So in the final days of July and our self-assigned challenge, we ran into a little bit of a snag. The idea was to visit all 31 farmers’ markets listed for the summer season in Seacoast Harvest, which covers Rockingham, Strafford, and York counties. But it turns out one of those markets, a new one this year, didn’t begin until August.
On the last day of July, not wanting to fall short of our goal of 31 in 31 days, we visited the Newburyport Farmers’ Market, a market we love and that is so very much a part of our region and foodshed. (Essex County has its own great local food resource website, which is why Seacoast Harvest doesn’t cover that area). Although we missed the Plaistow Farmers’ Market in July (it takes place on Thursdays August through October, 2-7pm at the Town Hall, 145 Main St/Rte 121A in Plaistow, NH map), we did make it to 31 Farmers’ Markets in 31 Days … we just had to alter the parameters a little.
The Newburyport Farmers’ Market happens every Sundays from 9am-1pm. They have a wonderfully extended season, from early May late into December. The market takes place at The Tannery Marketplace, and the owners of the shops and the organizers of the market have done a fantastic job taking advantage of that location. There’s live music with plenty of cafe style seating – small tables and chairs – around in the shade of the covered walkways of the building. Amongst the 26 farmers/vendors that were there the day we visited were plenty of choices of food ready to eat on the spot – not just the baked goods you often see, but really great, high quality brunch and lunch options.
One the day we visited, six different vegetable farms, including many utilizing more than one space they had so many great foods to offer, were selling fruits and vegetables piled in gorgeous displays. There was everything from nectarines, green beans, and tomatoes to corn, carrots, and kale. Lots of delicious looking choices, and we went home with really full bags.
We also bought some beef from John Crow Farm, cube steak in fact, a cut we haven’t seen very often from local farms. There was also lamb and goat from Riverslea Farm, pork and poultry from Kellie Brook Farm, and fresh fish from Eastman’s. We bought Via Lactea’s delicious goat milk feta to make into tomato and cucumber salads, made complete with a little basil vinegar purchased from The Herb FARMacy.
One of our favorite new-to-us finds of the day was this delicious apple ice wine, pictured right, from Still River Winery. We took the suggestion of the vendor and chilled it very cold to enjoy in the sunny late afternoon. It was a perfect summer indulgence and very delicious.
The day we visited there was also a knife sharpener! You can bring your knives to be sharpened while you shop. She isn’t there every week, but is there the last Sunday of each month. On The Edge Knife Sharpening’s website.
We really appreciate the balance of the vendors at the Newburyport Farmers’ Market. Of the 26 there the day we visited, just over half were selling food from farms. There were great prepared and ready to eat foods, and a nice complement of artisans.
Arrowhead Farm was one of the many great fruit and vegetable growers there. We were very taken by this sign, and very appreciative of Arrowhead Farm making this sign so large and prominent. Almost every single farmer we know has a similar philosophy and many even have this kind of wording written on their CSA brochures or websites. With their tight profit margins and seasonal cash flows, farmers are pretty sensitive to the challenge that purchasing a CSA share in one payment can be. It’s worth asking about if you’ve been interested in a CSA share but the up front cost has been a barrier.
B and SZP challenged 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.
Farmers’ Market Count: 31 down!