Published: 4/6/2021 11:13:32 AM
The outdoor area at the Peterborough Community Center will bustling with a sense of excitement on Wednesday, April 7, as the Peterborough Farmers’ Market will open for the 2021 season, continuing a trend over the last few years of beginning the first Wednesday of April.
Historically the market had always started in May, but in 2019 vendors asked to open a month earlier. While not all the vendors will be ready to sell their products at the market in the first few weeks, it has proven to be popular among patrons to start as soon as the weather allows, said President Conrad Dumas.
“We decided it’s worth starting earlier. It gets people out, creates curiosity,” he said.
Dumas said there will be some greens available to start, but most of the fruit and vegetable growers will begin in late April/early May, as this year’s crop starts to come in. But with more than 20 vendors signed up for the year, more and more items will be available entering the second month.
Dumas said they like to find a balance between food, nutrition and health products and the variety found at the market will appeal to a wide range of people. As the season goes along, locally grown vegetables, fruits and flowers will be available. Other vendors include a couple of baked good operations, a jelly and jam maker, goat cheese and meat, eggs, garlic and mushrooms. There will be wool and skin care products, wine and jewelry. And if there’s one thing Dumas wants to see more of, it’s food.
Starting in month of May, Dumas said there will be two food trucks on site, Totally Thai with authentic Thai food and Dogwild, which specializes in locally sourced sausages.
Dumas said for each vendor, their decision to participate in the market is different.
“For some of us, it’s more of a passion,” he said. “For some others this is their way of making a living.” Because of that, Dumas said they try to keep vendor fees low so there is some room for vendors to generate income.
Last year, Dumas said they saw a dramatic increase in patrons showing up on a weekly basis. He said they doubled the previous year with an average of 150 people each Wednesday over the course of the season.
“We had 198 one afternoon last year,” Dumas said. “If we could get 200-plus a week, we’d be really hoping busy.”
Some of it he felt was a direct response to the isolation created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“For some that was their one social thing,” Dumas said. “It was a big deal for some people.”
Others he thinks are just becoming more interested in where their food and products come from.
“I think there’s an overall movement to support local,” he said. “Some people seem to want that more in their life these days.”
The market will run from 3 to 6 p.m. each Wednesday, and will be outside into the fall before moving indoors through the week before Christmas. It is held rain or shine, but will be closed due to thunder and lightning. There will be live music to keep patrons entertained as they wander among vendor booths.
Dumas said his long-term goal is to have it be a year-round market.
“It’s a great market. It really is,” he said.
Masks will be required and maintaining social distancing is advised.
For more information and up-to-date vendor information, visit facebook.com/PeterboroughNHFarmersMarket.