The new Seacoast Harvest 2011 is here, and with it comes the updated listings of farmers’ markets in Rockingham, Strafford, and York counties. This year, there are 31 summer season weekly farmers’ markets listed (and 8 wintertime farmers’ markets!).
That number is up from 26 markets last year, 24 in 2009, and 20 in 2008. While B and I have visited many of the markets in the past, we realized when we saw that number that there were many markets we hadn’t been to in awhile as we’d settled into weekly visits to a few regular favorites that are nearby to our home. With so many new ones as well, there were many we had never been to, both new this year and last.
So we’re going to challenge ourselves to visit all 31 farmers’ markets of Rockingham, Strafford, and York counties in the 31 days of July, and share our discoveries along the way. We’re both excited and a little nervous about how we’ll fit them all in, but the thought of finding farms and foods that are new to us spurs us on!
Yesterday being July 1, we started in right away with two: the brand new opening day Epping Farmers’ Market, and the Deerfield Farmers’ Market.
The Epping Farmers’ Market is in a great location, in the Walgreen’s parking lot on rte 125 just north of the intersection rte 101. A traffic light makes it easy to get in and out of there, and there’s plenty of parking for both customers and farmers/vendors.
We were really happy to see how busy opening day was for the farmers! There are also plenty of goodies to choose from alongside the delicious vegetables from Burnt Swamp Farm and Stout Oak Farm – things like cupcakes, coffees and teas, jams and jellies and other baked goods.
The Epping Farmers’ Market is open on Fridays from 3-6pm, get updates and more info on their facebook page: www.facebook.com/eppingfarmersmarket
2011 marks the 7th season for the Deerfield Farmers’ Market, which takes place on the Deerfield Fairgrounds Friday evenings 3-7pm. The first time I visited the market 3 or 4 years ago, I was struck by the friendly community feeling of the market. It feels like a place that a lot of people spend their Friday afternoon into early evening unwinding from the week, meeting neighbors, and buying food for the weekend. Last summer the market moved into the Arts + Crafts building of the Deerfield Fair, putting the market in a nice cool, dry building but making it further from the main road. Terrific signs are plentiful and easy to follow.
Although small in numbers, there’s a great variety of farmers and vendors at the market, with plenty of vegetables, the Pawtuckaway Mushroom Company’s delicious oyster mushrooms (formerly called Pawtuckaway Fungis), meats and plenty of jams, jellies, and relishes alongside breads. There’s even goat cheese, and meat to take home or you can eat a hamburger from Timber Falls Farm on site!
We did notice that there were tomatoes marked “from Vermont” at the market, which then caused us to ask every vendor about the source of the products they were selling. While not all the pickles were made from locally grown ingredients, the rest of the farmers were selling what they had grown and one farmer even had pickled beets from their own grown beets. It definitely puts the burden on the customer to ask questions when the market policies aren’t clear in that regard. Fortunately, we have a really strong tradition and culture in the seacoast about farmers only selling what they grow at markets, and for the most part we can be assume the best. I very much appreciate that what wasn’t grown on farm was labelled to reflect the honest situation.
Farmers’ Market Count: 2 down, 29 to go!