When the city’s muggy heat has got you trapped inside, it’s time to load up the minivan and head coastal with the whole family in tow. Across New England, summer markets are in full swing, selling fresh produce, handmade crafts, and freshly cut flowers. But they don’t stop there. There are plenty of activities to get everyone involved, from live music to cooking classes and kids’ face painting.
Here’s a look at the ten small town markets at the top of the list this year.
#1 Coastal Growers Market (Saunderstown, RI)
Come check out Rhode Island’s Coastal Growers Market every Saturday between May 13-October 28, “rain or shine.”The market runs from 8:30 a.m. until 12:30 p.m., and features dozens of vendors each week, and dozens more rotating vendors. Popular vendors include Barden Family Orchard with fresh blueberries, blackberries, peaches, and nectarines; The Coffee Guy, stocked with decaf and cold brew coffee; and Reynolds Barn complete with everything goat: goat cheese and milk and even goat lotion and soap.
Rotating vendors include Knead Doughnuts, Talulah’s Tacos, Sea Star Glassworks, Jacks Snacks, and Sweet Possibilities, among others.
Lastly, don’t miss out on the live music each week. Kids can participate in fun lawn games as well as tours of the farm from 9a.m.-1p.m. every hour on the hour.
#2 Waitsfield Famers Market (Waitsfield, VT)
Waitsfield Famers Market, located just along the Mad River Green in Waitsfield, runs from May 20th through October 14th, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Saturday.
Vendors sell everything from agricultural items and produce to prepared foods and crafts. Feel free to bring your furry friends along too; all pets are welcome, and many vendors offer products any family pet is sure to love.
Live music takes the stage each week, the perfect chance to unwind and let loose.
#3 Rockport Exchange (Rockport, MA)
You may have heard of Rockport, MA, but be sure to check out this quaint fishing village during summer farmers’market season. Rockport Exchange brings agriculturalists from all over the area to show off their goods and share their expertise with the community.
The market takes places every Saturday between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. from June 17th to October 14th at Harvey Park at the corner of Mt. Pleasant and Broadway.
Market goers come for the sweets and local honey, not to mention all of the fresh seafood. After strolling the market for an hour or two, check out the seaside scenery just a short walk away.
#4 Woodstock Farmers’ Market (Woodstock, VT)
Woodstock Farmers’Market goes by the slogan “Local Food is Love.”And it couldn’t be more obvious, seeing the range of vendors that participate.
From week to week, the market shows off some of the best-loved local foods such as syrups, vegetable pestos, ciders, and coffees. Market goers will get a chance to get the inside scoop from vendors who make their job their life’s passion.
For young kids in the group, Woodstock also offers a kid menu sure to delight, complete with sandwiches and mac n’cheese.
#5 Salem Open Market (Salem, MA)
For centuries, the city of Salem is famous around Halloween time for its lurking shadows, creepy cemeteries, and talk of witchcraft. What better way to get in the mood than to prep the spooky season with a visit to the Salem Open Market at Haunted Happenings. The market takes places the last three weeks in October on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday along Essex Street and Derby Square.
This is definitely not your average summer farmers’market. Most vendors sell handmade crafts—with a catch. It’s everything cooky, crawly, and a little out of the ordinary: skeleton t-shirts, haunted house paintings, figurines, and Halloween-inspired jewelry.
However, the vendors are just a small part of the action here at Salem Open Market. The streets are covered with ghouls and goblins dressed in their finest attire. Street performers and family photos with Frankenstein are all part of the fun.
Alongside the farmers’market is the Salem Food Truck Festival, made up of over 30 trucks and live music. The trucks are located at the Salem Commons from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday, September 30, 2017, and Sunday, October 1, 2017.
#6 Nantucket Grown Food Festival (Nantucket, MA)
Come out to Nantucket’s Grown Food Festival to meet this year’s vendors, and even stop by some live cooking demonstrations. This year’s “grower”vendors include Lazy Man Gardens, Washashore Farm, and Pumpkin Pond Farm, each organically grown. The market also features produce vendors including jams, vanilla extract, and cold-pressed juices. Dozens of artisan vendors come to the market to sell jewelry, mosaic sculptures, prints, paintings, soaps, and hand knits.
Special demonstrations include a visit by Chef Greg ,followed by a sit-down lunch at the Nantucket Culinary.
Kids can get involved in big ways too. From July 10th until the 18th of August, children ages 6-12 can get involved in learning about local agriculture and doing some planting themselves as part of a Farms to School initiative. To check specific dates and times, and to register your family, click here
#7 The Portsmouth Farmers’ Market (Portsmouth, NH)
From May 6th until November 4th, The Portsmouth Famers’Market is open for business. The market is open every Saturday from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. Customers are welcome to pay with debit/cash as well as through SNAP/EBT.
The market is home to dozens of vendors, including Black Kettle Farm, Apple crest Farm Orchards, Blueberry Hill: Alternatives for Life, Bell 5 Goose Cheese Co., Hickory Nut Farm, Heron Pond Farm, Marcia’s Jamaican Sauces, The Flower Company, and Bow Wow Bones, among others. Each week, the market welcomes local and traveling musicians alike.
When you think you’ve filled your day, be sure to check out the bustling city of Portsmouth.
#8 The Burlington Farmers’ Market (Burlington, VT)
Set in the hip, college town of Burlington, VT, the Burlington Famers’Market takes place year round. The Summer Market takes place every Saturday of the month between May 13th and October 28th from 8:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the corner of City Hall Park & St Paul Street.
Each week features live music entertainment next to vendors of all sorts selling fruits and veggies; meat, eggs & dairy; arts & crafts; plants & flowers; specialty products and prepared foods. Dozens of vendors take part in the market each year including Adam’s Berry Farm, AH Mushrooms & Plants, Barrio Bakery, Burroughs Chocolate, Garuka Bars, Karen’s Artisan Popcorn, Maple Wind Farm, Mina’s Ginger Beer, and Pak-Afghan foods.
Kadina Malicbegovic, owner of Little Artsy Faces, will also participate in the Burlington Famers’ Market fun, painting kids’faces with original designs and creations.
#9 Portland Famers’ Market (Portland, ME)
The Portland Farmers’Market features over 40 local vendors every Saturday in Deering Oaks Park and every Wednesday in Monument Square from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. up until December.
The farmers’market at Deering Oaks is set in one of Portland’s great green spaces. Shoppers get their choice from 38 farms represented. All food items are a product of Maine. Shoppers find themselves among restaurant chefs all looking for the best quality food at an affordable price. Popular purchases include vegetables, fruit, herbs, herb plants, berries, honey, maple syrup, jam, flowers, rose plants, milk, cheese, yogurt, goat cheese, baskets, beef, pork, lamb, goat meat, sausage, fiber, perennial plants, eggs, pickles, and fermented foods such as kimchi.
Monument Square, on the other hand, is set in downtown Portland between the Portland Public Library and One City Center. Most of the products sold here are the same as at Deering Oaks, but you may notice a difference in shoppers. Market goers tend to be professionals stealing a minute away from the office or families from out of town.
This market dates all the way back to 1768, and has upheld its mission of providing the community with the best local food around.
#10 Belfast Farmers’ Market (Belfast, ME)
Belfast Farmers’Market of Belfast, Maine has been in business since 1980, bringing residents the best in produce and handicrafts. The Summer Market takes place every Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and from April until October in the yard of the Waterfall Arts Building, 256 High Street, Belfast, Maine.
The market hosts dozens of vendors each year. Some of the current vendors include the Appleton Creamery, Bramble Hill Farm, Dickey Hill Farm, Fire Flower Garden & Pottery, Half Moon Farm, Maine-ly Poultry, Mildel Farm Apples, and Sweet Henry’s. Products range from wild blueberries, freshly picked mushrooms, artisan breads, organic teas and smoked chickens grown without antibiotics or growth hormones.
Children are also encouraged to get involved. In fact, the market hosts a Kids Club led by a SNAP community educators to teach kids more about where their food comes from. This SNAP-ed Program takes place every Friday until August 25th from 9 a.m. until 12 noon. The program specifically reaches out to individuals who receive SNAP (formerly known as foods stamps).