Shop the farmers’ market year round
Amherst offers an indoor spot for fresh, local food
By Susan Reilly firstname.lastname@example.org
During the cold days of winter, every Thursday, Friday and Saturday local growers, bakers, cheese makers, butchers and a fish monger sell their goods at an indoor location in Salzburg Square in Amherst.
This indoor farmers’ market, first in the state, opened last October just as the temperature dropped.
“For years we’ve been talking about bringing the market indoors during the winter. We finally decided to do it, and so far so good,” said Eileen Cavallaro, manager of the outdoor farmers’ market held on the village green in the warm months.
Bringing a farmers’ market indoors is not simply as easy as securing a suitable location and signing on some farmers. Rent needs to be paid — a tough thing for growers to do during lean winter months — and crops need to be planned out at least a year in advance in order to supply the market.
The Amherst Indoor Farmers’ Market has a specific focus on made-in-New Hampshire products and, since the Granite State is not conducive to growing year-round like Florida or California, special growing methods need to be employed to keep some fresh produce on the shelves in the winter. Participating members must adhere to the NH Made bylaws. These bylaws insist that products must be produced in or have originated in New Hampshire or be significantly altered in New Hamsphire by input or labor, process or intellectual content.
“People new to the farmers’ market will not see a full range of produce, because things like tomatoes are not grown here in the winter,” Cavallaro said.
Cavallaro said that many farmers are waiting to see how the market does after its first year before trying to vie for a spot. Supplying produce in the winter months requires the use of hydroponics — growing, without soil, in water — and it takes time and money.Cavallaro expects that if farmers see a demand for their products the indoor market will expand. Farmers who sign on to participate in the farmers’ market pay $200 a month rent.
Right now there are about a dozen vendors (plus a waiting list) who sell everything from produce to baked goods to maple syrup, beef, fish and cheese. There is a local winery, a local coffee roaster and a home-based business that makes dipping oils and salsas.
At the farmers’ market, a small sample of what you can expect to find includes Liberty Fish selling almost a dozen different varieties of day cut fish on Thursdays, then chowders and quick frozen shrimp on Friday and Saturdays; A&E Roastery selling fresh roasted coffee and teas; Boggy meadows cheeses; Abigail’s Bakery with organic goods; Sweet Comfort farm with baked goods; Crooked Birch with dipping oils, salsa and sauces; Kelly Coner Farm with eggs, lamb and chicken, and cut flowers from Garden Party. Sawyer’s Maple Farm and The Spinach Pie Lady also participate. New vendors include Heidi Coutier’s The Dinner Solution which sells premade dinners, The Good Loaf’s breads and a vendor who makes dried dip mixes and cat nip.
Amherst Indoor Farmers’ Market
Rte 101 Salzburg Square, Amherst, 673-7523, www.amherstfarmersmarket.org
Hours: Thursday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m..