Marlborough Farmers' Market makes a comeback

By Kevin Hotary - Staff Writer
Marlborough - posted Tue., Sep. 6, 2011
Eileen Lumsden buys some produce at the newly-established Marlborough Farmers' Market. Photos by Kevin Hotary.
Eileen Lumsden buys some produce at the newly-established Marlborough Farmers' Market. Photos by Kevin Hotary.

When the decision to cease operation of the Marlborough Village Shop Farmers' Market was made before this season, Harry Childs - owner of Brown Paper Bag Harry’s Farm - was unhappy. He was so unhappy that he decided to take the reins and become market master of the new Marlborough Farmers’ Market, which operates in the same place as the previous market.

“It’s a good market, and it draws a lot of people,” said Childs of the market, which opened in July and runs through the end of October. And despite the difficulty in drawing vendors with a late start, after they had already made other commitments, the market typically has six or seven vendors and draws about 50 to 60 customers per week, said Childs. He hopes to approach the previous market’s numbers by next year.

“We come here as often as we can,” said John Lumsden, who was buying vegetables at Childs’ booth along with his wife, Eileen.

“The food is beautiful,” said Eileen, as she examined the wide array of organic vegetables grown by Childs and his wife, Deva, at their Franklin farm.

The Childs also grow a variety of fruits, including apples, pears and peaches, which they sell from a separate stall at the other end of the row of vendors. That stall is operated by Les Kershnar, who runs the stall for Childs in exchange for some of the food that Childs grows.  He said that they specialize in growing different hybrids: “Things that people like, but that aren’t always available,” he said.
“It gives people an opportunity to try something new,” he said.

In addition to the fruits and vegetables grown by Childs, last week’s market also offered maple syrup and honey products from Sugar Maple Farms in Lebanon, and produce, plants, flowers and herbs from Rose ‘n’ Petal Farm of Colchester. Childs said that a baker, a jeweler, a meat vendor and another vegetable-seller were also planning to come to the market.

“This was a very good market,” said Chuck Haralson of Sugar Maple Farms. He was at the original market, and came back when he received the call from Childs. “It’s been a very well-received market over the years, and it will come back,” he said – a prediction that seemed likely to come to fruition, based on the steady stream of customers who visited each of the stalls.

Like Childs, Haralson and his partner, Jim Jahoda – who has been making maple syrup for about 35 years – keep their product as natural as possible, making only wildflower honey through their 28 bee hives. “We keep the honey as pure as we can,” said Haralson.

Similarly, Donna Rosenblatt, the “Chief Horticultural Officer” of Rose ‘n’ Petal Farm, sells only organic produce and perennial plants, which are grown in soil formulated to match the needs of the plants, and come with detailed planting instructions and a phone number to call Rosenblatt if you have any problems with the plant. “You don’t just buy a plant from us; you buy tech support,” said Rosenblatt.

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