Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Support local farmers by visiting the Amherst Farmers’ Market

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(Caroline O’Connor/Daily Collegian)

Although the warmer days are coming to a close (yes, autumn will eventually catch up with us), there is still some time to get outside and enjoy visiting your local businesses. Amherst is full of independent people—families, farmers and individual residents—who want to share their passions with the rest of us. Corn mazes, hay rides and apple and pumpkin orchards are among the fun autumn activities local Amherst residents have to offer. And if you love the fall—pumpkin spice, squash, apple cider, donuts, pies and more—the Amherst Farmers’ Market is the place for you to go. It’s the perfect culmination of friendly locals sharing their livelihoods with the rest of us.

Every Saturday, from April 22 to Nov. 18, in the lot next to Amherst commons, lies the Amherst Farmers’ Market. Home to over 30 vendors, this farmers’ market has something for all foodies to enjoy, such as baked goods, fresh produce, wine and various seasonal items.

This market has been a staple to Amherst since 1972, and was founded by a committee of Amherst community members, such as local farmer John Spineti, who has only missed one day of the market since its opening.

“As a vendor, farmer or manager, between April to November you are out there no matter what, because the market happens in the cold or in the heat of the summer,” David Machowski, manager of the market, said.

Machowski means what he says. The Amherst Farmers’ Market opens every Saturday without fail. Over the course of its 45-year existence, the market has never once made a cancellation due to weather or any other reason. The dedication of the staff displays a strong sense of community between the vendors and their patrons.

The market tends to have a steady and loyal population of customers. College students are always encouraged to enjoy their fresh produce and products. The atmosphere is exciting; there is live music for all to enjoy and often, for those who miss their furry best friends, lots of dogs – whose owners will let you play with them. They also sell decorative items geared towards college students that are relatively small, designed with a dorm room or apartment in mind.

Sustainability and the support of local businesses are also promoted at the market—something near and dear to our hearts here at the University of Massachusetts. You may even meet some farmers who grew the local produce you were served at one of the dining commons. These farmers often come to the market for socializing, not for making a large profit; they love to chat and get to know those they are serving.

The Amherst Farmers’ Market was ranked as number sixty-two by the New York City Daily Meal in a list of the top farmers’ markets in the nation, the only other comparable market in Massachusetts being the Copley Square Market in Boston.

Visit the farmers’ market with your friends and make it a day. Get to know the local farmers who produce the food in your dining halls. Next time you want to cook a fresh meal at home, grab some delicious fruit for a snack or pick up some savory baked goods, take a Saturday stroll downtown to the Amherst farmers’ market! Get to know your community better and take advantage of everything Amherst has to offer.

Laura Skinner can be reached at [email protected].

 

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