You know the saying “It takes a village.”? Well, folks, it takes a village to make the local farmer’s market successful.
You might pay lip-service to liking the concept of eating locally. You might tout the availability of locally grown farm produce, fresh breads and the like. But unless you are actually going to the farmer’s market and shopping it regularly, you aren’t doing anything. And worse, it’s going to put that farmer’s market out of business.
Think I’m kidding?
Here in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, there are two farmer’s markets: the Village Farmer’s Market on Sundays and the Organic Farmer’s Market on Tuesdays. I’ve never been to the Tuesday market due to timing — it’s pretty hard to get to the 2-6 p.m. market when you work an hour away. But the Sunday market? I am a devout goer.
This year, I’ve been thrilled to see more people attending regularly. And it’s been absolutely wonderful to be able to do a good portion of my weekly shopping in the one, close, central location. I buy clams almost every week from Ed and Laurie Popadic of Pepe’s Cream of The Crop, LLC, bread and fresh mozzarella from a Norwalk-based bakery, and vegetables from Joe Smith of Smith’s Acres in Niantic. There is also a great soap maker — Goat Boy Soaps — that visits as well, and if I needed soap weekly, that would be a weekly stop too.
The problem? The vendors say that they just aren’t making enough money to justify their drives to market. Those same gas prices that are torturing anyone with a set of four wheels are going to drive vendors away from this — finally — thriving market.
That is, unless the good people of Newtown and Sandy Hook get off their hides and join me in shopping the farmer’s markets regularly. Consider this your call to action, neighbors. Get out there and buy. Buy some eggs, buy some produce, buy, buy, buy. And guess what? It goes to a person you can see, not some supermarket chain. It lets us continue to eat locally.
Think it’s too expensive? It’s not. I spend between $30 and $50 there each week and buy enough for lunches and dinners for at least one week. Plus, with the addition of eggs, it can take care of dinner too.
I will be devastated if the vendors stop coming. Last year was a tough year for the Sunday farmer’s market with just clams and a local jam and relish maker most weeks. Although I kept going, there just wasn’t much to buy. And that is sad.
Our local paper, The Newtown Bee, covered opening day of the market and talked about the plethora of vendors. Personally, I think they should be back out there, covering this story: the story of how the market can’t survive unless more people start going . . .