After successful summer season, local farmers markets moving indoors

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.

Outdoor farmers markets in Amherst, Merrimack, Milford, Bedford and elsewhere were well attended this year.

According to the New Hampshire Farmers Market Association (nhfma.net), a variety of winter farmers markets will be open in the region.

MERRIMACK: The Merrimacks 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 was offered a wealth of local goods through Oct. 15.

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 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 facilities. 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. 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 cold weather. In addition, he will attend winter markets in Peterborough and 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 said 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. Information: 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 Road, Wilton. She selected 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.”

A new vendor this year 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 farming has been a passion entertained over the years by many in his family.

“It’s in my blood,” Pitarys said.

Information about the Merrimack Farmers Market: Call McCabe at 759-2737.

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

Vegetables, dairy, maple products, honey, soups, locally roasted coffee and handcrafted wild bird feeders will be among the offerings, and there will be live music. Information: 345-8060, milfordnhfarmersmarket.com.

BEDFORD: 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.

The Bedford Farmers Market was held 3-6 p.m. Tuesdays through Oct. 14 in the St. Elizabeth Seaton Church parking lot, 190 Meetinghouse Road.

Every Tuesday 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 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 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 was on hand at the stand representing McLeod Bros. Orchards, an enterprise located at 749 North River Road, Milford. Her mother is the owner of the farm. Kris Mossey is active with the New Hampshire Farmers Market Association, 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,” Tiller said. “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.

Near 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’s cable television station. Others at the Bedford market showed their support by paying $10 for a sturdy fabric bag emblazoned with an attractive logo touting the market.

Information about the Bedford Farmers Market: 759-2019 or www.bedfordfarmers
market.org.

PETERBOROUGH: The Peterborough Farmers Market, held throughout the year from 3-6 p.m. Wednesdays at the Peterborough Community Center, 25 Elm St., continues to draw those intent on securing baked goods, farm-raised meats and craft items made by locals. Information:
peterboroughfarmersmarket@gmail.com.

SALEM: The Salem Farmers Market will be operational from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sundays from Nov. 24 through May at the Lake Street Garden Center, 37 Lake St. All of the seasonal delights, including vegetables, baked goods, honey and local meats, will be offered. Information: salemfarmersmarket@comcast.net or salemfarmersmarket.org.