Winter Doesn’t Freeze Greenfield Farmers’ Market

The Recorder, January 7, 2017, by Shelby Ashline

With the tune of a banjo playing in the background, local residents mulled around Four Corners School’s gymnasium Saturday morning, perusing an extensive collection of fresh local food.

Saturday’s Greenfield Farmers’ Market, held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., marked the first winter market of the new year, and vendors from across Franklin County turned out to sell fruits, vegetables, meats, herbs, jellies and more.

“You get to see and buy all these things that you wouldn’t normally and get introduced to all these companies,” said 11-year-old Jaka Tarry of Greenfield, who attended the market with her mother, Carlye Woodard, and 10-year-old friend, Jessica Beck.

Aside from picking up healthy produce and treats like candy and popcorn, Tarry said the market is a way for her to reunite with people she hasn’t recently seen. For Cris Coffin, co-owner of Eden Pond Farm in Bernardston, the markets provide welcomed farmer-consumer interaction.

“It’s a way to connect with our customers,” Coffin said from her booth, where she sold eggs and pasteurized chicken. “Many people I think don’t recognize that we’re still growing things.”

Ervin and Gloria Meluleni, who own Coyote Hill Farm of Bernardston, continue to grow vegetables in their greenhouse during winter months. Ervin Meluleni said selling produce at the market is an essential part of their business and is “just enough to keep (them) busy in the winter.”

Plus, markets are great for local vendors to grow their customer base, said Carol Joyce, owner of White Buffalo Herbs in Warwick. The market allows her to “spread the word about herbs,” with many first-time purchasers becoming loyal customers.

“It’s like sharing herbal wealth,” she said.

“It’s really a great way to support local producers, artisans, craftspeople, bakers,” said Market Manager David Paysnick, who also operated a booth for his Greenfield farm Rainbow Harvest.

Supporting local farmers is exactly why Tina and Andrew Scott of Greenfield enjoy shopping at the farmers market. Plus, they find products they might not find in the grocery store, like arugula and kohlrabi, and can try free samples.

“The ability to get fresh food is unmatched compared to a supermarket,” Andrew Scott said.

According to Paysnick, a winter market has been offered for several years, growing out of the Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture’s (CISA’s) Winter Fare, a winter celebration featuring cooking demonstrations, kids activities and local farm products. This year’s Winter Fare will be held during the next farmers market on Saturday, Feb. 4 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

To shop with vendors who don’t take credit or debit cards, Paysnick is able to swipe a customer’s card and provide them with shopping tokens. Additionally, customers who receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits can get $20 worth of tokens for every $10 they spend.

“We’re trying to make local food affordable to everybody,” Paysnick said.