By Lindsay Carey
The Southington Farmer’s Market will open on July 11, a week later the normal annual opening, due to the fourth of July falling on a Friday this year.
However, Market Master Henry Gresczyk said that since the market moved to the green last year it has been even more successful drawing in the crowds. Some people have been attracted to shops and businesses on Main Street after stopping by the market. In that way, the market contributes to local business.
“It’s an excellent local source,” said Gresczyk. “It’s a local movement. We all succeed.”
The Southington Farmer’s Market also takes care of their farmers by offering Community Supportive Agriculture (CSA) programs, which allow farmers to pick their produce more accurately based on what customers want rather than bringing a basic variety of vegetables.
Through CSA programs, customers can buy a share in a farm and prepay to receive a box of fresh vegetables every week from the market.
Gresczyk explained that this equalizes the farmers’ profits, because it in the winter and early spring not much money is coming in. The advanced pay from those customers using CSA programs helps them get through those difficult months.
Gresczyk also said the market is greatly benefited by local organizations like Activate Southington, which help to publicize healthier food options.
Not only does the team promote healthy eating, they also educate people about how to eat healthy.
Karen DiGirolamo, from the Activate Southington team, said that they hand out recipes for vegetables at the market. She said it has also helped stop people from turning away from a vegetable just because they don’t know how to cook it.
According to DiGirolamo, Activate Southington is currently working on getting local restaurants to come and do demos, which will be new to the market this year.
Gresczyk also said that the market is hoping to expand by finding more vendors, as well as entertainers.
One of the farmers that has maintained a presence at the Southington Farmers Market since its beginning is the Lewis Educational Agricultural Farm (LEAF).
LEAF, a Southington farm, has been in business since 1780 and is only a mile up the road from the market.
“Our big thing is we try to move our product locally,” said Mark Ramsey, a seventh generation Lewis family farmer. “We pick everything when it’s ripe, eliminate the middle man and sell directly to the consumer.”
The farm practices advocates locavorism, which is a movement to support locally grown food instead of products that have to be moved long distances.
LEAF workers make sure to discuss their growing practices with consumers at the farmers market, so that they can feel comfortable eating the food.
“We have nothing to hide,” said Ramsey. The farm uses organic fertilizer on their crops and does not use pesticides.
Ramsey said that LEAF also tries to help the environment by trying to reduce their carbon footprint.
The Southington Farmer’s Market will run until October 24.
By Lindsay Carey