Meridian Industrial


7/31/2019 | Allison Litera


Riding along Main Street in Ellington, CT on a Saturday morning, drivers might not see much past the throngs of cars parked on the sides of the road. But nestled past those cars in the middle of Arbor Park is the Ellington Farmers Market. There, visitors will find a happy and lively atmosphere filled with lots of vendors, dogs, and families. Live music carries through the air. Fresh flowers, fruits, herbs, and crafts circle the park. A plot of trees in the middle of the park offers picnic tables and shade on sunny days. It’s colorful and full of fun. The market is a nonprofit organized and run by “Market Master” Dianne Trueb (she has been Market Master since 2012), along with its board and volunteers.

“As a non-profit, our purpose is mainly to match SNAP dollars (formerly food stamps) up to $20 per week,” explains Trueb. “Visitors can bring their EBT card to the market booth to start. (SNAP stands for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.) The Department of Agriculture also offers Farmers market nutrition program vouchers for lowincome seniors and those who use WIC. We match these, too.”

A differentiating factor of the Ellington Farmers Market in comparison to other markets is their rich educational programming and entertainment offered each week. Upcoming events include the Peach Festival (August 17), Kids ID Day/Tomato Festival (August 24), Meet Your Community Organizations (August 31), and Salsa Saturday (September 7). May and June are the most highly attended market months, but the activities offered at all markets throughout the seasons keep new visitors coming. Local musical entertainment is held at the outdoor market every week, providing the background soundtrack to the day. Children are encouraged to attend the market, too! Every week, the Kids Power of Produce (POP) Club connects children ages 5-12 to food production and helps them create healthier eating habits.

“Upon signup, we give kids a shopping bag and a $2 token to buy their own fresh produce,” says Trueb. Kids can participate in weekly activities such as a farmers market scavenger hunt, gardening demonstrations, cooking demonstrations, vegetable art, and more as they explore the vendors with their families. There are 40 spots at the park each week for market vendors. There is an application and fee to become a vendor, and there is always room for guest vendors. The schedule of vendors is always rotating.

“The vendors change with the seasons. For example, during blueberry season we will have blueberry farmers, and during peach and strawberry season we will have farmers who offer those fruits specifically,” informs Trueb. “We never have the same exact vendors week to week, which keeps it diverse and interesting.”

All in all, the market is about promoting community, togetherness, and the fantastic things they have to offer.

“My favorite aspect of the market is how it has become a social event for people in town,” explains Trueb. “There is no official ‘downtown’ area in Ellington and other small rural towns in the area. People who attend don’t always come to shop; they come to visit friends. It’s rewarding. Seeing senior citizens come with their chairs and listen to the music, or seeing repeat groups of folks who come and hang out – it’s just fantastic.”

The Ellington Farmers Market runs on Saturdays from April to mid- October at Arbor Park in Ellington on Main Street, right next to Arbor School. (Parking is offered on the street and in the surrounding parking lots at the school.) After that, the indoor winter market is held not too far away at the Indian Valley Family YMCA on Pinney Street.

“When you come here you know where your food is coming from and get to talk to each vendor and find out about what you’re buying,” concludes Trueb. “This is a great reason to shop here.”


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