Manchester Farmers' Market opens downtown for the season
By Martha Marteney - Staff Writer
Manchester - posted Tue., Jul. 12, 2011
“I was afraid I’d missed the first day,” said Doreen Stiehler of Manchester, on July 9, which was actually the opening day of the Manchester Farmers’ Market. The market runs on Saturday mornings from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the municipal parking lot on the corner of Main and Forest streets. The market will continue through the end of October.
“I love it,” said Kathleen Preli, of Dondero Orchards. “It’s a good, small market to be at.” Dondero Orchards sells a large variety of fruits, including berries, peaches, plums and apples, as well as vegetables. There are also jams and pickles made from their own fruits and vegetables.
“We try to buy local,” said John Evaniski, of Coventry. “Organic is good, and fresh is better.” Evaniski and his wife, Lori, came to Manchester especially for the market.
Allen Valli, of Valli’s Organic Garden, sells the market’s only organic produce. He offers a variety of vegetables, including greens, beets, squash and cucumbers, as well as garlic and herbs. “I love growing vegetables,” said Valli, “and this is a good market to be at.” On the first day of the market, he had window boxes of flowering zinnias, ready to brighten anyone’s backyard or deck. Later in the season, Valli will also have his local honey for sale.
Rick Valeriay of East Hartford has a special routine on Saturday mornings in the summer. He comes to downtown Manchester for breakfast, then heads to the farmers’ market. “I love coming to the farmers’ market,” said Valeriay, “and I love cooking.” Among other items, he selected from produce and garlic for his pasta and grilled corn dish.
Manchester resident Maryam Khan comes to this market on Saturdays and the
The market started more than 30 years ago. Howard Jacob, one of the founding members, is still the market manager. His wife, Cheryl, is a constant at the Unity Farm booth, along with her granddaughter, Kelsie. Unity Farm is located on Hillstown Road in Manchester and grows a full line of vegetables, including corn, tomatoes, beans, cucumbers, squash and a large variety of peppers. According to Jacob, there will be at least one more farmer and a fresh cut flower vendor at the upcoming markets.
In addition to food items, customers can also select from jewelry and afghans. South Windsor resident Baoutl Ahghari sells the items that are handmade by her sister. The jewelry often features turquoise in the necklaces, bracelets and earrings.
The Manchester Farmers’ Market is certified to accept the WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) coupons. The $3 coupons can be used to purchase locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables only at certified markets. For more information about the coupons, call 211 or visit the website at www.infoline.org. A similar coupon program is also available for seniors.