I’d like to send a great big THANK YOU to everyone who helped make the 8th season of our Wakefield Farmers Market the most successful ever! Whether you were a vendor, shopper, volunteer, performer, nonprofit guest, and/or one of the many folks who voted to help make our market #1 in the Massachusetts in the American Farmland Trust Favorite Farmers Market Celebration, this means you.
We are blessed to have wonderful local farmers, specialty food vendors, and artisans whose products are raised or made with great care and thus are always top-notch in quality. But, without loyal shoppers, we’d have no market. As I say every year, our farmers and other vendors always say how nice the people who shop at our market are. Please know that your support is greatly appreciated and is crucial to the ongoing success of our market.
Our WFM Volunteer Team members are also crucial for a successful season. Thank you to all who stepped up at least once, and some many times, this season: Dianna Boothe, Debbie Gronback, Jane Gillette, Robin Greenberg, Laura Guido, Doug Heath, Michelle Leahy, Sue Mitchell, Mary Pasquale, Bernard Platt, James Platt, Sarah Lynne Reul, Marietta Schwartz, Alison Simcox, Henry Stikeman, Kelli Stromski, Brian Thompson, Missy Thomson, Cathy Wensley, and Janice Williamson. I think that’s everyone! That is Janice and Dianna in the picture.
We had live music just about every week, starting with the talented students and teachers of the Onset School of Music joining us, as they have each year, on our opening day. We enjoyed music by each of the following during at least one, if not multiple Saturdays: Betty’s Bounce, banjo duo Ed Britt and Don Borchelt, Eddie Dee, Kev G. Mor Los Sugar Kings Duo, Amy Spillert, and new to our market this year, Kali Stoddard-Imari. We also enjoyed a visit from North Shore 104.9, known as “your hometown radio station on the FM dial,” and hope to have them back next year. When no live music was playing, we had excellent tunes from the farmers market soundtracks created by former Market Manager Kelli Stromski.
The Magic of Yarrow and Blake the Balloon Guy, along with the occasional face painter, added greatly to the festivities, and Henna tattoo artist Shweta Singhvi of Wakefield delighted young and old with her beautiful designs on a number of market day.
Visits from Curious Creatures and Drumlin Farms were their usual big hits, and, new this year, we were pleased to welcome the Pop-Up Adventure Playground. All will be back next year, with multiple visits by the Pop-Up Adventure Playground in the planning.
Our nonprofit and civic guests are a big part of our market, too. Thank you to all who supported the efforts of the Friends of Beebe Library (Book Give-Away!), 4H Clubs of Wakefield, Habitat for Humanity, Hartshorne House, More Than Words, Tonneson+Co for the Wakefield Interfaith Food Pantry, WMHS Alumni Foundation, Wakefield Educational Foundation, Wakefield Health Department/Mass in Motion/Wake-Up (bike helmets and flu shots!), Wakefield Human Rights Commission, Wakefield Independence Day Committee, and Wakefield Main Streets.
The Wakefield Beebe Library Pop Up Library was able to returned for two visits later in the season. At their tent you could check out books and even sign up for a library card, and they offered two storytelling sessions each visit, sharing community and farm themed interactive stories, enchanting children of all ages. We are hoping for monthly visits next season!
When I learned that our former cooking demo person Holly Pierce would not be available on Saturdays as the 2016 season began, I filled in, thinking that I would do the cooking demonstrations only until I found a new person to fill the role. However, I was having so much fun, and, even more important, was also getting folks to buy the featured produce from our farmers, that I just kept doing the demos. Thank you to all who stopped by to try a bite, talk “kitchen shop” and/or give great advice on cooking times and final seasonings!
This year we welcomed Heather Tribe in the newly created position of Assistant Market Manager. Heather volunteered numerous times during the previous season, thus she was already quite familiar with how the market runs. In addition, she has excellent administrative and project management skills; topped off with an outgoing and diplomatic approach that makes her an excellent coworker and team member. I am SO glad to have Heather on board! That would be Heather photobombing on the right.
Support from our town government is also crucial to the success of our market. Our Board of Health always works hard to ensure that the permitting process goes smoothly, and our WMGLD and DPW ensured that there would be no more power glitches at the market As always, a big kudos to our Town Administrator Steve Maio who is always just an email away for help of all kinds, even on a Saturday morning.
I‘d also like to thank Town Counsel Tom Mullen for making sure all the legalities were in order, and the Board of Selectmen, who approved both the yearly contract with the market and the wine/cider sales applications. I am especially grateful to the BOS for granting permission for the placement of a storage unit at Hall Park. A special shout out goes to Wakefield High art students Samantha Cardoza, Jillian Chan, Griffin Ell, John Glendye, and Ashley Sullivan, who, under the direction of Art teacher Joy Schilling, did a fantastic job painting the unit, transforming it into a canvass for public art.
Throne Depot deserves a big shout out for ensuring that our vendors had a pleasant facility on the premises, even when vandals caused last-minute issues here and there.
And, The Wakefield Daily Item has always been integral to our market’s success. Thank you, Bob, for all your support, as well as to Donna Larsson for the great photos.
A special thank you goes to my husband, Steve Breton, who is always on call to help with market day breakdown, fetching signs, repairing equipment, brainstorming advice, and more. As always, his support more than doubles my resources.
Stay tuned for upcoming columns about the monthly Melrose-Wakefield Winter Farmers Market that starts on November 20, and for next year, keep Saturdays 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m. free from June 17-October 14. To check for updates or to sign up for the email newsletter, visit wakefieldfarmersmarket.org. You can also find us on Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, and Twitter.
Again, thank you to everyone who took part by shopping, volunteering, or even just hanging out on a Saturday morning – it takes a great community to make a great market.
As always, along with accepting credit and debit cards, we also proudly welcome SNAP/EBT transactions in exchange for “Market Bucks.” Our market continues to match SNAP/EBT purchases up to $10 per visit so all of our neighbors can afford to eat healthy local foods. Just stop by the Market Manager Tent to get your Market Bucks.
COMING UP: The Melrose-Wakefield (MEWA) Winter Farmers Market, featuring many of your favorite vendors, starts November 20, the Sunday before Thanksgiving, continuing on December 18, the Sunday before Christmas, and then on the 3rd Sundays of January-April: January 15, February 19, March 19, and , due to Easter being on the 3rd Sunday, April 23. The market takes place at Memorial Hall at 590 Main Street in Melrose from 11:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. Updates coming soon.
The Wakefield Farmers Market runs RAIN OR SHINE (except in dangerous weather, e.g. lightening or hurricane conditions). Our next summer season will run from June 17 through October 14, 2017.Please visit www.wakefieldfarmersmarket.org for a complete listing of vendors and upcoming events and to sign up for the email newsletter. You can also find us on Facebook and Twitter. See you at the Market!