Shortly before 9 a.m. Saturday May 6th, Saratoga Mayor Joanne Yepsen will cut a ribbon at High Rock Park to officially open the Saratoga Farmers’ Market’s summer season. With her will be farmers and other vendors, volunteers and staff, artists and musicians, community service providers, dignitaries and other guests.
The brief ceremony captures a sense of how the market twice a week from May through October creates a sense of community that is vibrant, festive, and supportive.
“Community is our sustenance,” says market director Julia Howard. “It brings us all together.”
The Saratoga Farmers’ Market started in 1978 with starter plants and produce. Over the years, meats and dairy products, prepared foods, wool and fiber, household cleaners, gift items, and crafts were added the offerings.
For farmers and other vendors, the market is a vital source of income. But the market also is much more.
“Having music at every market helps local performers gain exposure,” Howard says. “Plus, we work with such organizations as Saratoga Bridges to offer employment for some of our janitorial tasks to individuals who need it. And our weekly children’s activities are often the result of our relationships with local businesses, libraries, and youth groups. We couldn’t be who we are without those networks of support.”
Tomorrow’s market will highlight these networks. CAPTAIN Youth & Family Services will offer a free planting of flower seeds to children of all ages. Musician Thomas Brady and the band Running the River will perform. Mamatoga will co-host a meetup from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for mothers and children. And new vendors – among them Zoe Burghard Ceramics, Freddy’s Rockin’ Hummus, The Smoothie Shoppe, Dickinson’s Delights, and Slate Valley and Nettle Meadow farms – will join the market’s regulars.
Behind the scenes, the Friends of the Market volunteers will operate its compost collection and recycling programs, assist shoppers with its veggie valet service, gather donations for the Franklin Community Center food pantry, and be on hand to relieve vendors. Also behind the scenes vendors will arrive early and stay late to put out market signs, traffic cones, and help clean up High Rock Park before and after the market.
“That cooperative spirit makes us so much more than a shopping place,” Howard says. “We’re in it together.”
Visit the Saratoga Farmers’ Markets at High Rock Park from 3-6 p.m. Wednesdays and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays.