For Aimee Mullahy of Antrim, farmers markets provide a vital aspect of small-town life. And with some of the herbs and vegetables she’s growing with her family at their Prospect Street “mini-farm,” Antrim may soon have a farmers market of its own.
Mullahy started working on the idea of starting Antrim’s Community Market this spring, after noticing what she said was a gap in the sense of community in Antrim due to the lack of a town farmers market.
“This was a way that we could contribute to that sense of community,” she said.
Previously, a group with the town’s Baptist Church was hoping to start a farmers market but was waylaid by the COVID-19 pandemic. Mullahy, who said she was originally intending to participate in that market, was disappointed by the decision not to try starting up this year either.
With about 20 interested vendors, Mullahy and her two fellow founding members of the market are hoping to have the Antrim Community Market commence July 22.
This is a tentative date, Mullahy said, because there is still some paperwork to be completed — but they will be ready to start sometime between then and the beginning weeks of August.
The process that Mullahy and the other founding members, Deb Waldinger and Tim Morehouse, went through to start the market was a complicated one, mostly because Mullahy said they weren’t sure where to start.
“Most of the towns around us that have farmers markets all appeared to be done through the town itself, through their rec committee,” Mullahy said. But upon further examination, she found that this wasn’t true, and most of these markets were entities separate from the town.
“And now that we’re sort of on our own, it’s actually been a lot easier,” Mullahy said. Prior attempts to work through the town of Antrim had resulted in bureaucratic snafus and a process that was simply moving too slowly, she said.
Morehouse, a member of the town’s recreation committee, decided to help support the market anyway, according to Mullahy. With his and Waldinger’s help, they managed to get the market idea moving, including finding a venue to hold the markets: the Presbyterian Church.
“I’m very grateful to them,” Mullahy said. “In talking with them, they have had a goal of more community outreach and support of the community, and so they were excited, if not eager, to be able to support the market on their property, which was fantastic.”
It’s a perfect spot due to its central location and easy visibility from Main Street, Mullahy said, as well as having a good lawn to set up on and available parking.
With that piece of the puzzle complete, Mullahy said that the remainder of the work left to be done is detail oriented and should be done soon. This includes, according to Waldinger, insurance, as well as a formal application process for vendors.
“It’s just sort of the last little bits of tying everything together and, you know, contracts and paperwork and stuff, the boring stuff,” she said.
“We’re moving along,” said Waldinger. “It’s moving both quicker and slower than I think we were all hoping.”
Both Mullahy and Waldinger are excited about the beginning of the market, not only because of the pay-off for their work but also to be able to sell their own goods.
Waldinger participates in multiple local farmer’s markets, the closest one to her home being in Peterborough and the farthest in Hinsdale.
“It would be really nice to have a farmer’s market here in the town that I live and working more immediately with local community members to support the town in general,” Waldinger said.
She makes herbal salves and tinctures, essential oil blends, and wire-wrap pendants, all of which she is looking forward to selling close to home. She’s also hoping to have other products like homemade soap and shampoo in the future.
Mullahy, who has chickens, ducks, honeybees and many different gardens, is also excited to sell her wares — herbs, olive oils, jams, applesauce, pickles and more.
“There was actually a whole lot of interest and that interest seems to be continuing,” said Waldinger, showing that other local vendors are eager for the market as well.
Once the community market gets off the ground in the coming weeks, Mullahy said that the hope is to have it run until September on Thursdays from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. And when they open up again next year, she said, they hope to start in May.
“I’ve always loved farmers markets,” said Mullahy. “There’s a real desire within the community to see these sorts of things.”
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