Summer in Vermont is glorious and each day presents a seemingly endless number of outdoor activity choices. Swimming spot explorations, nature hikes, bicycle excursions and road trips are sure to make the list, but one thing South Burlington residents should be sure not to miss is our very own vibrant Farmers Market held every Sunday 10 a.m.- 2 p.m. from now until October 13th at the High School parking lot.
Farmers markets have become fresh food mainstays for shoppers throughout Vermont’s communities with each one having its unique character and mix of local produce, prepared foods and market crafts. The South Burlington Farmers Market is no different, with vendors setting up their wares on Sunday mornings so SB residents don’t need to venture far to get their fix of local produce, meats, live music and even lunch from the Southern Smoke food truck.
Although this is the market’s second year at this location, neighbors are still learning or rediscovering the new location. The young market, which had been operating in the open field across from Healthy Living made the move up the block on Dorset Street last year, to a grassy area beside the South Burlington High School parking lot, providing increased visibility and ease of parking for patrons.
Healthy Living Market and Café started the South Burlington Farmers Market five years ago to offer the community an opportunity to meet local farmers and to support local food producers. When the team at Healthy Living realized the land used for the market would be developed in the near future, they chose the South Burlington based non-profit organization Common Roots to manage the market.
Adding the new responsibilities of the farmers market fits perfectly with the mission of Common Roots, and is documented in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) the organization developed with district schools to access more local foods for schools, families, and the community at large and to promote food education. Common Roots Chair Carol McQuillen oversees the market with the assistance of Market Manager Kindle Loomis, who is a graduate of the Rubenstein School at UVM. The work of many dedicated volunteers, including volunteer coordinator and city Legislator Maida Townsend, contributes to the true sense of community which is evident at the market.
One of the new initiatives Common Roots has put in motion this year is the introduction of the POP Club (Power of Produce) for young community members. In an effort to better engage children with the farmers market and to inspire them towards more healthy food choices, the POP club provides food oriented educational activities and incentives for its members. More than 80 children, ages 5-12 have participated so far. Each time a POP Club member attends the market they check in at the POP tent to receive a stamp on their market passport and receive $3 in the form of a token, to be spent at any of the produce vendors within the market. Children are encouraged to return to the tent to show what they purchased and take part in the fun activity of the day. Upon registration, children also receive a reusable POP Club shopping bag which they can decorate with their name. The food and garden inspired artwork is amazing on these personalized shopping bags!
This year, the market has continued to evolve. McQuillen sees that participation is building and there is a greater sense of community and connection as neighbors walk or ride bikes to the market to pick out fresh food for the coming week, hear some live music and engage in conversation with the organic farmers, other market vendors, and neighbors.
If you’re looking to find local fresh foods, or simply want to socialize and grab some lunch, you can do it all while positively impacting the South Burlington community every Sunday from 10 a.m.- 2 p.m. until October 13th.
SOURCE: Corey Burdick, Correspondent