WESTFIELD-With only two weeks before the spring opening of the Westfield Farmers’ Market on the lawn of the Episcopal Church of the Atonement, market management is putting the finishes touches on logistics in light of some COVID-19 rules that have been relaxed by the state.
“The market continues to be subject to restrictions of the Episcopal Diocese of Western Massachusetts,” said Mary Kadomoto, market manager.
Kadomoto said 10 full-time vendors are already in place for the opening on June 3, and vendor applications are still being accepted. The market is offered on Thursdays from noon to 5 p.m. through the early fall season.
“We have a nice balance of farms, food and crafts this year,” said Kadomoto, adding, “including several returning vendors and new vendors.”
Vendors who are new to the market include Berkshire Mountain Bakery, offering a variety of freshly baked breads, croissants, muffins, cookies and more; AeroGreen Urban Farm, featuring aeroponic/hydroponic greens including lettuce blends, arugula, spinach, beet greens, chard, kale and more; Mark’s Clay Creations, selling handmade polymer clay jewelry and leather goods, and Growing with Minerals, offering arugula, lettuces, greens, turnip, beets, carroots, and other vegetables grown with an emphasis on soil health.
Full-time vendors will also include Pignatare’s Farm with vegetables, fruits, flowers, breads, jams, vegetable plants, honey and popcorn, and Sweet City with herb and flower plants, maple syrup and compost. Also, Pitchfork Farm will be selling bison, elk, pork and chicken, as well as all types of eggs, dog bones, honey, chocolate and bread, and the Meadow Burn Farm will feature floral bouquets, dried lavender, lavender candles and lavender skin care products.
Bev’s Patchwork will return to the market with pillows, aprons, towels, face masks and mittens made from upcycled wool, and Ishkabbile Crafts will be selling handmade items from locally sourced wood, including spoons, bird, bat and owl houses, bird feeders, children’s toys and puzzles, boxes, letter openers and seasonal decor.
“Sweet Chili’s food truck will also serve ready-to-eat Thai food,” said Kadomoto.
Part-time vendors will include Mike’s Crafts, selling custom-made clocks, walking staffs, turkey calls, cribbage boards, dancing dolls, key holders, whistles and more, and Sandy Hill Apiary offering raw honey from Westfield bee hives, as well as food wraps, lip balm, hand cream and handmade crafts.
Vendors who will also be visiting the market on occasion include Doce Mercer, a family owned gift box business, selling freshly baked goods and jams and will take orders for custom gift boxes; Jeff Bellefleur, featuring chain saw carvings, decor and outdoor art, and West Parish Orchard selling peaches and apples in late summer and early fall.
“We also have one visiting vendor on June 3, Desserts by Jo Jo, offering locally baked cupcakes, cookies, quick breads, scones and cakes,” said Kadomoto.
Kadomoto is also “super excited” that music is back this market season.
“Thanks to a grant from the Westfield Cultural Council, we have 10 different musical acts including two new ones,” she said.
Musicians set to perform during the market season include Ed Bentley, Marion Dunk and Chip Arnold, Dave Housman, Linda O’Neill and Tom Boidreau, Daniel Russell, Harry Rock, Gary Kotros, Eva Cappelli, Emma Henning, and James Moore.
The performance schedule will be featured on the Westfield Farmers’ Market website – westfieldfarmersmarket.org – and events are subject to change due to unforeseen circumstances, according to Kadomoto.
“As per outdoor performance guidelines, we will cordon off a 25-foot space in front of the musicians so that the audience cannot get closer than that to any singers,” said Kadomoto, adding, “Volunteers will watch and ensure that crowding doesn’t occur.”
Also back this season is the church playground for families to enjoy.
“COVID health protocols have been approved by the Westfield Health Department,” said Kadomoto. “Many restrictions have been eased such as reusable bags are now ok, customers may pick their own products, and we do not have to enforce the use of hand sanitizer.”
The market will again have one entrance and one exit, and observe social distancing and mask wearing protocols.
“We will continue to adjust as needed,” said Kadomoto. “Our primary concern is keeping everyone safe.”
Kadomoto added the market management team is still in need of volunteers, especially for set up and take down operations, as well as serving as market hosts.
“We are still 100% volunteer,” she said. “We are thrilled that the community comes out and supports the market – we have 20+ volunteers but can always use more help.”
For persons interested in joining the market team, email your name, phone number and contact information to [email protected].
“Come out and support your local market,” said Kadomoto. “There is plenty of free parking behind the church and the market entrance is off the parking lot. Also, there is a new multi-use trail down Court Street which enables bikes and pedestrians to get to the market more easily.”