Thursday, June 10, 2010

To market, to market...

Remember this nursery rhyme? "To market to market to buy a fat pig. Home again, home again, jiggety-jig."

The rhyme has its origins in historical fact, when it was commonplace for people to buy their vegetables, meats and other farm-produced goods at fairs or markets.

When I head off to the local Farmers Market I expect to find many of the products our ancestors sought at their town markets, although probably not a fat pig! More likely my bag will contain an assortment of locally grown greens, tomatoes and beans, a loaf of chewy homemade bread, creamy goat cheese, fresh eggs, cider and perhaps even some homegrown bacon. During the last decade Farmers Markets and their supporters have wholeheartedly embraced the notion of selling and buying local. The food tastes better because it's in season and freshly picked, you're able to strike up a conversation and develop a relationship with the farmer who grows or produces the product, and you know the dollars you spend support the local economy.
Like their historical predecessors, Farmers Markets often offer entertainment - fiddlers, harpers, accordionists and singers -- and welcome artisans and crafters who enjoy the camaraderie of selling their wares in a highly communal setting. The Markets are great outlets for artists, artisans, and musicians to show off their products and talents, and the mix of agriculture, arts, crafts and music is a true reflection of what we mean when we speak of the creative northern economy. The Arts Alliance wants to spread the word about these talented people -- they are a great North Country resource worth supporting. Are you one of these artists or musicians (or do you know someone who is)? Send us your contact information and tell us what you do at

Support your local Farmers Markets

These northern New Hampshire markets are open for the season, or soon will be. Check out the NH Department of Agriculture's comprehensive statewide listing of Farmers Markets, or your local newspaper for locations, dates and times, as there may be others in your neighborhood that aren't on the list yet. All of them sell a variety of locally grown or produced -- including organic -- vegetables, flowers, fruits, maple, honey, meats, cheeses, and baked goods. Most also sell a wide range of arts and crafts -- jewelry, quilts, stained glass, woven items, pottery, baskets, photographs, paintings, and more -- with something in every price range and taste.
Bethlehem: Local Works Farmers Market, Main St. Saturdays, 9-2.
Berlin: Local Works Berlin Farmers Marketplace, Mechanic Street (off Main or Route 16 north). July 1-Sept. 16. Thursdays, 3-7 p.m. This is a new market this year, and along with the standard offerings will feature Massage by the Minute, music & demos, Wool Fiber Day, Tomato Tasting Competition, 4-H Animal Day, and a concert series.
Bristol: Newfound Farmers Market, Lake Street, Bristol. Through October. Saturdays, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
Campton: Campton Farmers Market, off Exit 28, Route 49. Through October. Fridays, 3-6 p.m.
Colebrook: Colebrook Farmers Market, 84 Colby St. July-October. Saturdays, 8-noon.
Colebrook: Main Street Farmers' Market, North Main St. (at Northern Tire). July-mid-October. Thursdays, 3-6 p.m., Saturdays, 9-noon.
Jackson: Jackson Farmers Market, next to the Snowflake Inn Field. July-October. Saturdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
Lancaster: Lancaster Farmers Market, Centennial Park. June-December, Saturdays, 9 a.m.-noon. November-December markets are the 1st & 3rd Saturdays in the Lancaster Town Hall.
Lisbon: Lisbon Farmers Market, Route 302, North Main St. Saturdays, 9 a.m.-noon.
Littleton: Littleton Farmers Market, Littleton Senior Center, 38 Cottage St. June-October. Sundays, 10 a.m. -1 p.m.
Madison: Madison Farmer's Market, Madison Community Market, Route 113. Tuesdays, 3-6 p.m.
Piermont: Piermont Farmers Market, Corners of Route 25 and River Road. June-September. Tuesdays, 3-6 p.m.
Plymouth: Plymouth Community Farmers Market, 263 Highland St. Through October 7. Thursdays, 3-6 p.m.
Sandwich: Sandwich Farmers Market, Samuel H. Wentworth Library ('Pines'). Through November. Saturdays, 9 a.m.-noon.
Tamworth: Tamworth Farmers Market, Unitarian Church in the Village. June-Columbus Day. Saturdays, 9 a.m.-noon. Holiday market the Saturday before Thanksgiving and the Saturday before Christmas. 10 a.m.-2 p.m. 

Whitefield: Whitefield Farmers Market, On the Common. Fridays, 3-6 p.m.

With so many wonderful markets available this summer, I'm planning on some good eating, and - dare I mention it --  an early start on my Christmas list! How about you? What are your favorite markets and what makes them special?

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