Berkshire Farmers Markets Bring Local Produce Home
By Ginna Dudney
This year, more than ever, Farmers Markets are enabling families to bring the incredible bounty of the Berkshires home. Unlike large or chain stores, the Markets bring local produce, usually picked that day, directly from the farm to offer to their visitors. These markets serve as more than just a venue to purchase vegetables, however; at best they become a vital center of community life, a place where neighbors can come together to share news and be educated about the benefits about eating fresh while supporting and strengthening local agriculture.
The West Stockbridge Farmers Market is a prime example of that. New last year, it has become an important part of the social life of the village and surrounding towns. The operating hours of 3:00 PM to 7:00 PM on Thursdays were selected to accommodate working local residents as well as the diverse and extensive summer population. From May 23rd until October 10th the Market is open on Merritt Green at Harris Street in the center of the village. A wood oven producing wood-grilled gourmet pizzas makes it a destination spot for young families and workers heading home. Local musicians entertain weekly; weekly games and contests are held; and monthly Special Event Markets including local artists, authors and craftsmen are planned. SNAP, WIC, Senior Coupons, Credit Cards.
The Otis Farmers Market is 6 years old and takes the concept of community service one step further. Every season they select one or two charities to sponsor for the season and have been successful in generating hundreds of dollars for their beneficiaries every year. It’s a 75% growers market and operates at L & M Auto/Papa’s Healthy Food and Fuel, 2000 East Otis Road, on Saturdays from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM from May 11th until October 12th. WIC, Senior Coupons.
The oldest operating market in the Berkshires is the Williamstown Market, now in its 28th year of operation. At the base of Spring Street, the Market operates on Saturdays from 9:00 AM until 1:00 PM from May 25th to October 12th. www.williamstownfarmersmarket.org
Only slightly younger, the Great Barrington Farmers Market is now entering its 22nd year and prides itself as being a 100% producer-only market. Located at the Historic Train Station behind the Town Hall at the intersection of Taconic Avenue and Castle Street, the Market operates every Saturday from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM, Mother’s Day weekend until the last weekend in October. SNAP, WIC, Senior Coupons, Credit Cards.
At the other end of the spectrum, the newest market in the area is the Downtown Pittsfield Market, new this season. This market is collaboration among Alcherny Initiative, Downtown Pittsfield, and the City of Pittsfield. With its catchy motto: Get Fresh with Us!, it is a producers-only market that promises to be a lively, exciting venue to the Pittsfield social and commercial scenes.
A more established market in Pittsfield also operates at the Berkshire Mall Parking Lot next to Sears. The Lanesboro Farmers Market is open on Wednesdays and Saturdays From 8:00 AM until 2:00 PM from May 1st to November 27th. WIC, Senior Coupons.
The Sheffield Farmers Market’s theme is “Healthy Farms, Healthy Food, Healthy You” and it strives to create a market that will become a regular stop on a shopping trip to bring in provisions for every weekend during the season. It’s open from 2:30 PM to 6:30 PM from until Octoberin the parking lot of the Old Parish Church on South Main Street.
The Lee Farmers Market operates on Fridays as well from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM from May 10th until October 11th. It’s next to the Post Office at 35 Prank P. Consolati Way.
It is our privilege to be surrounded by such incredible bounty! As local farmers harvest their crops, make an effort to share in that bounty! You won’t regret it!