As Shelburne Farmers Market prepares to begin its 11th season on the Parade Ground in the heart of the village this Saturday, there is a lot to celebrate. It has grown through the years, it continues to add new products, new vendors and new services, but its original goal remains true: to benefit the economy of Shelburne by creating a convenient place for shoppers to buy locally grown and manufactured products from the people who grow and make them.
When Shelburne Business and Professional Association launched the Farmers Market in the summer of 2006, it was a daring new venture and there was no guarantee that it would succeed. But it quickly established itself as one of the best and most popular markets in the state, with an easily accessible location, a carefully balanced mix of agricultural items, prepared foods, and craft vendors. The scale that made it a popular place for people to spend a Saturday morning sampling and buying quality products, meeting their neighbors, and strengthening the economic fabric of the town.
A testament to the success of the market is the fact that when the Shelburne Farmers Market opens for 2016 on Saturday, May 28, there will be ten vendors who have been at the market since it began. They are Barnhouse Creations, It’s Arthur’s Fault, Mediterranean Mix (formerly called Euro Restaurant), Shelburne Farms, Lalumiere Farmstand-Greenhouse, Rookies Root Beer (it was originally called A Taste of Vermont Catering), Laughing Silver Jewelry (it was Albert & Debra Pike, Silversmiths back then), Sonia’s Salsa, Shelburne Orchard, and Vermont Pickle (originally called Rattlesnake Ridge Country Gourmet).
Things continue to grow and change under the leadership of Market Manager Tod Whitaker. This year there are new vendors: Gabby Tuite and Henry Webb of Old Road Farm in Monkton, who will sell vegetables and kimchi; Jennie Davis of Firefly Flowers in Colchester; Debra Boyer of Vermont Vinegars in Monkton; and Bud Shriner of Charlotte who sells organic vegetables, honey, and herbs.
Add to that the exciting news that the farmers market will now be part of the 3Squares program. 3Squares VT is a program that helps Vermonters stretch their food budgets to put three square meals a day on their tables. This year at Shelburne Farmers Market, families who qualify for 3Squares will be able to use their Electronic Buying Transaction (EBT) debit card to receive tokens to spend at the market for fruits and vegetables, meat, fish, poultry, cereals and grains, dairy products, non-alcoholic beverages and prepared food . An additional benefit for shoppers with an EBT Card is that when they use their card to purchase produce they will receive CropCash, coupons to match up to $10 of their purchases.
Another new convenience this year at the Shelburne Farmers Market will be that shoppers will be able to use credit or debit cards at the 3Squares tent to purchase tokens to spend with market vendors, simplifying transactions with vendors who are not set up to accept credit or debit cards.
Shelburne Farmers Market will be open from 9am to 1pm Saturdays, from May 28 through Oct. 15. Check out the webpage at https://www.facebook.com/Shelburne-Farmers-Market-211647295532710/.