Patrons to the city's annual farmers market are in store for a whole host of changes this year.
After nearly a decade on Railroad Avenue in the parking lot across from the courthouse, the weekly Tuesday market will open in a new location next week, bringing with it the largest amount of vendors the event has seen. It's also the earliest the market has ever opened for the season.
The Tuesday market begins this year on June 12 down the street at the Leather City Common, and will feature 18 vendors from local farms, bakeries and seafood distributors. The market runs through Oct. 23, offering music, cooking demonstrations and other entertainment to accompany the fresh produce, seafood and baked goods.
Hereford Valley Farm is back once again, along with some vendors from last year's new Saturday market, but for a majority of the merchants, this is their first time selling their wares in Peabody's market. You can find a full list of the vendors on the attached .pdf.
The Tuesday market will also have slightly different hours: 2-7 p.m., and someone outside City Hall to manage it all.
The city’s Community Development Department organized a Farmers Market Committee this winter made up of residents and city staff, and has recruited Pamela Lombardini, a veteran of Salem’s successful farmers market, to help organize the effort this summer for Peabody as well.
“Pam was recommended to us by city councilor Anne Manning-Martin, and we are lucky to have met her,” said Community Development Director Karen Sawyer, who oversees the market for the city. “She has been very successful in growing the market in Salem and she has already been a great partner and organizer for us so far.”
Although the farmers market has been popular with residents in the past, moving it to the more centralized location will bring what organizers hope is a more inviting and ‘community oriented’ atmosphere’ that can widen its appeal to all residents of the city.
As a bit of history for those that remember, the market used to be located in the Foster Street municipal parking lot many years ago.
The city will kick off the market’s season Tuesday with an opening ceremony featuring Mayor Ted Bettencourt and local celebrity chef Antonio Bettencourt, owner of 62 Restaurant & Wine Bar in Salem (but a Peabody resident) and TV chef on the Bravo Channel. Following the ceremony will be a musical performance by Molly Pinto Madigan.
Accompanying the Tuesday market will be the return of the Saturday Farmers Market, which will mark its second year at the Peabody Institute Library from July 7 to Sept. 29 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. This market will offer 13 farm stands as well as a stand for Alex’s Lemonade to raise money for childhood cancer. The Saturday market will also feature live music, as it did last year.
The manager for that market will be Jaclyn Corriveau.
A longtime supporter of local agriculture, Lombardino says organizing the market is always hectic, but the payoff is providing good food to residents, business to local farms and a good time for everyone involved.
“As it grows closer, I find that I am getting really excited about it,” she says. “I get to hang around with my friends and associate with all of these people I don’t know that are having a good time. It is really exciting.”
Volunteers interested in aiding the farmers market effort can pick up applications at the information tent, beginning this Tuesday. In an effort to thank the residents of the Tannery II housing complex for providing storage for the market during the week, Lombardini has asked the city to place collection baskets at the front and rear of the market area to gather non-perishable foods to donate to the less fortunate elderly living in the complex.