Newton is one of only a handful of Eastern Massachusetts communities that has a winter farmers’ market, allowing us to get locally sourced produce and foodstuffs in a fashion usually reserved for the warmer months.
This week, Newton in the Kitchen will introduce you to the merchants who are new to the Newton Farmers’ Market. It is worthwhile to note that these vendors comprise only about half of the total number of merchants who are selling their wares at the Hyde Community Center every Tuesday from 1:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. from now until mid-June.
Merchant: A Summer Place Farm (Rehoboth, MA)
Years in business: Seven
What they sell: A wide variety of vegetables including squash, root vegetables and greens; fresh eggs; herbs.
What they say: “We were interested in a winter market and we really like this area. It has a real sense of community, and that’s so nice. And the architecture is great – it’s a beautiful city!” – Sue Olson (who owns the farm with her husband, Jeff, and runs their farmers’ market booth with their six grandchildren when they are available to help out)
Merchant: Apex Orchards (Shelburne Falls, MA)
Years in business: 184
What they sell: Many varieties of apples; honey
What they say: “We’ve been doing farmers’ markets for four or five years and wanted to try a new market this winter. This is such a beautiful neighborhood; I parked up by Crystal Lake and walked there and back last week, and it was so pretty!” – Sarah Davenport (who runs the booth for Tim Smith whose family, the Pecks, are the original owners of the farm).
Merchant: Andover Farm Greens (Andover, MA)
Years in business: 10 months
What they sell: A variety of hydroponically grown lettuces; they may expand into herbs and other leafy greens in the future.
What they say: “This is a good test market for us- a good middle ground. It’s not the busiest market, but it has really good flow. So we can try things out and see how it goes!” – Nathan Cole, head grower
Merchant: Fish Guy (Boston, MA)
Years in business: Five years
What they sell: Tuna, swordfish and a variety of other fish. They will be getting in Cape scallops in the weeks to come
What they say: “I’m really passionate about fish. I’d say 95 percent of my customers are repeats – let’s just say I have a large fan base.” – Larry Dore (whose grandmother, Judy, is the Newton Farmers’ Market market manager)
Merchant: Ocean Ave Pops (Somerville, MA – a part of Culinary Cruisers)
Years in business: Just over one year
What they sell: Popsicles in a number of intriguing flavors including watermelon blueberry, pumpkin pie and ginger grapefruit; Kombucha tea drinks; Spindrift sodas.
What they say: “Our strategy has been to branch out to new markets. We hadn’t been to a market in Newton yet, so it gives us a chance to stay relevant (during the colder months). It keeps our name in the conversation.” – Josh Danoff (who runs the company with his sister, Leah)
Merchant: The Warren Farm and Sugarhouse (North Brookfield, MA)
Years in business: 19
What they sell: Maple syrup, maple candy, maple sugar, maple-infused sauces and marinades; infused oils and vinegars; mustards and jellies; honey sticks.
What they say: “We just push the maple button whenever we can. And I’ve always wanted to come to the Newton Farmers’ Market!” – Dale Wentworth, owner.
Merchant: Velma’s Wicked Delicious Kettle Corn (Worcester, MA)
Years in business: Eight years
What they sell: Bagged kettle corn in a variety of sizes
What they say: “The name ‘Velma’ comes from the sexy, cauldron-stirring witch who makes our kettle corn. When you open a bag of Velma’s you just magically want more.” – Dan Bridges
“We really like to interface with the community and we’ve always done farmers’ markets to sell our ‘kettle crack,’ as it’s called in Springfield.” – Eric Bickernicks