SB Farmers Market Thrives in New Location

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Thursday July 12, 2012

The South Burlington Middle School/High School parking lot was bustling with activity on a recent Sunday morning. Seventeen vendors of fresh produce, juices, jams, cupcakes and handmade merchandise were gathered for the weekly farmers market. The market, which had previously been operating at Healthy Living on Dorset Street, made the move up the block this year for increased visibility and ease of parking for patrons. Healthy Living Market and Café started the SB Farmers Market four years ago to offer the community the opportunity to meet local farmers and to support local food producers. The team at Healthy Living realized the land that facilitated the market would be developed at some point in the near future. Therefore, after dialogue and conversation, they chose Common Roots to be the market managers.

The process by which Common Roots was chosen was thorough. Winton Goodrich, Assistant Superintendent of the South Burlington School District, met with Common Roots and Healthy Living to consider how Common Roots and the schools might continue the market.  Common Roots has a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the schools to further food education and access more local foods for schools, families and the community at large.  Goodrich and Carol McQuillen (Chair of Common Roots) collectively envisioned the market to expand and include the five tenants of the SB District Wellness Collaborative: Health, Exercise, Nutrition, Mindfulness and Sustainability.  Common Roots is now overseeing the market with the assistance of market manager, Kindle Loomis, who graduated this past May from the Rubenstein School at UVM. According to McQuillen, “She is very personable and quick on her feet.”
 
Vast arrays of vendors were present on Sunday, July 1st, representing every corner of the state. Produce was available from Lewis Creek Farm, Valley Dream Farm (East Hardwick), Snug Valley Farm (which provides the veggie burgers and grass fed beef burgers that are grilled to order throughout the day) and Mr. Harvest (Grand Isle). The Accidental Farmer was also cooking grass fed burgers from beside his vintage camper. A bit further down the way, sweets tempted from Superb Cupcakes to Go and delicious jams from Table Top Spreads. The Vermont Switchel Company from Cabot, offered their uniquely refreshing beverage (which utilizes apple cider vinegar as its main ingredient) to accompany lunch. Most vendors have returned to this market from the dedication that Healthy Living initiated.  Other vendors have signed on by word of mouth or through the website: www.commonroots.org.

As I strolled through the market, I had the opportunity to enjoy live music by singer/songwriter Antara Gatch. Live music is a regular component of the market and takes place from 11 a.m.–1 p.m. The market has acquired local musicians, who volunteer weekly, through word of mouth and the recommendations of Trisha Hlastawa, from Healthy Living Market and Café, who managed the market last year.  This year, they have had a diverse repertoire of music including talented high school senior Paolo Cannizzaro who plays guitar and David Gravelin who plays guitar and mandolin. In addition to the musical entertainment, there are also craft activities and face painting each week for kids.

The South Burlington Farmers Market runs from 10 a.m.–2 p.m., so you don’t have to worry about rushing through your pancakes and Sunday paper to get there. It’s a great destination for a family stroll or bike ride.  From produce to Wear U Lead pet leashes, to the solar powered Juice Bar, every age will find something to enjoy at this vibrant market.

McQuillen said, “Coming to the Farmers Market as family or with friends is a terrific way to visit with your community while having lunch or perhaps chatting with local farmers and other vendors who produce some of the foods we appreciate and enjoy!”

If you are interested in becoming a vendor, there is still room this season to participate. E-mail Kindle Loomis at sbfm.manager@gmail.com. You can also see additional photos and information on the market’s Facebook page.

SOURCE: Corey Burdick, Correspondent