Sunday, January 16, 2011

Vermont Winter Farmers Market

This was my first experience attending an indoors winter Farmers Market.

Found it advertised in the local village paper and made sure to go since I heard so many people talking about how great this one was!

Join me on this wonderful tour of all things hand grown and hand made.

As I entered the door, the smell of all kinds of vegetables, home made breads and desserts reached my always searching nose. The sounds of people talking and laughing were plentiful as the soft sounds of a guitar, played by a young woman, filled the air.

So many choices, so little time....

Fresh donuts sit next to hand turned wooden bowls.

Beautiful wooden bowls made from different kinds of Vermont native wood.

Root vegetables and colorful squash filled the tables.

Can you identify all these different kinds of squash?

All grown in the fertile soils of rural Vermont.

Sprouts of many different kinds and flavors got my attention and I think I am going to grow some of them myself in the very near future.

My favorite table was the Emu farmer.   Fresh emu meat, eggs, lip balm, sausage, raw food for dogs and many other products helped me empty my wallet.

Emu eggs are huge!!   I am going to plant some seedlings in a used shell to get my plants started.  Nifty idea, huh?

This cooler was filled with fresh frozen Emu steaks.    Lots of good organ meats for dogs as well as feet, necks and other delicious nutritious food for people and the pets they adore.   Vermont Emu producers want to hear from dog owners who feed raw.

My nose was all excited about the smell of Jamaican food, so I got some Jamaican stew on top of black beans and rice.  it was even better than I had hoped it would be.

He also had lots of preserves and hot sauces made by him and his wife.
Lots of people were buying his mango salsa, 3 and 4 jars at a time, and said it was good on EVERYTHING, including ice cream!!!

Braided garlic at $10 a bunch were big sellers as were any kind of green plants.

Us Vermonters are desperate to see something green and growing this winter.
So the table with herbs and house plants did a brisk business.

Organic vegetables were well represented here.   Lots of us were chewing on organic samples of carrots as we walked around.

I saw lots of familiar faces and heard funny stories about some of the products and how they actually were created.

A basket weaving class was in progress as I arrived and its harder than it looks.

But with the encouragement of the instructor you can make one of these incredible baskets in less than an hour!

This colorful yarn represents a local shepherds flock.  All the sheep have names.

I want to buy a hat from the wool of "Eunice."

This farmer raises free range, grass fed pork, beef and chicken.

After chatting with her about her cows,  I bought 3 lbs of grass fed beef from her Belted Galloway herd.
Might sound crazy to you since I raise beef cattle, but all my calves are reserved by buyers soon after birth and I have yet to raise any beef for my own freezer!    The advantage of this is that I can taste other beef from other farmers who raise grassfed beef!!    Its a win, win, win.

AND.... I gave her my business card and she may be interested in a steer, heifer or bull calf from my herd.  Farmers supporting farmers!

When I wasn't actually sampling, buying or chatting with other farmers and consumers, I was listening to the wonderful music.

Preserves were everywhere and people were filling up bags to send to relatives and friends in far away cities who have no access to fresh, wholesome food.

When I finally ran out of money and needed a coffee, the coffee lady gave me one free.  Note the Matell cash register she uses. It works!

As more fresh baked bread entered the building, the crowd of people migrated over to this table to get some samples and buy some loaves.

What caught my eye was this 50 lb bag of sunflower seed.   The Emu farmer grew 40 acres of sunflowers this year for bird seed, bio fuel and cattle and emu feed.  He had one of his trucks converted to run on the sunflower oil.

$12.50 is a steal for 50 lbs of black oil seed!  We pay $19.00 for 50lb at the local feed store and it all goes to feed the flocks of birds who visit my house all day.

I will be buying my bird seed here from now on.

If you are driving around on a Saturday and want to have an incredible Vermont food experience and meet some hardworking rural farmers, come to the Groton Vermont Winter Farmers Market on the THIRD Saturday OF EVERY MONTH, 10 am- 2pm.

Just 2 hours from Chelmsford, Mass, Manchester NH and Springfield Mass.

Take a look at a map and make some plans to come on up and breathe some good air, buy some fresh food and meet some real down to earth people.

On the way home I saw some typical Vermont scenes:

Makes me really proud to live here.


  1. Hi Janis!

    Yup, there's them cows! Haa!

    I thought about going to the local farmers market yesterday because I'm really missing fresh eggs. However, I don't want to pay $5-6 a dozen for them so I held off.

    How I would love to go back to Vermont. My husband and I went up last spring but we haven't been back since. Life is just to crazy lately.

    Time to check out some more of your blog!


  2. I LOVE this post. I just happen to live in Chelmsford. My sister and I wanted to go to the King Arthur store in Norwich. Is this market any where near Norwich.

  3. great work - I hope you got a mini pie! wonderful pix!

  4. I love your Blog. I just joined your herd. I love the photos of the cows, the winter, the country beauty. I live in Northern Colorado in a very small town (1,200) in the heart of farm country. My husband grew up on a local farm where they operated a dairy of Jersey Cows. Now retired, he often gets miffed at life, and declares that we should move to Vermont! I am satisfied by just visiting you from time to time. cheers. ann

  5. Down here we have Winter Faire for the market. We went last year and saw people we knew and bought a lot of green stuff. This year, I don't know that we will make it between the broken leg and all.

    We also have a sort of coop farmers market just up the road, but mostly it's like a store, in that farmers leave their produce/meat/etc and some one mans the register. They are really cool places to spend time.

    Our eggs are now organic. We had to raise the price from $3/dozen to $4.50/dozen but that doesn't really cover the cost of going from $11.40/50# to $20.25/50# for organic feed. But higher would mean they don't sell, so we are stuck.

    It also means that we effectively don't get paid for our labor either. As we are a very small flock, it mostly means our own eggs cost much less for organic and knowing where our food came from.

    To the people who buy our eggs, most of whom have been out and seen how we raise our hens, it means they know where their food comes from and how it is raised. They also know the work we put in. And it means they have a source, very locally, for a small part of their food. By supporting us, it insures it will continue.

    So there is a lot that goes into the food offered at Farmers Markets at perhaps higher prices than the grocery store.

  6. What a wonderful looking market. My daughter has claimed your middle calf, the face is adorable! I have been looking to move to Vermont, it is my kind of state. Although NH is beautiful also.

  7. You might like this site...

    They are from you area.


  8. Thanks for visiting my blog. It's fun to meet a fellow Vermonter. We're in the Northeast Kingdom. Looking forward to tomorrow's snow!

  9. Love Farmer's Markets!!! Love the wooden bowls!
    Margaret B

  10. Great pictures of the Farmers' Market. We don't have any around here in the winter.
    Wish we did. We're finding, with our beef herd, that our steers are spoken for immediatly and if we had more cows, we could probably sell all the beef we could raise. There's quite a market right now. We did finally get one of our own in our freezer last fall, and it tastes great. We do feed ours homegrown oats, along with the grass and hay. How many cows do you keep?

  11. This market is SO up my alley! We have farmers market s here in Florida but not like this. Vermonters got it right.

    I found your blog while on the Red Pine Mountain blog. My sister has a family farm on 35 acres in the Northeast Kingdom. They have a few cows, chickens, lambs and a huge veggie garden and an herbal garden. We are considereing a move there in the next year. It just suits our way of life these days!