Q&A: Paula Connors, Winter Farmers’ Market volunteer

Putting on the Winter Farmers’ Market takes a big effort each week. What motivates you and the other volunteers to make it happen?
It’s important that our local growers have a place to sell their food year-round. Over the last several years it’s been wonderful to watch the local food market adapt to having a winter market. Established vendors plant more root vegetables they can store and sell. Others have built high-tunnels and hoop houses to extend their growing seasons. In addition, we’re a great place for new vendors to test the waters for their products.

How is the winter market different from the summer market?
Holding our market indoors means that we’re much more compact. You can walk in the front door and immediately see who’s there – both vendors and customers. Our smaller size makes it a little more personal. The vendors are right next to each other and can visit during the market. They also have more time to talk to the customers.

What’s the most surprising thing people will discover at the Winter Market?
The variety of food our vendors offer. Every year new people discover us and are surprised at everything we have in the middle of winter. They expect baked goods and crafts – like a church basement Christmas fair. However we have so much more than that – meat, eggs, cheese, apples, root vegetables, hydroponic lettuce, spinach, honey, maple syrup, AND delicious baked goods. We also have the best breakfast sandwich in town thanks to East Mill Bake Shop.

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