By: Stephanie Farrington On: 10:40AM / Sunday July 10, 2011
Mayor Richard Alcombright was picking up apple brownies from Rona Brandt at the farmers' market. Below, the market offers fresh produce, flowers and jewelry and other handmade items.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Looking for local fruits and vegetables? Don't want to drive all over the area to get them? Well, there's a solution for that.
The first of many weekly farmers' markets took place in North Adams on Saturday morning in the St. Anthony Municipal Parking Lot near the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art.
Farmers from around the region gathered for the city's first market of the season to sell the fruits of their labors. They'll be there from 8 to noon on Saturdays until the end of October. Several other local markets, including Williamstown's on Spring Street on Saturdays, have already opened.
Market manager Diana Cirillo said she hopes to expand the market over the course of the summer. Her mission is to make healthy, locally grown food accessible to all residents of North Adams. "People can use their SNAP benefits in the market to give them more choices for healthier eating."
The market is able to accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program digital cards as well as coupons for the Women, Infants and Children food prograM.
Cirillo is also hoping to grow the market as the season progresses. "I'm hoping to bring more locally grown food to the attention of the community," she said. "We have room for more farmers. We're always looking for farmers who want to come and sell their fruits, vegetables, honey, maple syrup, eggs, meat — whatever they produce. It would be awesome if we could fill the whole lot.
"Eventually what we'd like to do is bring a learning experience into it, have local recipes, give information on growing food, what it takes to produce it, where things come from, things like that," she continued.
Local farmers on hand were selling garlic, raspberries, beets, radishes, carrots and salad greens as well as beans and peas and all manner of early summer vegetables. There were also cut flowers, home-baked goods and even some jewelry available — all of it produced right here in the Berkshires or close by.
Emma Morin has been a vendor at the market for 12 years. She doesn't have a farm but her home garden is large enough to produce an abundance of vegetables and she makes jams, jellies and knitted goods to sell as well.
As early as 9 a.m., some stands were beginning to run low. Rona Brandt brings baked goods and said she runs out of stock every week, so you might want to arrive early if you have a particular favorite – like her whoopie pies or her apple brownies (before Mayor Richard Alcombright scoops them up).
The farmers' market has room for more booths; $10 will get you a spot on the lot for the day.
If you missed the market or you just want to sleep late on Saturdays, some of the farmers will be at next week's Northern Berkshire Food Festival, which takes place on Main Street from noon until 4 on Sunday, July 17.