SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

April 12, 2014

A farmers market in Danvers? Not so fast ...

DANVERS — Bill Nolan thinks a farmers market here could be just as successful, and just as much fun, as the one in neighboring Salem — especially considering the town has several working farms and a long, rich agricultural history.

“I think a farmers market makes sense in Danvers,” Nolan said.

So last week Nolan approached selectmen on behalf of the Rotary Club of Danvers about creating a farmers market at the Hobart Street parking lot just off the downtown. While selectmen were receptive, they wanted to hear more from downtown businesses.

What they’re hearing, however, is some concern that a farmers market would compete not only with downtown businesses but with the farmstands that local farmers already operate in town.

On Tuesday morning Nolan went before the Downtown Improvement Committee, which could not come to a consensus on the proposal, according to committee chairman C.R. Lyons. There were concerns that the Hobart Street parking lot is already full, and that a farmers market there could cut into parking and sales at the Cherry Street Fish Market, which invested heavily to help the town buy the lot from the MBTA several years ago.

Now the proposed location of the farmers market has changed, to the parking lot next to Town Hall, a long, narrow lot that runs between Elm and Cherry streets.

With farmers markets well-established in Salem, Beverly, Peabody, Marblehead, Swampscott, Ipswich, Topsfield and Middleton, it would seem Danvers would be ripe for one.

And it appears to be a popular idea. A Facebook page for the proposed market has drawn 1,350 “likes.” Organizers have a petition with more than 300 signatures from people who want one in town.

Nolan, a local chiropractor, says a market would provide access to fresh farm products, a central location where farmers could sell their produce, an social gathering place and community event, and a place where residents’ dollars would be spent on locally grown produce.

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