New location, new Tastes Rejuvenate Claremont Farmers’ Market
May 26 is Opening Day
Are you trying to forget that last winter ever happened? Did you start to “go green” on St. Patrick’s Day — and then filled Easter baskets with greenery to coax spring along — and then watched the trees leaf out all around the City?
Then you are definitely primed for summer. Good news: your wait is over.
Saturday, May 26, is opening day for the revitalized Claremont Farmers’ Market. Changes are everywhere for this family-friendly event. The Market has relocated to the Visitors’ Center Green at 14 North Street along the Sugar River. The Green is a safe place for children to play, listen to musical entertainers, and especially learn about healthy eating. Hours are from 9am to 1pm, for 16 Saturdays through September 8. On opening day, the first 100 visitors will receive a free tote bag for their purchases.
Market Coordinator Debbie Tardiff has been working for several months to refashion this favorite community event. “The new Claremont Farmers’ Market will be a place to learn about new foods and where they come from, and getting to know who grew them,” she said. “You’ll also be able to buy crafts that are made locally and are usually only available at craft fairs or online.” She sees the Market as a regular event for families to attend during the summer, bringing them downtown, while helping local farmers, individuals and businesses.
Another change: the Market is now administered by the Claremont Parks & Recreation Department. “We are excited at the expanded market offerings and new location,” expressed City Manager Ryan McNutt. “The City has invested to improve the Market and make it more convenient for vendors and the general public because we value its role in our community.”
Local sponsors have also stepped up to make the re-energized Market a vital part of City life: Claremont Savings Bank, Red River, National Field Representatives, Pleasant Street Furniture and Antiques, Valley Regional Hospital, Doolittle’s PrintServe, and Ink Factory.
“Foodies” from toddlers to seniors can choose from a wide variety of the best locally grown and prepared foods. Farms and prepared-food vendors will offer enough products to stock your fridge and freezer, make a week’s worth of meals, or simply enjoy on the spot. The Market’s “full menu” of tasty, healthy eating includes beef, lamb, pork, eggs, vegetables, fruits, jams and jellies, basil pesto, jerk chicken, baked goods, rice and beans, hot dogs and hamburgers, and frozen desserts.
If you’re hunting for a unique gift item or household accessory, drop by the various crafts vendors to purchase jewelry, handmade American Girl doll clothes, baby items, pillow covers, starter plants, bath bombs, lotion bars, salves, hair accessories and clothing.
New this year: the Farmers’ Market will be hosting the Power of Produce (POP) program from June 30 to August 8. POP, set up by Vital Communities, promotes healthy eating and living. Kids can come to the POP table at the central Market booth for a passport that will be stamped each week they attend and get a shopping tote. Scavenger hunts have them going to different vendors to get questions answered about farms and food, and taste-test both favorite and new foods. After each weekly activity they’ll get POP bucks to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables.
Also new this year is the ability to use EBT cards (issued through SNAP, the State’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program). A wireless EBT machine will be at the Market booth. Customers who swipe the card to take money off it will get $1 tokens to match the debited amount and use to make purchases at food-eligible vendors.
At the same time they can take advantage of Granite State Market Match (GSMM) funds, which provide up to a weekly $10 match to purchase fresh produce only. For example, if $5 comes off the EBT card, an additional $5 in GSMM coupons is given out. And if $10 is taken off, customers get $10 in coupons.
A full schedule of music and entertainment will have visitors wanting to show up every week. The Occasional Jug Band kicks off the season this Saturday with their signature blend of folk-bluesy-Cajun pickin’ and fiddlin’. Visit the Market’s Facebook page for weekly updates on which other musicians are appearing. Youngsters will especially like magician Dylan Tenney, who will amaze the crowd on June 9, and clown Cheryl Sprague making balloon animals on June 16.
Tardiff notes that parking will be much easier. “In addition to the parking lot at the Visitors’ Center, just steps above the Green, there’s the parking garage on Main Street. From there, it’s just a short walk across the pedestrian bridge.”
Facebook: Claremont Farmers' Market