Ludlow Farmers Market reopens for season

LUDLOW, Vt. – Ludlow-area fans of the farmers’ market that has run for years on the lawn of Okemo Mountain School off Route 103 may have thought they were out of luck this year. The usual sign with market hours was not on the lawn, and those who tried to get information about it online discovered only a “website expired” notice.

But the market has been operating since Memorial Day, as ever, on its hallowed site, and with the farmers many have come to know and value for their friendliness and knowledge as much as their gorgeous fresh produce and wholesomely raised beef, chicken, pork, and eggs.

This year, however, they are doing without a market manager or live music, or anyone to oversee payment through the SNAP program – they are waiting to get word from the U.S. Department of Agriculture in order to proceed.

“When this market was started, it was by Jerry Mulligan, and he was passionate. He made sure everything got done and everyone did what they needed to,” says Jon Cohen of Deep Meadow Farm in Ascutney, a longtime vendor. “We don’t have a Jerry anymore.” Cohen describes himself as having been “president, treasurer, and secretary” this past year for the nonprofit board responsible for running the market. “I run a fifty-acre organic farm. I don’t have time to do it all. Every vendor must become a member of the board at the end of this season.”

Another longtime vendor at the market agrees. “We should be a vendor-run market.” Currently, there are 17 vendors committed to being there every Friday, eight who participate some weeks, and two “day vendors,” who call and see if there’s space for them as they want it.

The market expenses are funded primarily by permits vendors pay. This covered a manager’s salary and musicians’ fees. “Five years ago, we had twice the number of vendors between the end of June and Labor Day,” says Cohen, though he and others say that would-be vendors of products already present do get turned away. “We have a good core of vendors,” says John Lomachinsky, of SpringMore Farm in Baltimore, observing that you can do all the food shopping you need just from the market. “We only lack one major thing, a cheese vendor.”

The website will be restored by Joyce Washburn, a board member, “when the new credit card comes in,” any day now. The sign has been put in its old place now that Okemo Mountain School’s season has ended. Meanwhile, Cohen hopes that visitors will take pictures of the colorful scene and post them online. The market remains festive and lively with dogs and children, replete with the fruits of the season like Deep Meadow’s fleeting strawberries, SpringMore’s new-laid eggs, chicken, and bacon without chemicals, and bargains like Maple Crest Farm’s excellent steak tips, not to mention artisanal bread, salami, ceramics, and more, all in the open air. Market hours are Fridays from 4-7 p.m., usually to Columbus Day.


Written by Anna Shapiro.

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