As people starting to crave sweet corn and peaches, local vendors are gearing up for the annual farmers markets in both Dedham and Norwood.
“(Farmers markets are) empowering the people to buy produce as locally as possible,” said Hannah Freedberg, of the Norwood Farmers Market.
The Dedham Farmers Market, opening on June 16, will run every Wednesday from noon to 6 p.m., in the parking lot on the corner of Eastern Avenue and High Street.
Starting on June 22, the Norwood Farmers Market will be open every Tuesday from 1 to 6 p.m., in the Apollo Parking Lot off of Cottage Street. Both markets run until the end of October.
The practice of “grow local, buy local” has many health, economic and environmental benefits, Freedberg said. Locally harvested products that are sold the same day they are picked retain more nutrients than food that is shipped across the country, she added.
“People need to know where their produce is coming from,” said Norwood market manager Shirley Robbins. “They need to know their food is safe.”
Local farmers markets also support farmers, the community and the environment said Freedberg. They “bring energy and economic vitality to the entire region,” she added.
Louise Reohr, founder of the Dedham Farmers Market, agrees, saying the market “creates a nice dynamic” and “encourages economic development in the town.”
Dedham residents Reohr and Adina Astor founded the Dedham Farmers Market in 2008. Now in its third year, the market has gathered a large group of vendors selling fruits, vegetables, bread, seafood, cheeses and baked goods.
This year, there will be a few new additions thrown into the pot. Chatham’s Nantucket Wild Gourmet will sell smoked fish and chowders. Chestnut Farms of Hardwick will sell grass-fed beef, pork, lamb, goat and poultry. Vermont-based Fior D’Italia will sell fresh, homemade pasta, sauces and mozzarella. C&C Lobster of Peabody and the Foxboro Cheese Company are also new to the market.
Lending a hand
Through a $2,500 grant from the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources and the Department of Transitional Assistance, the Dedham Farmers Market will be equipped to accept payments by participants of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly the Food Stamp Program. The Dedham Farmers Market will match dollar for dollar, through this grant. Basically, for every dollar used through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program dollar, participants will get an extra dollar to use toward their purchase.
This program will expand the market’s reach, but more importantly, it will help low-income residents purchase local produce, market organizers said.
Reohr, hopeful and enthusiastic about the new program, describes the process of developing it as a “huge investment of time and money.” She said that the unique program should benefit both the low-income residents of Dedham as well as the community overall.
More places to buy
The Norwood Farmers Market, founded in 1996, will be selling breads, seafood, and plenty of field crops, said manager Robbins. The Great Harvest Bread Company of Newtonville, Brockton’s Jordan Brothers Seafood, and Paradise Hill Farm of Westport will all be returning for Norwood’s 15th annual farmers market.
More than just fruit and vegetables
Entertainment will be a staple every week at Dedham’s market. On opening day, there will be rain barrels for sale, through the Great American Rain Barrel Company. The use of rain barrels is an environmentally friendly way of watering one’s yard, Reohr said. Rain barrels collect rainwater from rooftops and keep the water clean - mosquito free - and available for later use.
Later on in the season, the Dedham Environmental Department will be on hand for a worm composting demonstration and to sell bins to residents who can try them at home. Reohr explained that worm composting is a sustainable method of recycling food waste into soil conditioner. Later in the season, Boston-based Green City Growers, which installs raised vegetable beds in urban areas, will be handing out free seeds to market attendees.
There will also be plenty of activities for children at the Dedham Farmers Market.
Event organizers said one week a potter from the Dedham Women’s Exchange will visit and pot plants with the kids. Every week there will be a kiddy table with coloring pages, donated by the Dedham Land Trust.
Also returning this year will be Jack and Eric’s Pirate Lemonade Stand. Jack and Eric Linari, ages 9 and 5, will be raising money for the Boston Animal Rescue League’s Pine Ridge Animal Center in Dedham.
As for the Norwood Farmers Market, Robbins is in the process of trying to get the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children to visit and host a cooking demonstration. Robbins is also trying to get Massachusetts’s Neighborhood Health Plan to talk about health insurance.
The Dedham Farmers Market will run every Wednesday from noon to 6 p.m., starting June 16 until the end of October. The Norwood Farmers Market will run every Tuesday from 1 to 6 p.m. beginning on June 22, also until the end of October.
For more information on the Dedham Farmers Market, visit www.dedhamsquarecircle.org/index.cfm/page/Farmers-Market/pid/10554. For more information on the Norwood Farmers Market, call 781-893-8222.