Union Leader Correspondent
DERRY – What began as a big idea eight months ago has finally fast-tracked to fruition, as the downtown Farmers Market ceremoniously debuts today with a ribbon cutting ceremony at 3 p.m.
“It is very gratifying to see how the Market is bringing our community together. Merchants, property owners, and the farmers have all been very helpful and positive,” said market manager Beverly Ferrante, who was busy yesterday tying up various loose ends.
“It's like following a vapor trail, trying to pin Bev down,” said Stu Arnett, who was hired to oversee the town's economic development for a few pet projects – this being one of them.
Yesterday Arnett was joined by Planning Director George Sioras and local businessman Bud Evans at the corner on Manning Street and West Broadway, where lines have been drawn on the pavement to designate where the 17 vendors will set up tables.
“We have room for one more vendor – there's always room for one more,” said Arnett, who is hoping for a break in the heat wave today to encourage more foot traffic to the market.
Evans, who operates Derry Seed & Supply, a cornerstone of the downtown community for more than 60 years, is one of the 17 vendors who have signed on for this experiment in open-air marketing. He is also allowing the market to spill over onto this parking lot.
“We'll have samples of holistic, grain-free pet food, which is in keeping with the theme of the market,” said Evans.
Sioras said bringing in a downtown market has been on the drawing board ever since the 2009 community profile. After Councilor Janet Fairbanks and former Town Councilor Brent Carney brought the idea formally before the council, the newly formed Downtown Committee shepherded the project through a feasibility study assisted by Arnett, and then Ferrante was hired to bring everything together.
“(Council Chair) Brad (Benson) should get an 'atta boy' for allowing the town to use this space,” said Evans, referring to the lot on the corner, next to what's called Pocket Park, where vendors will be stationed.
Ultimately, it was an exercise in cooperation, said Arnett, bringing out the best in everyone involved.
In addition to the 17 vendors, entertainment will be provided by Let's Play Music, a local music school.
Today's ribbon cutting will be televised on Channel 17, the town's community cable station. In addition to town officials, New Hampshire Agricultural Commissioner Lorraine Merrill will be on hand for the official launch.
The following vendors are participating in the market and will bring various seasonal goods, including:
J&F Farms: assorted vegetables, fruit, honey, salsa, sauces, jams, cut flowers, herbs, beef, eggs, pork and cheese;
Caroline's Homemade: pies, quick breads, cookies, fruit spreads, eggs;
Oliver Merrill & Sons: apples, peaches, pears, plums, cherries, vegetables, eggs, sunflowers, cut flowers and potted plants;
Field to Fork Farms: organic eggs;
Folsom Sugar House: maple syrup, maple sugar, maple cream, candy, sauces, mustard, maple popcorn, seasonings, pottery;
Rockingham Acres: container gardens, table fountains, terrariums, gift carrds, flowers, plants, hanging baskets;
Kittredge Farms: assorted vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers;
Sharon Guillette/Wendy Camona: handmade jewelry, scarves, baby blankets, crafts;
Wicked Good Soaps: soaps, bath bombs, bath salts, sugar scrubs, massage candles;
Nutfield Pottery: pottery;
The Coffee Factory: coffee beans, grinders, baked goods, honey, iced coffee, smoothies;
Wild Miller Farm: Garlic, eggs, pork, berries, squash, pumpkin, swiss chard, leeks, shallots, corn, potatoes, flowers;
Hippie Chick Herbal Remedies: herbs, lavender, chamomile, eucalyptus, lip balms, organic lotions, herbal oils, homemade bath products;
Rig-A-Tony's: homemade bread and baked goods;
Natalie's Coffee: coffee and herbal tea, hand made coffee bean earrings, hand-made table runners;
Wisteria Flower Shoppe: locally grown cut bouquets, dried floral gifts, wreaths, home décor;
Derry Feed & Supply: holistic all-natural pet food.
The market will run for 14 Wednesdays through Oct. 13. For further information please call Ferrante at 434-8974 or Arnett at 219-0043.