SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Business

June 12, 2013

Farmers markets bloom on the North Shore

Marblehead has the oldest. Salem has the largest. But all are looking to another season of growth.

For Swampscott, bringing back the farmers market launched last year was a no-brainer.

“Our experience last year was a success,” said Kim Fillenworth, co-manager of the market, “and we based it on what our vendors had to say at the end of the season. We went back to vendors and asked them: ‘Did you make any money? Did you feel you made enough money to qualify to come back?’”

The answer, Fillenworth said, was “yes.”

It usually is. Swampscott’s is only the newest of the farmers markets that have sprouted on the North Shore in recent years, providing consumers with fresh vegetables and fruit, cut flowers and a host of specialty products, from wines to bread to local seafood.

Most of the markets are opening right about now. Swampscott’s opened Sunday and Beverly’s on Monday. Two of the largest and most popular farmers markets also open this week — in Salem on Thursday and Marblehead on Saturday.

Market managers say they provide an economic opportunity for farmers, local businesses and those who work at them. They also provide a good time for all.

“It’s just convenient, and it’s fun,” said Igor Rudfeld of Swampscott, who was checking out his town’s farmers market on Sunday.

One of the stands he visited was Maitland Mountain Farm, a Salem farm that features Holly’s Spicy Pickles, jars of fresh horseradish and fresh-cut flowers. Julia Ginsburg, 18, a recent graduate of Swampscott High, found a summer job with the farm this year and will be staffing the farm’s booths in the Swampscott and Marblehead farmers markets.

“I shopped at it last year, but now I am working here,” Ginsburg said.

Maitland Mountain Farm’s Andy Varela said the farm also plans to be at markets in Salem and Gloucester.

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