By Juhi Varma
It’s the middle of winter and everything is sleeping or seeking cover underground—including the Medford Winter Farmers Market. This unconventional farmers market is held every week in the underground parking lot of Hyatt Place in Medford Square. Twenty to twenty-five colorful, well-lit stalls are arranged in rows against the gray concrete. For those of you who’ve been missing locally grown produce and goods, or wondering what happens to vendors in winter, here’s an answer.
“This is the first year we’ve tried this,” said Marketing Manager Stacey Nussbaum. “The Medford Farmers Market board had this idea, and the manager of the Hyatt Hotel let us use the garage.” The Medford Winter Farmers Market will take place every Thursday from 3.00 p.m. to 7.00 p.m., through the end of February.
“It’s warm in here, we’re not in the wind—it’s an unusual location but a good one,” said Bridget Collins, co-owner of JannaBees, a bake-to-order small business. She added, “Business has been a little slow, but that’s what happens everywhere after the holidays.” She described the differences between a summer and winter market: “There are a lot of root vegetables. The hardest thing for a New England farmers market is to compensate for the fresh vegetables and berries. There are goods, cheeses, jams, locally raised meat, etc. We want to keep people interested in buying local.”
“We have apples which I harvested in the fall,” said farmer Scott Hurwitz of Silverbrook Farm. He explained, “There are a lot of parsnips, beets, and carrots, which I keep under the ground. Everything else is grown in the greenhouses.”
The winter farmers market offers a fine selection of confections, wines, fresh sea food, homemade soups, and breads. There are also stalls offering handmade jewelry and knitted garments.