LACONIA — Farmers' Markets in the Lakes Region are filled with the latest in-season vegetables and fruits in a growing season which is picking up steam after a slow start due to a long, cold winter.
Keith Descoteaux of Still Seeking Farm of Gilmanton was offering samples of his fresh strawberries to shoppers at the Laconia Main Street Outdoor Marketplace Thursday afternoon., where he was also selling reduced sugar jams which he says enable people to actually taste the fruit, all local and organic, as well as granola.
Descoteaux and his wife, Michelle, have been farming in Gilmanton since 2005 and he says that they tried for years to come up with the right kind of formula for a the soil at their farm and finally hit the jackpot when hey followed the advice of Dan Kittredge of the ''Real Food Campaign'' and started incorporating boron, lime, blood meal and other trace minerals which put them on the path to spectacular yields.
They also fill in the seasonal gap by making maple syrup starting in late winter and making maple syrup, an operation which has grown from 75 to over 800 taps.
Michelle is the director of The Laconia Farmers' Market, now in its 42nd year and which is the longest running farm market in New Hampshire. It is open on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon in the parking lot on Beacon Street East in front of City Hall.
The market features a rotating lineup of 12 to 15 vendors, offering farm-fresh, local and organically produced food and artisan crafts, including tomatoes, herbs, greens, garlic, squash, beans, strawberries, meats, eggs, dairy, cheese, breads, pastries, granola, maple syrup, jams, jellies, freshly roasted coffee, hand-spun yarns, body care products, natural candles, and more.
The market offers EBT/SNAP benefits and will match all EBT purchases, with up to $10 free to spend on produce.
Descoteaux is encouraging customers to sign up for FarmFan, a new app that alerts customers to product availability, weather alerts, and rewards and prizes. To become a FarmFan, visit www.laconiafarmersmarket.com and sign up the free app.
"Using FarmFan helps us to better connect with customers and reward them for repeat business. Customers who join the free FarmFan program will get 'What's Fresh' alerts by text message right before the market opens, to let them know what's available at the market, including special offers from vendors. We love our market customers and wanted a better way to keep in touch with them about the wonderful products that our vendors sell. We are excited to reward our frequent shoppers and call them FarmFans," said Descoteaux.
Also taking part in Thursday's Laconia Main Street Outdoor Marketplace, which is open Thursdays from 3-6 p.m., was Aaron Lichtenberg of Winnipesaukee Woods Farm, which raises most of its vegetables on land it leases at the Rogers Farm in Gilford.
He says that Winnipesaukee Woods is primarily a Community Supported Agriculture farm, producing mixed vegetables and pasture raised eggs.
He was offering spinach, swiss chard, scallions and garlic scapes at the Laconia venue and says that he and his wife, Liz, a teacher at Alton Central School, also will take part in the Gilford Farmer's Market, which is new this year. Located at the historic Benjamin Rowe House on Belknap Mountain Road, the market will be open on Saturdays from 9 a.m. until noon, from June through September.
It is run by the Thompson-Ames Historical Society which is raising funds to match an LCHIP grant for exterior renovation of the Rowe House and has 15 to 20 vendors according to Carmel Lancia, a member of the historical society's board of directors.
Also new this year is a Farmer's Markets in Belmont, scheduled for Sunday mornings at the Tioga Pavilion and parking lot near the Belmont Mill, which organizer Gretta Olson-Wilder says is being promoted as more of an event to attend versus a three minute dash to get lettuce. The Farmer's Markets will take place once per month on June 28, July 26, August 30, and September 20.
Belmont market hours will be 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. ''It is hoped that they will become a gathering place by not only showcasing local vendors but to also offer a children's craft and/or activity and some live entertainment and demonstrations each month," says Wilder.
The Sandwich Farmers Market is open twice a week this year, on from 9 to 11:30 a.m. at the Corner House and Wednesdays from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Community Church on Church Street.
The market will feature locally grown vegetables, meat, herbs, flowers, maple syrup, jams and more.
The Wolfeboro Area Farmers Market will be open every Thursday from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. through October at Clark Park, 233 South Main Street, in Wolfeboro.
Board President Fred Martin says that he expects there will be more than 25 vendors this year.
In Franklin there will be a Farmers' Market every Tuesday through September from 3-6 p.m. at Franklin Regional Hospital.
- Category: Local News
- Hits: 313