ARLINGTON — The Arlington Village Farmers Market is opening three weeks earlier this year in an effort to offer more early-season fruits and vegetables that have been grown locally. For the fifth summer in a row, the market has grown with new farmers and crafters. This year’s additions include several food truck options.
“We are a Friday evening market” said Jessica Roberts, the market manager, “and that means people were always hungry around market time.”
This year they have added a wood fired pizza vendor who will be making fresh pizzas on site, using locally produced items from farms at the market. A cheese vendor has also expanded into cheeseburgers and other hot sandwiches, using locally produced Vermont beef and handmade cheeses. In all, they expect five food truck vendors to be rotating through during various market weeks.
Music has always been part of the market and shoppers can enjoy a free concert while they stroll the market for both groceries and gifts.
“We have produce vendors, meat vendors, crafters, quilters, potters, bakers, beekeepers, and different bands all the time”, said Roberts. “Each week we expect a slightly different variety and new vendors.” A schedule of their music series can be found at www.arlingtonvillagefarmersmarket.com.
New to the market for 2022 is a kids’ entrepreneurship program starting this July.
“Kids sign up at the market in June, and submit a simple business plan. This really makes them think about how they want to design and run their table. We will give them tips, and let them come back for a second week to try to increase their sales,” said Roberts. “Since we are a producer-only market, that goes for the kids, too. They can sell basically anything they produce themselves: food or drinks, or crafts and gifts.”
Food dollars can be stretched at the market with Vermont’s Crop Cash program. Shoppers can use their EBT or P-EBT cards to buy groceries, and they get an extra $10 when they spend $10. The Crop Cash can only be spent on produce, so shoppers leave with more fresh fruits and vegetables.
“Sometimes locally hand-grown food is at a premium,” Jessica explains, “and this allows shoppers with very limited food dollars to support local agriculture while bringing home additional healthy food, too! We really appreciate the local support and we work hard at the market to bolster local farms and farmers.”
In an effort to make the market family-friendly, the Power of Produce Club is back for another year. Sponsored locally, this program provides an activity at the market, which earns Pop Bucks for each child. The children can then spend their Pop Bucks on fresh produce, picking out things they want to take home and try.
“We get a lot of kids who focus on fruits, but we also get kids who buy vegetables or herbs or even live plants. One child bought a lot of vegetables and sent us pictures of a vegetable soup he made himself. One little girl tried radishes for the first time and liked them so much she asked her mom to help her plant a radish garden,” Roberts said. “POP Club only runs in August, so we try to space out events, and have lots of new things happening all summer long.”
The Arlington Village Farmers Market opens June 3, and continues each Friday until Sept. 9. The market is open at the Arlington Rec Park, 148 Rec Park Road, from 4-7:00 p.m., and is a rain or shine market.
“Even when it’s rainy, local farmers have food to sell, so grab an umbrella,” Roberts said. “Unless it’s really stormy, we will be here!”