For many, Friday’s bring the idea of freedom, exhilarating weekend hype and boundless expectations. But adding fresh veggies, homemade goodies crafted by the University of Massachusetts student body, and a fun, grassy hangout to the mix could make your Friday’s even better, and the UMass Farmer’s Market offers just that.
In a collaborative effort, The UMass Student Farming Enterprise, Permaculture Initiative and Gardenshare all come together to organize a weekly farmers market located on Goodell Lawn.
Amanda Brown, student farm program director of 10 years and vegetable specialist at Stockbridge said that her role is “to serve as a mentor for students in farming.” Brown also added that the students mainly run the farm, which holds the farmers’ market by themselves.
Brown is an instructor for the yearlong farming and agriculture program at the UMass Agricultural Learning Center, which began in the fall of 2007 when two students successfully grew a quarter acre of their own crops through an independent study.
Almost 10 years later, Brown and Ruth Hazzard still teach the year-long class with a summer farming component.
The vendors that attended the market this past Friday included: Zachary Zeigler, Brandon Curtin, Renaissance Center, Alexander Dorr, Sarah Muellejans, Madeleine Conover, Katharina Kowalski, Erin Watterson and Gwendolyn Stoll.
Muellejans, a senior environmental conservation major and contributor to the farmer’s market, comes every week to sell original prints of her charcoal artwork, homemade healing herbal salves and “dreamy” herb sachets in addition to intricate hair wraps. Muellejans said that, out of all her contributions, her drawings take the most time, but she finds the creative process to be “really fun.”
Stoll, a senior sustainable community development major, also contributes to the weekly farmer’s markets regularly with her handmade wooden utensils. Stoll picked up the trade at a Yestermorrow, a design/ build school in Waitsfield, Vermont over the summer, where she earned her woodworking certificate.
She referred to the overall process of making the utensils as “surprisingly simple,” saying after she sketches the utensil out on a piece of hard wood, she cuts it out with a band saw, spoons out the center of the wood with a spoon gouge and finishes it off with food safe oil for a soft finish.
The student farm offers Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), which is a program that anyone can sign up for that offers the opportunity to receive fresh and local produced from a neighborhood farm.
The program is a great way for students and community members to invest in eating healthily and locally. Additionally, CSA is currently running a deal on community supported agriculture grown at the UMass Agricultural Learning Center. The CSA’s student price is $350 for over 25 pounds of fresh organic produce every week for ten weeks (September through November) and the faculty price is $380. The early bird special is $25 off when you pay the $150 deposit in spring for the fall share.
Along with a plethora of food and crafts, live music is often a component of the weekly farmer’s markets. Ashleigh Theroux, lead singer of Humble Digs says that her favorite things about being in a band featured at events like the farmers market are “collaboration, and that we all bring different things to the table.”
Gina Lopez can be reached at [email protected]