Food/Travel

Holiday farmers’ markets slated

WESTFIELD-As the popularity of the Westfield Farmers’ Market on the lawn of the Episcopal Church of the Atonement continues to grow, four Saturdays have been added to its schedule.
Originally scheduled to end on Oct. 5, the market will continue on Oct. 14, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., to coincide with the Westfield Pumpkin Fest event. Winter market dates are Nov. 18, Dec. 9, and Feb. 10, all operating from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Additional dates have been added to the Westfield Farmers’ Market schedule.

“Several other western Massachusetts towns have winter markets and our vendors have requested that we continue ours throughout the winter,” said Debbie Randzio, who co-manages the market with Peter Langmore. “We tried two Saturdays last year on an experimental basis, and they were very successful and well attended.”
Randzio noted that the market committee sought to feature the winter markets around Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Valentine’s Day.
Market committee members joining Randzio and Langmore include Maria Parent, treasurer; Kate Pighetti, cooking demonstrations; Donna Tatlock-Calkins, Judy Harvester, Lynn Hayward and Mike Cassanelli, who oversees the “crew.”
Randzio added that 21 additional volunteers help staff the market in jobs ranging from set-up and take-down, managing the website and Facebook pages, and organizing and recruiting musicians, to processing SNAP transactions and performing hosting duties.
“We are always in need of more volunteers,” said Randzio.
Randzio is hopeful that area residents will continue to support the market vendors even when the regular season wraps up.
“Winter markets provide farmers the opportunity for income during the winter months when their fields are dormant and they might otherwise have to live on reduced income or find other jobs to make up the difference in their incomes,” said Randzio. “They can sell winter-keeping produce as well as preserved fruits and vegetables, and jams and jellies made from their summer harvest.”
Randzio said many of the regular summer season vendors will return with seasonal products including winter vegetables and squash, jams and jellies, pickles, relishes, soaps and oils, gift baskets, holiday meats, baked goods, mushrooms, pottery and sweets.
“Customers have an opportunity to purchase one-of-a-kind gift items created by local artisans and crafters,” said Randzio. “By attending the winter markets, area residents support local agriculture, fuel the local economy, support healthy communities, and farmland preservation, conservation and education.”

Langmore echoed those sentiments.

“The market is a community gathering place to meet friends and neighbors,” said Langmore. “The market also supports local businesses by bringing traffic downtown and providing a space for start-up businesses to try out their products. Additionally, the market supports local musicians and customers can listen to great music each week for free.”
Randzio noted that the October market will be conducted outdoors and then the market will move indoors for the winter months. The church is ADA accessible with free parking and features an outdoor playground.
Live acoustic music performances will also be a highlight of the market days, added Randzio.
The HIP Program and the $5 SNAP Match, supported by a grant from an anonymous donor, and the Loyalty Card Program, will continue.
For more information, as well as vendor applications, rules and regulations, visit the market website at westfieldfarmersmarket.net, call (413) 562-5461, ext. 101, or send an email to [email protected]
“The application form allows vendors to apply for individual Saturdays or all three winter markets,” said Randzio. “We close applications when the market is full and we run out of space.”

 

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