Eat Healthy and Fresh at a Farmers Market

Eat Healthy and Fresh at a Farmers Market

By Sarah Wright

Whether you’re entertaining at home, or interested in eating healthier home-cooked meals, a farmers market offers plenty of options. Shopping at a farmers market is a trend that’s here to stay, with new markets popping up every summer. More and more people want to know where their food is coming from. I’ve been going to a local market for the past few years, and the crowds have grown substantially…along with the variety of vendors. Not only can consumers purchase locally grown fruits and vegetables, there’s also goat cheese, eggs, baked goods, honey, farm-raised meats, flowers, and even gluten-free options available at today’s markets.

Wolfeboro Area Farmers Market, Clark Park, Wolfeboro. Courtesy photo

Wolfeboro Area Farmers Market, Clark Park, Wolfeboro. Courtesy photo

By shopping at a farmers market, you’re getting quality, fresh products for a fraction of the price, supporting local businesses, and socializing within your community. I know that I appreciate being able to meet with local vendors and ask questions about their products. Although there are winter farmers markets, there’s nothing like shopping at an outdoor market on a beautiful summer’s day. Here are some wonderful farmers markets to visit in the Lakes Region.

One of the newest markets in the area is Gilmanton’s Own Market in the Four Corners Brick House at 525 Province Road in Gilmanton. Gilmanton’s Own is a non-profit association aimed to preserve and promote agricultural opportunities in Gilmanton and to provide farmers with a voice and outlet to distribute local products. This will keep farming viable and vibrant in the community. This year, the market opened for the season in April. Many products are available, as well as meat, fresh bread and other baked goods, syrups, honeys, jams, mustards, soda, spices, soaps, and even clothing and other artisanal items. Local produce will be offered as it comes into season. Hours are Thursdays from 1 to 5 pm, Saturdays from 10 am to 5 pm, and Sundays from noon to 4 pm. For more information, visit www.gilmantonsown.wordpress.com.

Did you know the Laconia Farmers Market has been around for over 40 years? This market provides customers with fresh vegetables, garlic, herbs, fruits, berries, natural meats, delicious farmstead jams and jellies, baked goods, artisan breads, and a selection of unique handmade crafts. There are organic and gluten-free products as well. The market also accepts credit cards and SNAP/EBT cards. The Laconia Farmers Market is located in the City Hall parking lot on Beacon St. and is open on Saturdays from 8:30 am to noon, from June through September. For information and dates the market is open, visit www.laconiafarmersmarket.com.

The Gilford Farmers Market is located at the Benjamin Rowe House at 88 Belknap Mountain Road. At this market, which is hosted by the Thompson-Ames Historical Society, you’ll find fruits and vegetables, flowers and plants, dairy and maple products, baked goods, farm meats, and crafts. There’s also music, face painting, and Rowe House tours with educational exhibits. The Gilford Farmers Market is open from mid-June through September, from 9 am to noon on Saturdays. Visit their Facebook page for the most up-to-date information.

The Wolfeboro Farmers Market at Clark Park on South Main St. will be open on Thursdays in June until October 3, from 12:30 to 4:30 pm. At this market, you’ll find produce, baked goods, cheeses, honey, milk, farm meats, flowers, dog treats, herbs, soap, wool products, vegan ice cream, and seafood, with options for lunch as well. There were over 30 vendors at last summer’s market, so you’re bound to find what you’re looking for. The market also accepts SNAP benefits. Visit www.wolfeboroareafarmersmarket.com.

The Wakefield Marketplace, on the corner of Wakefield Road and Route 16, is open through October 5 on Saturdays, from 9 am to 3 pm. There will be many farmers this year offering fresh produce, flowers, jellies, pickles, farm fresh eggs, dairy products, maple syrup, baked goods, and farm meat. Artisans will be selling hand-painted and sewn items, knitted and crocheted creations, jewelry, wood products, and other unique crafts. For further information, visit www.wakefieldmarketplace.org.

Visit the Farmington Farmers Market on the Congregational Church side lawn at the corner of Central and Main Streets, and you will find seasonal vegetables, plants, homemade goods such as pies, jams, quilts, dog biscuits, hats, and even pot holders. The market is open on Saturdays until October 5, from 8:30 am to 1 pm.

Farmers Market tomatoes

Farmers Market tomatoes

The Tamworth Farmers Market is located in the Unitarian Church parking lot at 30 Tamworth Road (Rt. 113) on Saturdays, from 9 am to 1 pm, through October 26. Fresh fruits and vegetables are available, along with flowers and plants, cheeses, mushrooms, maple syrup, herbs, baked goods, farm meat, hard cider, prepared food, artisan demonstrations, and crafts. Enjoy musical entertainment as you browse vendors. For details, visit www.tamworthfarmersmarket.org.

Check out the Sandwich Farmers Market, open until Columbus Day in October, on Saturdays from 9 to 11:30 am and also on Wednesdays from 4 to 6 pm. Visit the market at the Corner House on Vittum Hill Road in Center Sandwich for locally grown produce, seedlings, meat, eggs, coffee, flowers, breads, soap, handmade crafts, and more.

The Bristol Farmers Market & Craft Fair has been at the Mill Stream Park on Route 3A for four years. Sponsored by the Bristol Lion’s Club, the fair is an opportunity for locals to share their produce and products every Saturday from 10 am to 2 pm until October. Vendors’ items include organic fruits and veggies, goat milk products, yogurt, bread, eggs, maple syrup, jams, jellies, pies, fudge, and dessert items. Crafts vary from wooden bowls, baskets, clocks, and kitchen serving items, to canes, cutting boards, jewelry, pottery, birdhouses, photography, hand painted art, wind chimes, pillows, handbags, quilts, and much more.

The New Hampton Farmers Market is located at the Town House off Rt. 104 in New Hampton. The market is open Saturdays, 9 am to noon from June to October. The market features locally grown and freshly picked produce. There will also be for sale locally made crafts and even raw milk. In the past, live music has added to the festive atmosphere at the market; call 968-9530 for updates.

Farmers markets are open rain or shine, and some now accept credit cards and SNAP/EBT cards. To add to the experience, many markets feature musicians. Farmers markets promote local agriculture, while also helping consumers make more educated choices about their food purchases. Whether you’re shopping for everyday meals or hosting guests for a backyard barbeque, purchasing food for a picnic, or just spending time browsing the community market, farmers markets enrich our lives. Experience one this summer! It is advised to call ahead for hours and dates.

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