MERIDEN – A local farmers market is set to reopen for its 12th season on Saturday on the Meriden Green. The market will have many new and old vendors and live music.
From fresh produce to jewelry to a breakfast stand, visitors can find a bit of everything while supporting local businesses, farmers and performing artists.
“We just wanted to have fresh fruits and vegetables, especially for our urban center,” said Councilman Michael Rohde, former mayor and chairman of the Farmers’ Market. “Many [urban centers] are considered a desert because there are not enough fresh food opportunities for families.”
All vendors come from farms and stores within 10 miles, Rohde said.
The products “are picked the day before, our customers thus benefit from the best possible freshness”, he continued.
There will be plenty of booths for community groups, such as the Community Health Center and Friends of Meriden Public Library, to raise funds and educate on different topics. They have also partnered with UCONN’s expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program to provide customers with multiple recipes, tastings and tips for eating healthy on site.
Later in the season, the market plans to work with community groups, such as the Chamber of Commerce and the Board of Education, to hold themed market days, said Mark Kosnoff, co-founder and dedicated volunteer since inception. of the market.
In 2017, organizers held a “back to school” market day with bouncy houses, face painting, a DJ, prizes and information booths for parents to ask questions about the upcoming school year.
The average attendance can be 200-300 people.
“It’s almost like having a fair,” Kosnoff said. “When you’re there you feel very alive. There’s a sense of community because a lot of people will come downstairs just to buy a few items, but they’ll stay for an hour because they see other people than they know. .”
For people on a tight budget, the Market has made getting fresh food more accessible through its Double Dollar Program, which is funded by donations Rohde’s has collected from foundations and contributors.
There is a designated booth where customers can surrender their Farmers Market Nutrition Program and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) coupons. They will then receive double the amount offered by the coupon.
For example, if a person submits a coupon for $4, they will receive $8 which they can use at the market.
More people have come into the market since the dual-dollar program launched four years ago, Kosnoff said.
“It’s good for the market because we get publicity,” he said. “It’s good for customers because they get extra money to spend and the farmers are doing well.”
The market will be open every Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to noon until October.
Health equity reporter Cris Villalonga-Vivoni is a corps member of Report for America, a national service program that places reporters in local newsrooms. To learn more about RFA, go to www.reportforamerica.org. Villalonga can be contacted at [email protected]