Farmers Market features fresh veggies, fresh faces

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MVM Hana Shiitake mushrooms, available dried or fresh. — Siobhan Beasley

The Vineyard’s one-stop shop for farm-fresh produce starts up on Saturday, June 10, and it is once again time to block off Saturday mornings from 9 to noon. The West Tisbury Farmers Market has been an up-Island staple since 1974, when it was first opened by a small group of growers — it now has over 39 vendors ready for the summer slam every weekend at the Grange Hall. “There are a few changes,” co-manager Lily Walter told The Times, “but for the most part the market will be the same great experience that it has been for the past 40-plus years.”

The Farmers’ Market is under the new management of Lily Walter and Collins Heavener of Slip Away Farm on Chappaquiddick. They are excited to take on this new venture as co-managers, after Wendy Oliver and Rusty Gordon stepped down this past fall.

A big change for the market is music. Kevin Keady, who played at every Saturday market for nearly a decade and was the lead singer for the Cattle Drivers, has moved to Western Massachusetts. To fill his spot, Mr. Heavener has lined up a number of rotating artists to play each weekend. Willy Mason, Rob Myers, and Ellen and Taurus Biskis are a few names people can expect.

Another big change is the market’s no-pet policy. According to Ms. Walters, dogs are a board of health and safety concern. Vendors in the past have had problems with pets eating off display tables, getting into fights, frightening customers, and urinating on market booths.

“It has been a concern for the past 20 years, and became too challenging to manage,” Ms. Walter said. “So everyone, please remember to leave your pups at home.”

Two vendors will accept a new food assistance program called HIP. It allows individuals who qualify for the federal SNAP program to spend their dollars at the participating booths — Morning Glory and Slip Away farms.

Ms. Walters is most excited about the market’s new vendors — Head Kombucha, Wandering Farm, Acorn Farm, and Pasture Prime Farm. She and Mr. Heavener have been hard at work making sure the start of the season runs smoothly.

“There’s lots of paperwork to file each year with the board of health and town hall, musicians to line up, new signage to order, vendor meetings to attend,” she said. “And — remembering that we have our own farm booth at the market — food to grow!”

 

The West Tisbury Farmers Market will be open on Saturdays beginning June 10, and continues through Oct. 7. Follow them on Instagram @westtisburyfarmersmarket for all the latest updates and announcements.