City’s first Farmers Market to launch on Earth Day
By Stephen Tait
NEWBURYPORT — Dick Chase is bringing spinach and fresh herbs, some honey from last year’s crop and also potted flowers, such as pansies.
He is also going to bring a new item from his Arrowhead Farm: a “living salad bowl,” or a collection of greens that grows back after people pick it for salads.
Arrowhead is just one of 10 farms participating in a farmers market Sunday at the Bartlet Mall as part of the city’s Earth Day celebration, which involves numerous events running throughout the weekend and ending Tuesday with the first-ever Earth Day Awards.
Chase and other farmers market organizers hope this weekend’s event serves as the launching pad for a summer-long farmers market in the city.
“The time is right for a farmers market in Newburyport,” said Heidi Spinella, an Earth Day organizer. “The concept is that the people will embrace it and we will be able to do a six- to eight-week farmers market this summer.”
Spinella and Chase said Newburyport is fortunate to have farms in the area that produce herbs, fruits, vegetables and meats.
“It is important to support the local farmers,” Spinella said.
Supporting local food producers has grown in popularity and importance throughout the country in recent years, especially among those who are environmentally conscious. One of the biggest reasons is that local farming is considered “green” because it can save fuel costs.
“The farmers market ties in beautifully with eating locally,” Spinella said. “If we can eat more food produced locally, we can cut down on the fuel it takes to truck them across the country.”
Chase said it is also supports sustainable agriculture, another movement he says is really starting to flourish.
“For a community to be sustainable, it really needs the capacity to produce its own food,” he said.
Spinella said beyond green aspects, the farm also could prove to be a great connection for local residents. She said she envisions a market that would allow for people to “re-engage with the simple pleasures in life,” such as riding a bike to go shopping at the market.
“It is a community-spirited opportunity,” she said. “You could come to town, meet your friends. It would be a beautiful thing.”
Chase said that it is also a way for people to get to know local farmers. He said not many locals may realize there are many farms in the region.
He said farming is among the “original green enterprises” and a farmers market is an “appropriate fit” for Newburyport.
“It is a good way for people to get connected back to agriculture,” he said. “We are hoping it will become a regular thing.”
“It is good for the farmers, good for the residents and good for planet Earth,” Spinella said.
If you go
When: Sunday, 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Where: Bartlet Mall
Why: Earth Day celebration
Who: 10 local farms with fruits, flowers and more
Arrowhead Farm, Newburyport
Bartlett Farm, Salisbury
Colby Farm, Newburyport and Newbury
Herrick Dairy Farm, Rowley
Nunan Florist and Greenhouses, Georgetown
Pettengill Farm, Salisbury
Simple Foods, Amesbury
The Herb Farmacy, Salisbury
The Katie May, a Newburyport fishing vessel
CSA at Long Hill, West Newbury