Family-Friendly Thanksgiving Holiday Farmers’ Markets in the Berkshires
Berkshire Grown Holiday Farmers’ Markets
Given the remarkable success of past Holiday Farmers’ Markets, Berkshire Grown will host four markets in 2011 with a north and south county presence: Thanksgiving markets will take place in Great Barrington on Saturday, November 19, and in Williamstown on Sunday, November 20. A second set of markets will take place again, both in the same locations on December 17, the Saturday before Christmas.
A SUCCESSFUL HISTORY
The Holiday Farmers’ Markets began in 2009 with two market locations the weekend before Thanksgiving, taking place on the same day. Given demand for winter markets, Berkshire Grown hosted a total of four markets in 2010, adding the weekend before Christmas as a second economic opportunity for the food and farming community. This year, the organization will be producing four markets again.
Berkshire Grown has made great strides toward increasing awareness of locally grown food throughout the region. The Holiday Farmers’ Markets have been a major achievement with more than 4,400 people attending the markets in 2010, during which vendors generated more than $80,000 in sales for their businesses. There were 64 vendors at the November markets and 72 vendors at the December markets, which attracted more people than the best-attended Berkshire-based farmers market during the summer. The markets welcomed 2,100-plus attendees in 2009 and are showing significant economic impact as the events grow. “Wildly beyond expectations,” was how one of the vendors described their experience in a post-market survey, which is issued after every market.
The Berkshire Grown Holiday Farmers’ Markets create new opportunities for farmers and food producers to increase sales of locally produced and preserved agricultural products, which helps the local economy. The Holiday Farmers’ Markets connect farmers and food producers directly with members of the community, strengthening the Berkshire Grown farm-to-table network.
“We are thrilled to promote our region’s farmers and food producers at the Berkshire Grown Holiday Farmers’ Markets for a third year,” says Barbara Zheutlin, executive director of Berkshire Grown. “The markets extend the season for regional farmers and food producers, increasing their sales, as well as provide an opportunity for community members to celebrate and support the dynamic farms and artisan food producers of our region.”
Many components for holiday meals will be offered from farmers and food producers in the region including produce, cheese, eggs, meat, poultry, bread, pies and other baked goods, plus pickles and jams. The December markets will include local craft vendors for holiday shoppers. Entertainment will be presented at both venues and pre-order pickups will be available.
In Great Barrington, Holiday Farmers’ Markets will be held at the Muddy Brook Elementary School Gymnasium on Monument Valley Road and in Williamstown, the markets will take place at the Williams College Towne Field House on Latham Street. All four markets will run from 10 am – 2 pm.
Great Barrington – Muddy Brook Elementary School Gymnasium
- Saturday, November 19th – 10 am – 2 pm
- Saturday, December 17th – 10 am – 2 pm
Williamstown – Williams College Towne Field House
- Sunday, November 20th – 10 am – 2 pm
- Saturday, December 17th – 10 am – 2 pm
As part of Williams College’s ongoing commitment to sustainable food and local agriculture, the College is co-sponsoring the markets by donating the Williamstown venue as well as providing funding toward the event. The Williams College Sustainable Food and Agriculture Program and The Zilkha Center for Environmental Initiatives is supporting the markets as a community partnership to further incorporate the principles of sustainability into the fabric of campus life. For more information on Williams’ ongoing commitment to sustainable food, visit sustainability.williams.edu.
In addition to generous support from Williams College, the premier sponsor for the markets is The Williamstown Chamber of Commerce. Major sponsors of the event include Berkshire Co-op Market, Berkshire Organics, BlueQ, Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health, Mezze Restaurant Group, Sweet Brook Farm and The Red Lion Inn.
[Submitted by Berkshire Grown]