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Coventry Regional Farmers Market returns for 2012 season

May 31, 2012 Arts & Entertainment, Local News No Comments

The Coventry Regional Farmers Market is enters its eighth season beginning Sunday, June 3, 2012. This photo is from the market's opening day in 2007, recently posted on the Coventry Regional Farmers Market Facebook page.

Hailed as the largest farmer’s market in the state, the award-winning Coventry Regional Farmers Market will kick off its eighth season on Sunday, June 3, 2012.

The market is held on the grounds of the Hale Homestead at 2299 South St., the former family home of the Revolutionary War hero, Nathan Hale.

Market vendors will sell their homemade goods and homegrown produce from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m on Sundays from June to October.

Market goers will also be able to see the new barn now under construction. The barn was won in a contest earlier this year.

Bridges to Healthy Cooking School, a registered 501c3 now oversees the market.

The market generates sales exceeding $350,000 every year and draws more than 75,000 visitors annually.

Market Executive Director Winter Caplanson said she thinks the market’s secret is its “sincerity.”

“We believe in creating this community of people, to understand what it means to eat well,” Caplanson said.

Caplanson said the market specializes in organic, heirloom, ethnic and gourmet varieties of fruits and vegetables, and offers grass­fed beef, free-range eggs, milk, yogurt, smoked bacon, rustic breads, farmstead cheeses and flowers, among other items.

The market offers “great diversity,” she said.

Market officials are planning a ribbon-cutting ceremony for their new barn on June 17, with Gov. Dannel P. Malloy in attendance.

The barn was won by the market in the “Yankee Post and Beam Great Barn Giveaway,” a national contest last summer in which the public voted on who should win the barn.

The 24-foot-by-36-foot post and beam barn was made possible by W.H. Silverstein Inc.

Caplanson said there have been some glitches with getting the structure finished.

Permits took longer than expected and, “We may lose some vending places,” she said. “We are currently in the process of figuring out how many spaces are being impacted and where else can those vendors be placed.”

The barn will be used to house demonstrations, classes, exhibits, live music and other events at the market. It will also be leased to other groups by the Town of Coventry on non-market days.

Earlier this year the town and fans of the market from the surrounding area were distressed to learn the market might lose its home at the Hale Homestead.

Market organizers, while trying to work out issues with Connecticut Landmarks, the agency that oversees the site and with the Town of Coventry concerning a site offered in town, also entertained invitations from other towns to give the market a new home.

Ultimately, Connecticut Landmarks and the market’s directors reached a 10- year agreement in which the Town of Coventry will act as the tenant and the farmers market will sublease.

Something new this year, thanks to newly passed legislation – Sunday alcohol sales will now take place at the market.

“We will be able to have a wine vendor (this season),” Caplanson said. She added that she’s been “holding onto one spot” at the market for that specific reason.

“We are planning on having one, but it may not (be ready) the first weekend. It’s something we’ve wanted for awhile,” she said.

Town Manager John Elsesser said the market “is a point of pride for the town… It sends a positive message about our community and who we are. We are glad it’s going to start another year here.”

The Coventry Regional Farmers Market also is a “dog friendly” market – visitors can bring their four-footed companions as long as they are on a leash and well-behaved.

To keep up-to-date on entertainment, demonstrations, vendors and special events at the market, visit http://www.coventry­farmersmarket.com or find it on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/CoventryFarmersMarket

Editor’s note: You are encouraged to also bring necessary “equipment” for cleaning up after your dog, and to bring some fresh water for your dog, since both you and your dog will be walking in an open field.

Posted May 31, 2012 as edited and added to by HTNP.com Editor Brenda Sullivan

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