Fresh, not frozen
Locally produced veggies, cheeses, meats, poultry, honey, handcrafts and more are the stars of the show at winter farmers markets in the area.
Milford, Merrimack and Bedford offer winter markets. They draw visitors desirous of supporting local entrepreneurs and fellow shoppers in search of enhanced wintertime nutrition. Others find visits to the markets to be fun, family-
friendly activities and a quick cure for the winter blues.
The Milford Winter Farmers Market is is open from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. on the first and third Saturdays from November through April at Milford Town Hall, 1 Union Square, on the Oval. Nearly 20 vendors populate the third-floor auditorium. One can buy fresh greens, grass-fed beef, infused olive oils, fruit jams, and handcrafted soaps and lotions. Musical entertainment adds to the festive hubbub.
The Merrimack Winter Farmers Market is held from 3-6 p.m. every Thursday at the John O’Leary Adult Community Center, 4 Church St., adjacent to the library. The market is newly founded by members of the Merrimack Agriculture Commission.
Commission member Don Miner, volunteer winter market manager, said a diverse entourage of vendors already is aboard. Recent offerings from more than a dozen included wares of fruit wines, roasted coffee, spicy empanadas, freshly baked pastries and farmstead cheese from Abbot Hill Creamery in Wilton.
Potential vendors may call Miner at 235-6232.
Miner, a Merrimack resident and owner of Miner Family Farm, 82 Peaslee Road, said the end date of the winter market is yet to be announced. He said he hopes it is enjoyed until spring.
The beef cows, pigs, lambs and chickens he sells at the market are raised without antibiotics. Their feed is free of GMOs – genetically modified organisms.
"We’ve had a great turnout," Miner said. "The winter market seems to be a want and a need by the town. People like to know that what they’re eating."
Yvette Couser, director of the Merrimack Public Library, and her daughter, Vivia, perused some woodcutting boards crafted for the Merrimack market by Richard LaRochelle, a vendor from Salem. Couser’s purchases included dinner fixings: chicken empanadas and beef empanadas by El Camino Foods, based in Derry, along with rice pudding from The Fig and The Olive, a Merrimack business. Later, she added a bottle of fruit wine from Copper Beach Winery in Hooksett.
"I’m visiting a friend this week," Couser said. "The wine will be a good hostess gift."
The Bedford Winter Farmers Market, hosted by the Bedford Fields garden center, 331 Route 101, begins in January. The markets will take place from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on four Saturdays: Jan. 9 and 23, and Feb. 13 and 27.
Owner Bill Zeolie credited associate Anita Stevens for the market’s success as it enters its fifth year. More than 20 vendors participate.
Stevens prepared a display of jams and jellies from Laurel Hill Jams & Jellies, a Bedford enterprise owned by longtime resident Sue Stretch. Stevens said she anticipates a big crowd.
"We are offering so many things made in New Hampshire," Stevens said. "The winter farmers markets are going to be a lot of fun."
Stevens can be reached and firstname.lastname@example.org. Updates will be posted at bedfordfields.com.