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Winter Market Meets Demand for Local Produce

Originally published by the Greenfield Recorder.

GREENFIELD – Even in the midst of winter, shoppers still have an appetite for locally grown goods and local farmers were on hand Saturday to help satisfy it.

Saturday’s Winter Fare market in Greenfield, was “fabulous” according to Mary McClintock, a member of the organizing committee.

“Things went really smoothly,” McClintock said. “There were lots of people, lots more than last year.” This was the third year that the market has been run, McClintock said.

Organizers estimate that 1,500 people visited the market throughout the day to peruse products brought in by about 30 vendors.

“Lots of happy vendors and lots of happy shoppers,” McClintock said.

Vendors from farms from throughout western Mass. and as far away as Granby, Belchertown and Warwick, R.I., brought vegetables, meats, eggs, breads, jams and many other items, McClintock said. There were also workshops and displays for people who wanted more information on growing, eating and shopping locally.

McClintock said that the options for eating local produce year-round are growing as more farmers adjust their growing schedules and methods to meet the demands of consumers.

A crew of 40 volunteers helped set up, run and break down the event.

“It was an easy clean-up,” McClintock said. “The shoppers left with mostly everything.”

This year’s market was also the first time that vendors were able to accept SNAP food assistance benefits for payment.

Juanita Nelson, another market organizer, said that the market provides encouragement for consumers

Saturday’s Winter Fare Market at Greenfield High School cafeteria was the place to shop for fresh local produce, as well as meat, cheese and even local grain products; here, the Monettes of Orange shop for produce at the Riverland Organic Farm booth.

McClintock said that demand remains high for more winter markets both from farmers and shoppers, and assumes that there will be another Winter Fare next year if not sooner.

In the meantime, she said, a smaller winter farmers market will be held on Feb. 27 in Turners Falls.

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