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Fresh, Friendly, & Fun: Something for Everyone at the Salem Farmers’ Market

By Keith Spencer of Nobo Magazine with Photos by John Andrews of Social Palates

The Salem Farmers’ Market attracts about 3,000 visitors with more than 30 vendors from North of Boston. 

SALEM – Over the last few years, I’ve been fortunate to visit more than a dozen farmers’ markets across the NoBo region. Each was an adventure in their own way, yet the Salem Farmers’ Market offers patrons the power to purchase a variety of traditional and unique offerings unlike others North of Boston

“This year’s market has a wide variety of vendors, and shows the breadth of produce and products the many farms and companies are producing right here in Salem and the North Shore” said Kylie Sullivan, manager of Salem Main Streets who operates the market.

Today’s market is held on Thursdays through December, averaging almost 3,000 visitors per week with 30 vendors, however, the tradition dates back to 1634. The market met its peak in 1930 with more than 40 vendors selling goods from collapsible wooden stalls with an estimated 10,000 people visiting on a single Saturday.

“The growth the market has seen in recent years shows the desire to have fresh, local produce and other products available for as long as the weather cooperates,” Kylie added.

  Karen Scalia of Salem Food Tours introduces visitors to Salem Spice. © Social Palates Photography

Karen Scalia of Salem Food Tours introduces visitors to Salem Spice. © Social Palates Photography

This fun, fresh, and friendly market has a plentiful selection that includes the highest quality produce, spices, pasta, fish, and more. The market features 30 vendors with some returning every other week, including Maitland Mountain Farm, Heavens Harvest Farm, Rowand Seafood, Sweet Lydia’s, Far From The Tree Cider, and many others. Visitors will certainly find what they came to purchase as well as many interesting or unexpected items they hadn’t expected to encounter.

“The market makes Salem a more vibrant and welcoming community for residents and visitors alike,” says Salem Food Tours operator Karen Scalia who brings guests to the market on her farm-to-table tour.

“There’s something amazing about interacting with the vendors, learning about what you’re eating, and finding new ways to spice up your cooking.”

The Salem Farmers’ Market offers an opportunity to actually interact with local farmers who work so very hard to produce the abundance of fresh foods available. This meet and greet allows visitors to ask farmers questions, from what they’re growing and expecting later in the season to offering personal tipsto help you out in your own garden or in the kitchen.

The market extends beyond the farm, promoting other entrepreneurs, mostly in the food industry, that are making the highest quality, Massachusetts-made products. From soaps to cider, there’s much more than produce each and every Thursday.

It’s also a great opportunity for community members to to learn about the mission of some featured organizations trying make a difference in the community, including Salem RecyclesPhillips House MuseumBig Brothers Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay, and others.

These informational booths are also accompanied by wide-ranging entertainment each week, including cooking demos from local chefs and restaurants, music performances, and other activities suitable for so many.

 Cookie Monstah is a crowd favorite! 

Cookie Monstah is a crowd favorite! 

Purchasing produce and artisan products not only keeps our farmers and entrepreneurs in business, but also helps develop a better sense of community that is rarely replicated on such a regular basis.

Supporting our local farmers helps to continue our region’s rich agricultural heritage, allowing them to avoid selling their fields for development all the while enhancing the quality of life in the downtown Salem area. Besides, eating from a viable, local food source has numerous long-term health benefits for you and your family.

With a large number of residents within walking distance and crowds of summer tourists, a trip to the Salem Farmers’ Market is the best way to practice NoBo’s Go Local mantra. Offerings may sometimes stray a bit from the norm, but there’s always something to look forward to when visiting the Salem Farmers’ Market.

Where? Derby Square on Front Street in Salem, MA

When? Every Thursday through December 18, 2014 from 3PM to 7PM

For a full list of the market’s current vendors, click hereFor more information, visitwww.salemfarmersmarket.org, and follow them on Twitter and Facebook!

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