Indoor Farmers Markets Offer Holiday Bounty

Daily Hampshire Gazette, November 25, 2015 by Jason Kotoch.

NORTHAMPTON — Farmers markets in Northampton, Amherst and Greenfield are moving indoors as chilly temperatures settle in for what is expected to be a long winter in the Valley.

Farmers are hardly hibernating.

“December is one of our busiest times,” said Kristen Whitemore of the Amherst Winter Farmers’ Market. “People more and more are buying artisanal products as gifts.”

David Paysnick, the Greenfield Winter Farmers’ Market director, said he believes there’s no better way to shop local for the holidays.

“We’ll have just about anything you could need for Thanksgiving, Paysnick said. “I’m really excited about all the diversity we’ll have at the market this year.”
While the Greenfield market will have a lot to offer, it won’t be selling turkeys. Shoppers who want to patronize winter farm markets for the Thanksgiving table will have to visit Stillman’s Farm at the Northampton Winter Farmers’ Market for a local holiday bird.

Kate Stillman of Stillman’s Quality Meats in Hardwick said the family farm does about 90 percent of its business at the winter market.

“As much as we encourage people to order early, the bulk of our orders will be last minute,” Stillman said. “You can beat the rush by ordering your Thanksgiving turkey online.”

Stillman’s will be selling locally grown meat at the Northampton winter market held inside the Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays. The season started Nov. 14.

In addition to fresh meats and produce, shoppers can find an assortment of non-edible items for sale by local crafters.

All three farmers markets are boasting long lists of vendors selling everything from canned jams and wool to handmade candles and soap.

Andrew Lacasse, director of the Northampton Winter Farmers’ Market, said the market features popular summer vendors as well as a number of vendors seen only during the winter months.

The offerings include unique holiday gifts.

In addition to being a place to buy local products for the holidays, the winter markets are often a place to relax and celebrate the season.

“During the long winter, the market offers a cozy, cheerful center for the community to have a bite to eat, purchase some fresh veggies and visit with friends,” said Lacasse.