Westminster Farmers' Market

  (Westminster, Massachusetts)
Bringing you local food, friends and fun.
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Westminster Farmers' Market Report for 10-30-09

Westminster Farmers’ Market Report from Maple Heights Farm


Farm Fresh Food for the Holidays and Beyond!


This week is the last regular season farmers’ market for 2009, but don’t worry, I have the answer to your fresh food needs for the Holiday season and beyond!  Our market is looking for an indoor location for a pre-Thanksgiving (November 20th) and a pre-Christmas (December 11th)  market.  And Mass Local Food will be open all year, providing delivery once per month (next delivery November 6th – check the website for the soon-to-be-determined Westminster delivery Location – or Berlin or Sterling for that matter).


Massachusetts Local Food…


Orders are closing for Massachusetts Local Food on Monday so don’t forget to place your order.  Membership fees are refundable through the end of this year if you decide this program is not for you, so you can try it risk free!  All products are locally produced and offered directly from the producer – just like at the farmers’ market.  We are adding more eggs this month and we hope to have pastured veal and organic yogurt online soon.  Go online and read about each producer and consider your food needs for the winter.  Orders close on Monday and Delivery day is Friday November 6th -- after our farmers market has closed for the season.


What’s in the market


Even this late in the season there is plenty of food available in the market.  If you have spent the past six months eating one (at least) local meal a week, this is your last Westminster Farmers’ Market local meal in a while.  If you haven’t taken the challenge of one local meal a week, might I propose one local meal a season?  And it is not too late for that.  Of course there are still   [Read More]

Don't Rain on Our Parade-Please

  Today is the big parade celebrating the 250th Anniversary of Westminster Massachusetts. The parade has three divisions, with over one hundred groups participating. Our Agricultural Commission has three floats, seven tractors (with implements), and a half dozen marchers.

  The first float is The Mass Local Food Coop. Their theme is "from our farms to your fork". It is a dollhouse sized barn with farm animals and equipment. This scene is decorated with plants and trees. It is on my 1950 Chevy one ton platform dump truck. This truck was purchased new by my grandfather Hjalmer Johnson in 1950. It was used for years on our farm, hauling shavings, live poultry, eggs, and manure (not all at the same time). This will be the third anniversary parade this truck has been in. A youth group staged a sock hop on it in 1959, for The Town's 200th Anniversary Parade. My farm  (Johnson & Sons Poultry Farm, Inc.)  used it as our float in 1984, for the 225th Anniversary Parade.

  The next float is our farmers' market reenactment. Marsha Foster and Cathy Magane will be riding this float that is a mock up of our Westminster Farmers' Market. It is full of colorful produce; white and brown eggs, pumpkins, gourds, red potatoes, corn shocks, butternut squash, summer squash, acorn squash, zucchini, etc. all displayed on bales of hay and a table under a market umbrella.

  The last float has some of our most frequent market performers. Sue Nickerson will be playing her fiddle, accompanied by her husband Steve, on Guitar. As the music plays, Lauren Denen will be step dancing.

  The tractors will be between floats. The walkers will be carrying a banner out front; "Westminster Agricultural Commission". Other walkers will be handing out fliers for the pumpkinfest, with Mass Local Food Coop and a free raffle ticket ( for food baskets) on the reverse side.

  As you can see we have all put a lot of time and effort into this event. The weather was near perfect yesterday when we assembled the floats. All the floats were either parked under cover or covered with tarps. It is raining now as I write this.

  The weather forecast calls for 100% chance of rain, up to 3/4" total rainfall today. Possible thunderstorms are forecast for this afternoon between 2 PM and 5PM. The parade starts at 1PM. We are the 15th group in the 3rd division. By the time we march it will probably be near 3:00.

  Please say a prayer that the weather is not too severe for the marchers or spectators.



Soggy Friday at the Market

  We had a good turnout at The Westminster Farmer's Market on a rainy Friday afternoon. Eighteen venders set up even though it poured during the first hour. Customers showed up with umbrellas. The rain stopped after 4 PM, and the customer flow picked up.

  All in all it was a good turn out for a rainy day. We are definitely a rain or shine market!


Westminster Farmer's Market Report for 09-11-09

Westminster Farmers’ Market Report from Maple Heights Farm  

Goal of the Season: Farmers’ Market Fresh Picnics!




Picnicking: Make Your Own Memories!


You have to find your own enjoyment in life and that enjoyment cannot be found by doing nothing and/or sitting in front of the T.V.  (Do you even remember what you watched last Monday?)  You find enjoyment by doing special things, planning special events and going to a bit of extra trouble to have something that gives a large return.  One way to do this is to plan a picnic with friends or family.  Now, when is the last time you had a picnic?  This is something I would encourage you to do more often – or at least once.  This fourth of July Andy and I planned a picnic with some friends on the top of Mt. Wachusett.  We packed fresh lobster sandwiches (hand picked by Andy – though you will never eat a restaurant lobster roll again if you try this) on homemade “hamburger” rolls, goat cheese with Wasa crackers, fresh vegetables, a bottle of wine and a homemade rhubarb crisp for dessert.  Now, you can imagine that the food, the location and the company of our friends could not be surpassed.  We sat on the ski-lift-disembarking thing at the summit and watched as fireworks were lit off from here to Monadnock (Wyman’s wins out as having the most Independence Day spirit between here and New Hampshire).  Everyone shared in the preparation so it was not much work. 




With Autumn creeping it’s way south from the Canadian border and into the trees in our swamps and on our hillsides there will be many opportunities for picnics.  Forget the quick stop for fast food and make your meals part of your destinations.  (And I encourage you to read the ingredient list in the fast food we eat and give our children.  Should we really be eating and feeding our children dimethylpolysiloxane in chicken nuggets? – no kidding, click on those links.  You can tell me it’s safe and I will tell you it is not food.  And is an “angus beef patty” really beef after you add 18 non-food ingredients??? And why do you need 18 non-food ingredients????)




Last weekend, my sister told me about “cupola dining” which is being offered by the Newburyport Lighthouse Preservation Society.  Diners have an elegant meal in the lighthouse lens room and enjoy a luxurious (and very expensive) dinner with a million dollar view.  It sounds incredible, but there are places around here that are just as beautiful for your picnicking pleasure:

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New Photos of Westminster Farmer's Market

New pictures, photographed by M.L. Altobelli. Photos were taken on 08-14-09 and on 08-21-09. August 21st was the date of our first anniversary.  [Read More]

Westminster Farmer's Market Report for 09-04-09

Westminster Farmers’ Market Report from Maple Heights Farm


Pay NO Attention to the Weather.  It is Still Summertime!


  Our Students are back at school, Labor Day is upon us, and summer is NOT over!  Summer eating has just kicked into gear this month.  Only now are we tasting perfection in our tomatoes and peppers and melons.  Don’t miss this opportunity to taste real food at its peak of flavor.  Summer may be over in a few weeks, but summer eating continues until the first frost which may be six to eight weeks away (may be wishful thinking but I can hope)!  Expect all the bounty of July and August and add to that some of the cool weather crops, onions, lettuce, Brussels sprout, cabbage, broccoli, winter squash and more.  If you consider summer over now you are selling yourself short and you can look forward to a long off season – we had enough of that last winter.  So continue eating from our local gardens by visiting us at the farmers’ market. 

 Tomatoes are incredible right now.  There are so many varieties available at the market and you should try them all!  Find your favorites and give up those pink grocery store things.  My favorite use of tomato is simple tomato salad:  tomato, onion, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, goat cheese or mozzarella and black olives.  I am experimenting with different tomatoes and combinations of tomatoes, juliet, brandywine pink, black krim, and a colorful mix of cherry tomatoes have all been delicious.  I am still waiting for evergreen and golden girl to ripen (though maybe evergreen already has??? Hmmm…).  If tomato salad is not your thing, how about thick slices of tomato topped with basil and mozzarella, drizzled with olive oil and roasted in the oven for a few minutes?  That along with a loaf of bread and a bottle of wine makes up the ultimate summer evening meal. 

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Westminster Farmer's Market Report for 08-28-09

Westminster Farmers’ Market Report from Maple Heights Farm


Tornado watches and Irish Step Dancers, goats, fiddlers and a final washout!








What an outstanding performance we had last week with Lauren Dennen dancing to the music of Susan Nickerson and her husband.  I hope you got a chance to see them.  It was really wonderful.  Even in the awful heat and humidity on Friday, Lauren never broke a sweat!  What a performer!  And the Nickersons’ music just adds so much to the atmosphere in the market!  Thank you to all for making my afternoon so enjoyable!




The market was fantastic last Friday with all the entertainment: music, dancing and Meghan’s goats Echo and Marmalade.  The goats were a great addition to the market and Meghan did a great job keeping them from eating all the beautiful herbs and perennials on display!  If all goes well, she would like to bring them again.  The afternoon ended with a bang as a thunderstorm approached.  As the thunder slowly approached over about 45 minutes, the vendors decided to pack it in.  At as the last containers were being packed away, the sky opened up in a downpour!  And the market came to an end.






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First Anniversary Ends in a Bang

 If not for the weather, every thing went off without a hitch for our first anniversary celebration Friday. We did get in three good hours, though. Temps were in the high eighties with high humidity, moderated by a nice breeze. Our market manager, Al Magane kept an eye on the skies. There was a tornado watch twenty miles to our west, moving our way. The first two storms missed us, moving to our north and then to our south. Al had the vendors pack it in when lighting was seen to our west. Just as the last of twenty-four canopies and tables with product were packed into vehicles, the skies opened up. I mean it poured buckets! The timing couldn't have been better if it were staged. I checked the time as we were leaving; 6:15, we only missed forty-five minutes of a great afternoon.
    Nice article on the front page of The Gardner News Saturday. You cannot read the whole article online unless you set up an online account. Even though we get the paper delivered at home, I can't log on, since I don't
have the required account number.                                                      
By Mike Gleason
http://www.thegardnernews.com/index_login.aspxWESTMINSTER — The Westminster Farmers’ Market celebrated its first anniversary on Friday, on a somewhat unusual date. Indeed, many farmers’ markets are well underway by mid-August, the month the Westminster market began in 2008.  Sign In To Read Full Story

Westminster Farmer/s Market Report for 08-21-09

Westminster Farmers’ Market Report from Maple Heights Farm

This Friday we are celebrating the 1 year anniversary of the opening of the Farmers’ Market with a Birthday Celebration!  We are lucky enough to have some Irish Step Dancers performing at 5:00 and Sue Nickerson and her husband Steve will be on fiddle and guitar!  Stop by for a piece of Birthday Cake and enjoy the festivities!

We now have 71 votes for Favorite Farmers’ Market on Local Harvest.  I think that is pretty impressive so far.  We are about 50 votes away from getting onto the top 100 list.  Now, if you have been to our farmers’ market, I think you will agree it is top notch and deserves your vote.  Just the top 100 is all I’m asking.  So please vote at www.localHarvest.org.  It takes me between 2 and 4 hours to write this report each week (admittedly not my specialty).  It will take you about 2 minutes to vote.  Please vote!

 Did you see the Sentinel and Enterprise on Sunday!  We had a wonderful article written about our market – taking up almost the entire front page

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Westminster Farmer's Market is One Year Old

Westminster Farmers’ Market Celebrates One Year in Operation!

 The Westminster Farmers’ Market will be holding a Birthday Celebration to celebrate opening one year ago.  There will be birthday cake made with fresh local ingredients and entertainers including a troupe of Irish Step Dancers at 5:00 p.m.!  Come enjoy the festivities and atmosphere!

  [Read More]

I love Fireworks and Birthdays


 Did you know that Saturday, August 22, 2009, marks the first birthday of The Westminster Farmer's Market? And...there are going to be fireworks on The Town Common!

 In all honesty though I should tell you that the fireworks are to celebrate The 250th birthday of The Town of Westminster. Even so it gives you a great excuse to check out the location of our farmer's market. Yes, The Town Common is a preferred viewing location for the fireworks Saturday night.

 So, come enjoy the fireworks Saturday night. Since you found the common is so easy to get to, come back on Friday afternoon and enjoy our farmer's market.


Photos of The Westminster, Massachusetts Farmer's Market

 M.L. Altobelli took these photos at our farmers market on Friday 08-07-09. It was taken just as the vendors finished setting up, hence, not many customers.

 I need to learn how to down load more than one jpg file to a blog page. Sorry they are spread over a couple of entries.


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More Photos

Another view of the north side of the market.  [Read More]

Photos of Westminster Farmer's Market

Another photo from M.L.

  [Read More]

Photos of The Westminster MA Farmer's Market

 M.L. Altobelli took these photos at our farmers market on Friday 08-07-09. It was taken just as the vendors finished setting up, hence, not many customers.  [Read More]
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