The Farmers Market opened its fourth season on Saturday. Shoppers and sellers of all ages enjoyed the mild temperature and sunshine while exchanging conversation interspersed with tastes and purchases. Its new location is on the lawn adjacent to Soule-Seabury House at Tiverton Four Corners.
The morning offered an opportunity for shoppers to sample a number of items (such as Steve Cory’s signature bumbleberry jam) while growers shared information about themselves and their products. All nine of the growers who displayed their wares on Saturday agreed that the new location is a plus and were pleased with the turn-out for opening day.
According to association vice president Connie Lima, who was at the market on Saturday, the decision to relocate from the former location at was complicated but worthwhile. It involved clearance from the Tiverton Zoning Board, but as Lima notes, the process of starting a farmers market in town challenged the original members from the onset.
“At the beginning, it took us a year and a half to get everything in place, but DEM was very helpful," Lima said. "It has all been worth it," she added because “the agricultural history in this town is pretty amazing.” Lima’s own family arrived in Tiverton to farm in 1821 and her own memories of growing up on a farm are fond ones.
Like Lima, growers at the farmers market are all willing to share stories about their products and the histories behind them.
In his white chef’s jacket Steve Cory displays his jams and preserves, many of which follow his grandmother Margaret Cory’s recipes. He recalls times spent with her and her love for jam-making.
“This is nostalgic for me,” Cory said. “There are no elves and no factories. I just put the fruit first and make sure the jam’s not too sweet. I flash freeze the fruit and do most of my work in the winter when it’s nice to heat up a cold kitchen. And…it’s great to be my own boss.”
While explaining how she grows flowers and herbs from seed, Alice Strebel from Crows Nest Farm on East Road in Tiverton also expresses her support for her fellow growers. She said the market offers more visibility for local producers.
“The more people who hear about it, the better we like it,” Strebel said. This is her fourth season with the Tiverton Farmers Market, and on Saturday she also had local honey for sale at her table to help out a friend.
“It’s a labor of love,” is the way Mark Buchanan of Rocky Hooves Farm refers to the soaps and body lotions developed by his family using goat’s milk. “It started as a hobby in the kitchen and then it moved to the kitchen in the basement.” As he explains several of the variety of brightly packaged items all carefully labeled, it is clear that his heart is in his work.
The Tiverton Farmers Market will be open each Saturday from now until Oct. 1. The hours are from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. but according to Abbie Suchy from Provencal Bakery in Middletown, it may be wise to arrive early.
“We totally sold out of the cranberry, pecan, and olive bread,” she noted. “We really sold a lot.”