The Haverhill Farmers Market is open again for its 41st season — and the market's second straight year at the Merrimack Street parking deck.
Open each Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. in front of the parking deck, the market runs through Oct. 26. Vendors sell farm-fresh fruits and vegetables, baked goods, prepared foods, hummus, local wines, mead and hard cider, honey, fresh breads, handmade soaps, doggie treats and other items. The market will also feature live music, food demonstrations, and activities for kids.
"We are excited to welcome several new vendors, including a gourmet kale chip maker, a gourmet cookie baker as well as gluten free baked goods, a hot and sweet sauce vendor and a spice blend vendor, along with several vendors offering hot, prepared foods for breakfast and lunch,” said Jeff Grassie, market organizer. "We also have several local farms with their produce and goods."
Of all of the returning vendors, the biggest request has been for the return of Alan Baxter of On Edge Knife Sharpening.
"Last year, our customers loved having their knives and tools sharpened," Grassie said. "Typically, they drop off their items before they shop then pick them up when ready."
Customers looking for locally grown vegetables may have to wait another week or two.
"Because of all the rain, we're behind about two weeks," said Marlene Stasinos, who operates Chris' Farm Stand on Salem Street in Bradford. "Normally we have our cold crops of lettuce, beets, carrots, spinach and kale, which other local farmers may have, but our soil wasn't warm enough to plant seeds and have them germinate in time to harvest .... We do, however, expect to offer strawberries and possibly romaine lettuce."
Team Haverhill members Grassie and his wife, Lisa Marzilli, organize this outdoor market and have partnered with several Haverhill groups, including Haverhill's Brightside, the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce and Greater Haverhill Foundation, Creative Haverhill, and the city of Haverhill to beautify and make the area green with plantings.
"One plus of the location is the ability to go beneath the (parking) deck on rainy days, which happened five times last summer," Grassie said.
The market area has been dressed up with a colorful, 300-foot long mural of fruits and vegetables designed and painted by local artists Jenny Arndt and Grassie and sponsored by the Greater Haverhill Foundation. New pole banners in front of the market announce the new location and bring a burst of color to Merrimack Street.
"I've been to a lot of farmers markets and I've never seen anything like this mural," Grassie said.
In partnership with Community Action, WIC and EBT/SNAP cards are accepted at the market. This allows the market to provide greater access to fresh local foods while supporting local farmers.
Market sponsors include Jordan Financial and Insurance Services, Haverhill Bank, Anna Jaques Hospital, Rotary Club of Haverhill, Early Contractors Inc., and Pentucket Bank.