies available to our SNAP customers. A win-win for all.
For music, we were sad that the annual opening day Onset School of Music recital was rained out, but there is always next year! For this season, we enjoyed music by each of the following during at least one, if not multiple Saturdays: Betty’s Bounce, banjo/fiddle trio of Ed Britt, Don Borchelt, and John Maguire, Eddie Dee, Los Sugar Kings Duo, Amy Spillert, and new to our market this year, Gentle Temper and the Katrina Marie Band. We also enjoyed a visit from North Shore 104.9, known as “your hometown radio station on the FM dial,” and one morning we had Deborah Feinn of the Linden Tree Coffeehouse (LTC) as our DJ, sharing music by artists who have graced the LTC stage. When no live music was playing, we had excellent tunes from the farmers market soundtracks created by former Market Manager Kelli Stromski.
The Wakefield Farmers Market Music Program is sponsored by
Yarrow, of The Magic of Yarrow, came almost every week, even on some of the showery Saturdays, and we were glad to see Blake the Balloon Guy on the day he kindly filled in for Yarrow. We had our annual fun and educational visits from Curious Creatures and Drumlin Farms, and the Wakefield Beebe Pop-Up Library came once a month and were even able to provide storytelling a few times during the season.
Our nonprofit and civic guests are a big part of our market, too. Thank you to all who supported the efforts of the Friends of Beebe Library (Book Give-Away!), Friends of Lake Quannapowitt, the Jimmy Fund, Tonneson+Co for the Wakefield Interfaith Food Pantry, WMHS Alumni Foundation, Wakefield Educational Foundation, Wakefield Health Department/Mass in Motion/Wake-Up (bike helmets and flu shots!), Wakefield Human Rights Commission, and the Wakefield Independence Day Committee.
We were thrilled to introduce Suman Shah of Fork on a Road (forkonaroad.com), who took on the cooking demo “Try a Bite” program, creating easy, tasty, and nutritious recipes with an original flare each week using produce from our farmers. Check out our new Market Kitchen Website at wfmmarketkitchen.site, which you can also reach via a link our main wakefieldfarmersmarket.org website. For the recipe from our last market day of the season, click HERE.
The season was saved by Co-Manager Heather Tribe (in photo to left, with her son Orion, our “littlest volunteer), who had to take on a solo role as to market day on-site management for the rest of the season starting with the August 5 market day due to Co-Manager Wendy being injured in an accident that limited her to PR and other computer based organizational work. We are sad to now be saying goodbye to Heather because she is moving to Bangor ME. We will certainly miss her organizational, management, bookkeeping, and people skills! She hopes to visit and volunteer next season. Stay tuned: we will be looking to fill the Co-Manager and some key volunteer positions. All will be fun, rewarding, and look great on your resume.
A big thank you goes also to the Wakefield Item, which has always been integral to our market’s success. Thank you, Bob Burgess, for all your support, as well as to Donna Larsson for the great photos you take and share throughout the season.
A big thank you also to the Wakefield Health Department for their support via all the work behind vetting and granting permits to our vendors who offer baked goods and other prepared foods, Town Administrator Steve Maio and Executive Secretary Sherri Dalton for their ongoing support, the DPW for keeping Hall Park always tidy, and to the Board of Selectmen for granting the contract for use of Hall Park and the licenses for wine and hard cider sales. And, to the BOS in office in 2016, I send another thank you for the permission to install the shed at Hall Park! It has enabled the market to grow and thrive and is crucial to its long term success. Once the beautiful paint job fades, we will enlist another group of talented Wakefield High School art students to work their magic.
Coming Up: Our opening day for next season will be June 16, 2018. And, heads up, there is no Melrose-Wakefield winter market planed this year, but the Melrose/Sally Frank Farmers Market is doing an Indoor Harvest Market at Memorial Hall at 590 Main Street in Melrose on Sunday November 19 from 11:00 a.m. to-3:00 p.m. You will find many of our favorite vendors there, so be sure to stop by. And, to order your turkey from Lilac Hedge Farm that you can pick up at the 11/19 market, go to lilachedgefarm.com.
Check your inbox here and there because during our off season we will be sending occasional emails with news and updates, job descriptions for open manager and volunteer positions, information as to where you can find your favorite farmers and vendors, updates, general news, and/or actions you can take as to supporting local farms and farmers markets, as well as educational pieces about the Massachusetts Food Plan, MDAR, Mass Farmers Markets, Farmers Market Coalition, and other organizations that are working to strengthen our local food supply system and our access to produce, meats, and dairy from our local farmers. The bottom line is, of course, that it is all about the farmers. No farms, no food.
And, speaking of farmers, ours are the best! Thank you to Charlton Orchards, Farmer Dave’s, Flats Mentor Farm, Kelly’s Farm, Lilac Hedge Farm, and West River Creamery for growing and raising the food for our tables. We also have great specialty food and artisan vendors, too – thank you all for making scrumptious foods and beautiful and useful items for our homes.
Again, thank you to everyone who took part by shopping, volunteering, or even just hanging out on a Saturday morning – it takes a great community to make a great market!
The Wakefield Farmers Market runs RAIN OR SHINE (except in dangerous weather, e.g. lightning or hurricane conditions). The market opens at 9:00 a.m. and closes at 1:00 p.m. every Saturday, with the 2018 season running from June 16 through October 13. Please visit wakefieldfarmersmarket.org for a current listing of vendors, live music, and special events and to sign up for our email newsletter. See wfmmarketkitchen.site for our recipes! You can also find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr. See you at the Market!
Wendy Dennis and Heather Tribe