Last call for vendors goes out as preliminary list is announced.
By CAROL ROBIDOUX
Union Leader Correspondent
DERRY – Countdown to farm fresh downtown Derry is underway, as the preliminary list of 15 vendors was announced yesterday.
“We had originally projected six to eight vendors, so this is a nice surprise. We will be at full capacity if we get another three vendors, and (market manager) Bev (Ferrante) is still getting calls,” said Stu Arnett, hired to oversee a handful of the town's economic development projects, including orchestrating the market project.
Vendor Patrick Connelly, who runs Field to Fork Farm in Chester, said the opportunity to bring his goods to market so close to home is a perk.
“Until now, I had to go to Exeter to sell,” said Connelly, who runs a small organic CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm, but is slowly growing his business to be able to sell off site.
“I started ramping up production of our laying hens in January – it takes about 22 weeks for a chicken to become a laying hen,” Connolly said. “We're getting there. The eggs are going to start out smaller, but by July or so, we should have larger eggs.”
He said it's also great for residents to be able to buy local, fresh goods and produce, underscoring the national uptick in “locavores,” those who go out of their way to consume locally produced groceries for philosophical reasons.
Connolly said given the trend toward local, he's trying to find the balance between running a small community farm and feeding the hungry masses.
“There's an overwhelming demand for local food lately, and so we're only able to offer a certain amount of meat to customers. We don't want to scale up our production too much, or we'd have a feed lot going, so we're trying to scale up responsibly and make good use of our land,” Connolly said.
Although he will only be bringing certified organic eggs to the downtown market, he also sells goat, beef, pork and chicken from free range livestock through the CSA.
Other vendors signed on for the market include: J& F Farms, Folsom's Sugar House, The Wild Miller Gardens, Mike Gibbons Pottery, Natalie's Coffee, Caroline's Homemade, Rockingham Acres, Jamie's Sweet Temptations, Wicked Good Soaps, The Coffee Factory, Merrill Farm, an herb and spice vendor and some crafters.
Derry's Downtown Farm Market launches July 7 and will run weekly from 3-7 p.m. at the intersection of Broadway and the bike path, at the Town’s “Pocket Park.” Parking will be on-street, and in the nearby municipal lot.
Residents needing to register their vehicles, or pay their Town bills can do double-duty, as the Town Municipal Center is also open until 7 p.m. Wednesdays. The Market is free and open to all.
For further information contact Beverly Ferrante: 434-8974 (home) or Stuart Arnett 419-9154 or 219-0043.