The arrival of summer ushers in a season of fresh produce, with local farmers’ markets connecting residents to food that grows nearby.
In Ashfield, the farmers’ market season kicked off on May 21 and will run until October 29, with the exception of October 8, which marks Ashfield’s annual autumn festival. From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday, vendors set up shop on the Main Street commune.
The market is relatively small, receiving a maximum of 100 visitors a day, according to organizers.
The event manager is Dan Greene of Good Bunch Farm. Greene, a graduate of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, has worked as a vendor at farmers’ markets like Ashfield – as well as markets in Shelburne Falls, Worthington, Cummington, Blandford and Huntington – since 2009. Greene believes that, Since the vendors know their wares inside out, shopping at a farmers market is a more authentic experience than buying food at a big box store.
Running the Farmers’ Market has not been without its challenges. Greene recalled how, despite the raging pandemic, the market was able to operate in the summer of 2020, but with restrictions such as regulating the number of customers, spacing everything out and requiring all participants to wear masks. The following year, however, the market was able to operate almost normally, with masks and social distancing required only for the unvaccinated.
Carin Freeman, of Freeman Farm in Heath, sells organic pastured meats at the Ashfield Farmers Market. According to the Freeman Farm website, its animals “are not given antibiotics or growth hormones. They live without confinement with vast pastures. The farm raises grass-fed beef and pastured pork. In season, the farm also produces maple syrup and grows organic vegetables.
Abby Ferla of Foxtrot Farm in Ashfield brings plants to the farmer’s market. According to Ferla, Foxtrot Farm aims to cultivate “climate-resistant botanical herbs and plants.” Ferla, who has worked on small farms across the country, noted that Foxtrot Farm only has a stall at the Ashfield Farmers’ Market a few times a year but has managed to come for the past five years.
Max Pollard of Bread Euphoria in Haydenville sells bread and pastries. Bread Euphoria has been a mainstay at the Ashfield Farmers’ Market, selling there since 1998. Pollard intends to continue the family tradition, noting that Bread Euphoria expects to be at the market year-round.
Holly Westcott of Heart Beet Gardens in Ashfield sells microgreens and other salad greens. Heart Beet Gardens grows its products using organic practices, with an emphasis on balancing soil minerals and supporting soil life. The farm also offers egg sandwiches with croissants donated by Bread Euphoria and eggs from its hens. Heart Beet Gardens has been selling at Ashfield Farmers Market every year since 2017, with the exception of 2020 due to the pandemic.
For a full list of vendors and more information on the Ashfield Farmers Market, visit ashfieldfarmersmarket.org.