As if the early sunsets and frigid temperatures weren’t bad enough, the coming of winter also signals an end to all that great fresh, local produce we’ve enjoyed all summer and fall, right?
Wrong. The Valley’s rich—and growing ever richer—in winter farmers’ markets and fares, including, this Saturday, Dec. 18, the first Springfield Winter Fare, at Springfield Technical Community College, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The fare is organized by Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture, or CISA, which last year introduced a successful one-day winter fare in Northampton. That event, plus a popular fare held in Greenfield every year since 2008, have “really shown the amazing bounty of stuff that’s available in winter,” and offered a great place for local farmers to sell their goods, CISA program coordinator Claire Morenon told me earlier this week. Springfield, with its successful summer farmers’ markets and its community focus on improving public health and access to healthy food, felt like a logical place for CISA to expand its efforts, she said.
Saturday’s market will feature 15 local vendors selling products including apples, pears, squash, meat, eggs, cheese, stone-milled floor, salad and cooking greens, and root vegetables, as well as items made from local products, like jams, maple products and baked goods. The fare will also have one non-food vendor, who will sell soaps and lotions made from goat’s milk.
Vendors at the market will accept Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, credits (what used to be called food stamps), with CISA matching the first $5 of all SNAP purchases.
Shoppers can fuel up at a soup café (bring your own mug to help cut down on waste) and attend free workshops on topics like eating local and healthy on a budget, cooking with kids, and urban gardening. And, taking a page from the Greenfield Winter Fare, the event will also include a barter market, at 1 p.m., where people who preserve food at home can swap their extras.
While the Winter Fare offers a great shopping opportunity—here’s your chance to make your holiday meals local—Morenon also sees it as a community event. “I hope people will come and hang out, chat with friends,” she said.
Springfield also has a regular winter farmer’s market, held the second and fourth Saturdays of the month (excepting Christmas), from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Forest Park.