Outdoor markets close, indoor ones to open

Some winter farmers markets are poised to open, as the bounty of fresh fruits, vegetables and other local goods offered during the summer’s outdoor markets draws to a close. This year’s outdoor farmers markets in Merrimack, Bedford, Milford, Amherst and elsewhere were well attended.

According to the New Hampshire Farmers Market Assoc., NHFMA.net, a variety of winter farmers markets will take place in the region.

The Milford Winter Farmers Market at Milford Town Hall on the Milford Oval will run the first and third Saturdays of the month, starting Nov. 8. The exception is in February when the market is held on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month. A summer market held on Saturdays at Granite Town Plaza off Elm Street preceded the move indoors.

Vegetables, dairy, maple products, honey, soups, locally roasted coffee and handcrafted wild bird feeders are among the Milford offerings, as is live music at the indoor venue. More information is available by calling 345-8060 or visiting online: milfordnhfarmersmarket.com.

The Peterborough Farmers Market, held throughout the year from 3-6 p.m. on Wednesday afternoons at the Peterborough Community Center, 25 Elm Street, continues to draw those intent on securing a share of the region’s baked goods, farm-raised meats and craft items made by locals. More information is available by email: peterboroughfarmersmarket@gmail.com.

The Salem Farmers Market is operational from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., on Sundays from Nov. 24 through May at the Lake Street Garden Center, 37 Lake Street. All the seasonal delights, including vegetables, baked goods, honey and local meats, will be offered. More information is available by email: salemfarmersmarket@comcast.net or online: salemfarmersmarket.org.

Merrimack’s Farmers Market was a success during the summer. It continued bringing fresh, local goods to the public at its outdoor market, an expanded enterprise that offered through Wednesday, Oct. 15, a wealth of local goods.

The Merrimack market was held 3-6 p.m. in the parking lot at Vault Motor Storage, 526 Daniel Webster Highway. The venue, formerly Zyla’s discount center, was a new one for the market, an enterprise held last year at a less visible location across the street and down a hill at the parking lot near the Tractor Supply Co.

Market manager Bob McCabe, said the move from across the street at The Commons shopping center dramatically increased customer visitations and enticed 19 vendors to participate at the new location.

McCabe, a longtime resident of Merrimack and a member of Merrimack’s agriculture commission, added that Vault Motor Storage, owned by local businessman Charlie Morgan, is located along the highway and is well marked with a new red-and-black illuminated sign. It is probable that thousands of shoppers over the course of the summer season patronized the market. Produce, vegetables, farm-raised meats and fowl, baked goods and more filled their shopping bags.

“On one of our Wednesdays, just before school began, we had around 400 people come through here,” McCabe said. “Lots of them were newcomers.”

The use of the Vault property, an enterprise offering secure indoor storage of motor homes, motorcycles, autos, RVs and boats was offered after a meeting with farmers market organizers and Morgan, who also owns other storage facilites. The property formerly was the home of Zyla’s discount center. New landscaping, lighting and a freshly resurfaced parking lot now grace the site.

“We are grateful to have Charlie’s support,” McCabe said. “We have so much here that is locally grown or raised or produced by farmers, bakers, beekeepers, cheese makers and other local artisans.”

Merrimack vendor Don Miner, owner of the Miner Family Farm, 82 Peaslee Road, was on hand at the Merrimack market and others. He offers pork, beef, chicken, lamb and eggs that are farm raised by him and his family. A flock of 31 turkeys is testament to his entrepreneurship. In addition, a couple hundred chickens, more than a dozen sheep, cows and steers kept elsewhere add to his inventory.

“We did well in Merrimack this year,” Miner said. “The new location offers great exposure. A lot more people came in to shop. They could see the vendors’ tents, right alongside the road, and it was easy to drive in here and park.”

Miner takes few breaks during the year. He sells his wares from his farm location, by appointment, during the cold weather. In addition, he will attend winter markets in Peterborough and in Salem.

“Everything I sell, I generate on my property,” Miner said. “I’m raising what I sell.”

A dozen of Miner’s eggs found a gentle cradle in the arms of Merrimack shopper Madison Reed-Mortenson, 6, a student at Thornton’s Ferry Elementary School in Merrimack. Her mother, Heather, said Madison was encouraged at school to visit the market and learn more about fresh fruits and vegetables.

Madison added that she visited at the pet-friendly, Merrimack market with a pup that is the pet of Christine Lavoie, an advocate for the Merrimack Dog Park, whose future location in Wasserman Park is a work in progress. Trees have been cleared and fundraising continues. Lavoie encourages pet lovers to Like the group on Facebook at Friends of the Merrimack Dog Park. More details are online: www.merrimackdogpark.com.

Shopper Elizabeth Simoneau, of Manchester, smiled at the dog and made her way to a booth operated at the Merrimack market by Tom Mitchell, owner of Ledge Top Farm, 487 Center Rd., in Wilton. There, she selected her choice of veggies from mounds of tomatoes, potatoes, greens and squash.

“I drive by going to work and from work,” Simoneau said. “This is a perfect location. I purposely come the back way because I know the market will be here on Wednesdays. I come this way on purpose.”

A new vendor this year to the Merrimack market was Adam Pitarys, owner of Sucker Brook Farm in Hollis. He and fellow farmer Justine Glover, also of Hollis, welcomed customers seeking ripe, red peppers, onions, butter-and-sugar corn and similar delights.

Pitarys said he owns 93 laying hens and two cows. He will start some of his produce from seeds sowed as early as March. He said that farming has been a passion entertained over the years by many in his family.

“It’s in my blood,” said Pitarys.

For more information on the Merrimack Farmers Market, contact Merrimack market manager Bob McCabe by calling 759-2737.

Bedford residents and those from many other towns found surpluses of fresh vegetables, farm-raised lamb and chicken, hearth-baked breads, local honey and other delights throughout the summer at the Bedford Farmers Market.

The Bedford Farmers Market was held Tuesdays, 3-6 p.m. through Oct. 14, at its weekly headquarters, St. Elizabeth Seaton parish parking lot, 190 Meetinghouse Road in Bedford.

Every Tuesday afternoon brought enticements for young and old. Live entertainment, children’s activities, raffles and contests were held. Throughout the summer, market organizers also donate a Morgan’s Basket, a basket of market goods to a Bedford family facing some kind of life challenge alleviated by a show of good cheer. The basket commemorates a young woman who died from cancer at age 21.

The season for the Bedford farmers market began on June 17. Visitors returned often to pursue their cravings for locally produced goods ranging from fresh eggs and goat’s milk to cut flowers, artisan-baked, gluten-free breads and maple syrup.

Kris Mossey is one who was on hand at the farm stand representing McLeod Bros. Orchards, an enterprise located at 749 North River Road in Milford. Her mother is the owner of the farm. Mossey is active with the New Hampshire Farmers Market Association (nhfma.net), a group promoting the art and science of farming and locally grown items of many kinds.

Mossey said it was a great season at the farmers market.

“This is a beautiful market,” Mossey said. “The shoppers are very supportive and we’ve increased the number of vendors, so we’ve been able to grow the market as well.”

Some of the Tiller family, of Merrimack, stopped by the Bedford market to inspect ripe, red apples and decorative gourds. Kim Tiller and her youngsters, Ty, 12, Jacob, 8, and Zachary, 5, sat on the pavement for a front-row seat as a pair of musicians from Back to the Garden performed guitar songs and vocals.

A schedule of performers included Lollipop the Clown, Pammy the Balloon Twister, a celebrity impersonator resembling Capt. Jack Sparrow and many others with talent.

“We come every week for the music,” said Tiller. “Then, we buy things to take home. This week, it’s milk from a farm and fresh berries.”

Sue Stretch, of Bedford, is the owner of Laurel Hill Jams & Jellies. She greeted most customers by name. Nearby her booth was the booth of Karen Steuer, of Lyndeborough, the force behind Hemlock Springs Soaps. A lavender-scented cake of organic ingredients drew rave reviews. Stretch also directed some novice shoppers to the booth of G3 Baking, where owner Bob Gehling offered gluten-free cookies, muffins and cupcakes, in addition to maple brownies.

More than 40 vendors at the Bedford market presented their goods throughout the season. Folks stopped by a table where they signed up for a weekly raffle that offered a prize of a $25 gift certificate to Carrabba’s Italian Grill in Bedford. Some of the action was captured on occasion by staffers from BCTV, the town’ cable television.

Others at the Bedford market showed their support by purchasing for $10 a sturdy fabric market bag emblazoned with an attractive logo touting the market. More information on the Bedford Farmers Market is available by calling 759-2019 or online: www.bedfordfarmersmarket.org.