North Reading Farmers Market ends its five-year run

Feb 13, 2020 by

Published February 13, 2020


AT LAST summer’s Farmers Market, long lines of kids waited for balloon creations. The market will not be returning in 2020 after a run of five summers. (Cambia Davis Photo)

NORTH READING — The Farmers Market Committee had a momentous decision to make when they met Wednesday evening, February 5. They had to decide whether or not to continue the Farmers Market this summer.

The two members who had led the organization of the market for five years, Ken Tarr and Margie Salt, needed others to step up and assume more of the leadership, as they had new responsibilities and had to step back.

None of the assistant members of the committee felt able to fill the huge roles Ken and Margie had played so, reluctantly, the six members present at this meeting decided to cancel the market due to several factors.

Our market did not generate enough regular shoppers to make it profitable for the vendors, especially the farmers who put so much time and effort into loading their trucks, driving, displaying, selling, reloading and then unloading their varied produce. Was this because so many market options are available, such as CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) and online ordering for home delivery, as well as Farmers Markets in neighboring towns?

Perhaps the one-afternoon-per-week (with the possibility of rain) is too uncertain or the location in Ipswich River Park is so off-the-beaten-track that it’s inconvenient for a lot of folks. Whatever the reasons, the North Reading Farmers Market, sadly, will not be available any more.

Several nearby towns host Farmers Markets. On Thursdays, Melrose, Stoneham and Medford have Farmers Markets. On Saturdays, Wakefield, Andover and Tewksbury have markets. On Sundays, Wilmington and North Andover have markets. Dozens more towns in Massachusetts and New Hampshire have Farmers Markets, too, so determined Farmers Markets fans can buy local, even in winter.

The committee is grateful to all the many loyal sponsors, customers, vendors, community groups and entertainers who have contributed in so many ways to the North Reading Farmers Market.

The team thanks our sponsors including: The Savings Bank, Vinum Wine Shop and Classified Realty Group, who helped pay for our reusable shopping bags.

Thanks go out to the vendors: farmers, bakeries, fishmonger, lemonade and Kettlecorn makers, balloon sculptors, pasta makers, craftspeople, and others.

Much appreciated are the high schoolers who helped with the kids table, the non-profit and public service groups and others who shared their good works with the North Reading community. The wonderful musicians who entertained shoppers and workers at the Market deserve a hearty round of applause.

Besides Ken Tarr and Margie Salt, the dedicated, hard-working team included Jerrilyn Rinaldi, MaryAnn Veneziano, Robin Boucher, Nancy Wolfe, Gillian Stuto, William Reed and myself.

The Farmers Market Team says: “It has been a pleasure to be able to offer this market to the community and we are all sad to see it go.” 

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