Winter Farmers’ Markets Featured in NH Magazine

New Hampshire Magazine reports on the growth of winter farmers’ markets, featuring our own Winter Farmers’ Market in Rollinsford, along with the one at Cole Gardens in Concord. Don’t miss the accompanying article on one of our vendors, Wild Miller Gardens, and their efforts to grow winter greens. From New Hampshire Magazine:

Market Forecasts: Winter is no problem for local farmers

Just because there is frost on the ground does not mean it’s the end of the growing season for farmers. People need to eat year-round, too, so it just made sense to extend the farmers market through the year. About 62 summer markets are now complimented with about 15 winter markets.

It all started under Sara Zoe Patterson’s guidance with “Holiday Markets” held in November and December to help people buy local for their holiday feasts. Patterson, coordinator of Seacoast Eat Local, found that farmers really benefited from the extra exposure to clientele who were clamoring for local food. Michael Pollen and a host of other food writers have redefined what a good meal is. There is a new, more aware audience who understands the need for good, sound farming practices that don’t deplete the land or have an energy footprint larger than Godzilla.

On a recent day in November I visited the Wentworth Greenhouse in Rollinsford. The huge space, naturally warmed by the sun, would have been fallow ground in winter months, but now it is the perfect space for a gathering of kindred souls, bent on either producing food with a small farm model or searching out the best quality food they can find to feed their families and conscience. It was a far cry from a modern supermarket. Here, you meet your maker, your producer, your hand-picker. You get the comfort of knowing where your food came from. If your health depends upon what you put inside, this is indeed an important acquaintance.

To aid farmers in marketing their goods to people without cash, the market organizers allow EBT (Electronic Benefit Transfers) and a new program where debit cards are charged in exchange for wooden coins accepted by merchants.

The array of products, produce and proteins was quite impressive. Pasture-raised chickens, ducks, beef, venison and elk were available, in most cases, frozen. Even baked goods from Forty Five Market Street Bakery and Café used local ingredients. I also found locally grown ginger root, baby cilantro and a nice raw cow’s milk cheese from Brookford Farm. Brookford also offered eggs, raw milk, beef and their own milled grains in addition to a supply of winter vegetables. Read more…

Our Winter Farmers’ Market returns to the Wentworth Greenhouses in Rollinsford on Saturday, January, 28th. For more information about this and other winter farmers’ markets in the area, visit www.seacoasteatlocal.org.

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