by Christine Galeone
How often have you picked up a can at the supermarket and found yourself staring at a list of ingredients that are difficult to pronounce? With an abundance of highly-processed food on supermarket shelves, it’s not a rare occurrence. But, thankfully, there are places such as farmers markets where you can find local produce and baked goods and snacks that are made with more wholesome ingredients.
Grafton residents are fortunate to have a thriving market right on the Common. The Grafton Farmers Market, which is held every Wednesday from 2 p.m. until 6 p.m. on the Grafton Common, recently returned for the season and will remain open through October 9. With around 40 vendors (which vary each week), the volunteer-run market works hard to achieve its goal of providing “fresh, local food directly from farmers to consumers.”
For the 2019 season, various farms will participate. For people seeking fresh produce, they can find it at the booths for Foppema’s Farm, Potter Hill Farm and First Leaves Family Farm. Shoppers seeking local mushrooms can find them at the Joyberry Farms booth, and Hanson’s Farm will be selling freshly squeezed lemonade. There will also be organic produce storage bags sold by B-Organic.
A new weekly vendor at the market, First Leaves Family Farm, will offer a wide variety of microgreens and wheatgrass that customers can look forward to. Larissa Molina, the farm owner, said there will be microgreen herbs, shoots and vegetables including: broccoli; cabbage; kale; mustard; arugula; cilantro; dill; Italian basil; Thai basil; pea shoots; sunflower greens and buckwheat lettuce. “All microgreens are live and certified organic,” Molina said. “I also have more unusual ones like sorrel, tatsoi, Korean perilla and mizuna.”
Customers can also look forward to seeing a variety of produce from popular returning vendor Foppema’s Farm. “We’re starting with strawberries, lettuce, rhubarb, radishes & spinach,” Jesse Foppema, one of the second generation farmers at the family-owned farm, noted. “As we go through the season, we’ll have squash, beans, corn, tomatoes plus a plethora of other summer vegetables and fruit. Peaches are looking good, as well as the apple crop.”
For wine enthusiasts, there will be a couple of booths they may want to visit. Aaronap Cellars offers artisan wines. Agronomy Farm Vineyard sells wines made from grapes harvested in its vineyard. And it sells maple syrup as well.
Maple syrup will also be sold by Sap Castle. But maple syrup isn’t the only sweet treat that can be found at the market. There are many vendors who sell a vast array of treats. To find honey and products made with honey, shoppers can visit the booth belonging to It’s Only Chemistry. For baked goods, customers can visit B. Food, Bow Wow Biscuit Bakery, The Cookie Lady’s Daughter, Red Barn Cookies, Simple Church Bread and Zia’s Kitchen Table. For candy and snacks, people can stop by the booths for the chocolatier Anna Banana’s Homemade Goodness, Giacomo’s Gourmet Foods (which specializes in granola), gourmet popcorn seller Pop on the Block and Stone House Kettle Corn.
The Cookie Lady’s Daughter, one of the market’s new vendors, specializes in sugar cookies in a dazzling array of designs. “As a new vendor, I am looking forward to the opportunity to meet and learn from other business owners from the Central Massachusetts area,” shared Veronica Adams, the owner and baker. “I am excited to share my love of sweet treats with the Grafton community, one carefully-crafted cookie at a time.”
Market visitors will also be able to buy natural skincare items from Domesticated Wild Child and herbs and flowers from SweetBriar Florist and Perennials. Additionally, they can purchase items such as greeting cards, artwork, accessories, novelty clothing and handmade crafts from vendors including: Cards from My Heart; Elsie Kaye Glassworks; Francine’s Fancy; Jackson’s Creative Cake and Crafts; NEADS World Class Service Dogs; A Simple Twist; Together We Create; Touch of Nature Photography; Treasured Art and Wear the Wonder.
Roxanne Jackson, the artist and owner of Jackson’s Creative Cake and Crafts, is looking forward to sharing her unique woodburning artwork with market customers. She said hearing people respond positively to the creativity behind her projects never gets old. She said “I’m looking forward to seeing returning customers, and I love seeing people’s faces who are seeing my art for the first time...”
The market’s opening day – which was June 19 – celebrated creativity and much more. With food from new vendor Captain Ron’s Catering and Food Truck, music from singer Lindsay Dodd, dancing from Beatz Dance Studio, sustainable composting tips from Girl Scout Troop 11045 and an abundance of fresh food and hand-crafted items, the market’s opening enthusiastically ushered in the new season.
And it’s one that many are looking forward to. Callen Pacier, a market volunteer, said she hopes that people will support the local businesses and enjoy time with family and friends at the market. Noting that there are children’s activities, live music and a picnic area, she added “What the committee hopes for this season is to create a welcoming atmosphere that encourages a sense of community.”
Shauna Cardenas, the market’s manager, said she was delighted with the turnout of opening day visitors who came to “one of the most picturesque marketplaces in New England” to experience the family-friendly activities and explore “lots of high quality vendors.” “It’s encouraging to see the health of our local food economy in this area and the interest of the public to support our local farms,” Cardenas said. “And it’s great to see people spending quality time together outdoors, having access to quality foods. It’s a healthy circle. I hope we can build on past successes and make Grafton one of the best markets around.”
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