Island Traditions

Block Island Farmers’ Market
Sun, 07/31/2016 - 2:45pm

Every Wednesday and Saturday, the Block Island Farmers’ Market gives the community a chance to peruse and shop some of the island’s most unique offerings. The routine of the tradition and the relationships it kindles is why I enjoy it. To me a tradition is something I can return to again and again, but experience differently. Every week I can look forward to both the market, and also its people.
One change to the market this summer is the locations. On Wednesday mornings, it can be found on the back lawn of the Spring House Hotel and on Saturdays it is in Legion Park. So far the changes have been well received. The extra space for vendors and easy parking at the Spring House, coupled with the great view has helped the weekday market thrive. On Saturdays, boaters have found the market convenient and fun.
In the past, I only attended the market, shopping and sampling its wonderful offerings. This summer, I work the Wednesday market and have been able to experience how routine and tradition go hand in hand. At the Spring House farm stand I sell the on-site gardens’ blooming produce. Each week I see familiar faces and bag up the week’s latest harvest.
Across the market, I watch the line for scones made by Kate Ryan who has taken over the long time scone operation from Pat Doyle. The conversations that are sparked between market vendors and purchasers are organic (no pun intended). It is not the typical shopping experience.
Most everything sold at the Farmers’ Market is grown or made on Block Island. This often means that the person selling the merchandise likely baked, bottled, or buttoned whatever it is you are purchasing. When I am buying goods, I feel free to ask questions about how it is made or what they enjoy about making it. The relationships that can build over the course of a summer (or in a single visit) add to my affinity for the market.
“I love to hear what people are going to do with the honey that I sell,” said Hope Brigham, who sells Littlefield Honey. “It gives me ideas for myself and the whole team for new products,” she added.
Meg Vitacco heads the market. She brings a lively spirit to the market and makes sure that all vendors are treated fairly. That means no selling of goods before 9 am., a small but an important rule for vendors.
Around the market you can find delicious baked goods to satisfy your morning cravings and new this summer, from Lucille Kreger, Kombucha Tea. It is a tangy tea that makes you feel alive on an early morning.
There are about 55 vendors at the Saturday market and 35 on Wednesdays, but whatever market you choose to attend will have you wanting more of this standing island tradition. There is something for everyone. Even if you are on Block Island for a short trip or without a kitchen, the market offers plenty of crafts and artwork to shop for instead. Live music fills the morning air as you shop making the morning feel slightly magical.
The chance to talk to friends, make new ones and support local businesses makes the event worth the stop.
Even if it is just once a summer, make it your new island tradition.
The Block Island Farmers' Market is open from 9-11:30 a.m. on Wednesdays at The Spring House and Saturdays at Legion Park in New Harbor, and runs from mid–June until October.