B and SZP are challenging themselves to visit all 31 farmers’ markets of Rockingham, Strafford, and York counties in the 31 days of July, and share their discoveries along the way. Previous entries in this series.
Both Hampton and Dover are run by the Seacoast Growers’ Association, a 34 year old organization that also runs the Portsmouth, Exeter, and Durham farmers’ markets. Their organization has evolved a set of guidelines that ensure the focus stays on farm grown goods and that everything for sale at the markets is grown or made by the person selling it.
The Hampton Farmers’ Market is conveniently located on rte 1 in the parking lot of the Sacred Heart Church, with traffic lights making it an easy turn into and out of the parking lot. On the day we visited, four farmers were selling their goods. Applecrest Farm and Heron Pond Farm had brought an abundance of vegetables, with a great variety and choice. Hurd Farm was there with beef, pork, and eggs. Aspen Hill Herb Farm had their amazing herb plants – really interesting varieties of strong plants. I’ve bought many and the plants grow vigorously providing me with deliciously seasoned dinners throughout the season!
Hampton has definitely become a smaller market – it’s a great stop for midweek vegetables, and we were able to buy both meats and vegetables making a complete dinner for the night. Markets can start to shrink if customers aren’t coming. I mention this because a market can also grow in size as well. If the customers in a town want to see their market grow and expand, they need to help provide the foot traffic. A well attended market will attract more farmers and vendors. The most powerful way to help a market grow is to talk about it, early and often, with everyone you know. Word of mouth can make a big impact, and in the meantime, there are a lot of delicious vegetables and meats to buy.
The Dover Farmers’ Market takes place every Wednesday in the Dover Chamber of Commerce parking lot on Central Avenue. With four different vegetables vendors, maple syrup, and baked goods from Forty Five Market Street Bakery + Cafe, the Dover market is a great place to get dinner .. and breakfast … and lunch.
We saw our first eggplant of the season there, pictured left, at Wake Robin Farm’s stand. Wake Robin Farm had everything from giant bunches of basil to plenty of squash, fresh garlic, summer greens and more. Connolly’s Gardens and Applegard Farm shared a booth providing a gorgeous display of cut flowers and delicious edibles like garlic scapes, peas, Swiss chard, heads of lettuce, and kale. Riverside Farm had strawberries, lettuce, squash, tomatoes, potatoes, and peas and Shagbark Farm had raspberries! in addition to their organic vegetables.
We purchased a delicious mini loaf of zucchini chocolate chip bread from the Forty Five Market Street Bakery, knowing that the zucchini they use is from local farms. They also have a great variety of breads, coffee cakes, pies, and cookies. Maple syrup and maple syrup ice cream from Sugarmomma’s Maple Farm rounded out the market on the day we visited.
Farmers’ Market Count: 7 down, 24 to go!