Since 1988, the Concord Farmers Market has been a staple of the summer months in downtown Concord. It offers food, music and fun for people looking for fresh veggies, children looking for fresh donuts or dogs looking for fresh treats, all mixed in with local performers playing fun, lively music.
Each weekend, the farmers market sees hundreds of people stroll the street past the 40-plus vendors and the wide variety of goods they sell. Fresh vegetables like spinach, carrots, lettuce - which were pulled from the earth only days prior to being sold - are not the only thing available at Concord's Farmers Market. Fresh meat and dairy, potted plants, jams and chutney, fresh eggs, live lobsters and fresh seafood, fresh baked bread that day and tasty pastries are just some of what the farmers market has to offer.
"We come every week for Rollin' in the Dough, which sells amazing pastries," said Greg Sturgis of Warner. "Last week we bought peas from a vegetable stand. I think it is important, I don't know how else local farmers would distribute their food."
What is unique about the Concord farmers Market is that the vendors enjoy coming as much as the patrons.
"I have been coming for four years," said Christopher Evans of Granite Ledge Coffee. "It's an excellent market. I do farmers markets in Manchester and Boston, but this is my favorite."
Brenda Towle of Molly Lane Kitchen agreed, "This is my favorite market, a lot of repeat customers and you get to know them and get a good feel for it. I do jams and jellies, muffins, pies, fresh cut flowers. I have been coming for 8 years."
But perhaps the most excited customers of this farmers market are the four-legged kind, who love not only the attention they get from other dogs and people who just stop by to pet them, but the plethora of doggie treats that go beyond what any pet store has to offer. Fresh made bully sticks, marrow-packed bones, moose antlers and venison treats are just some of what the multiple vendors who cater exclusively to canines has to offer.
Many patrons specifically said that they come with their puppies just to socialize them with other dogs and people so that they grow up well adjusted.
"125 dogs every week keeps us coming back every week," said Nadine Koppel of Life's a Real Treat. "And the dogs know we're here and will drag us here from around the block."
Aside from the environmentally conscious or those who just appreciate organic food, many attendees said they come because the market is so diverse, everyone in a family can be happy.
"It's a great environment to bring the family, a great place," said Steven Markieditz of Manchester. "It's very nice, especially on a beautiful day like today, very welcoming, especially with all the dogs running around here."
The market is impressive enough that those who come for the first time usually end up buying something, and all said that they would be coming back.
"This is my first time through, it's very good, very nice," said Norma Angwin of Concord. "I just bought some honey which really helps build up a resistance to local allergies."
"This is the first time we have been here," said Jenny Urdi of Bow, "and it is great, it's very interesting. I am a little bit surprised by the variety. Seems to be covering everything."
For many of the patrons, buying local is the reason they go to the farmers market, something that is not lost on the vendors.
"We have been at the farmers market for about 10 years now," said Wayne Hall of the Concord-based Lewis Farms. "The little extra money is nice but this way we get to meet our customers and let people know what we are all about." Hall explained "Everything is grown in greenhouses, but in the ground. This way we don't have to use pesticides and we can control the environment." (next page »)