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Farmer's Market returns to downtown

By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

HOLYOKE Spring has come to the Paper City and that means the return of the Farmers' Market. Plans for this year's market were announced at the monthly Downtown Revitalization meeting on Thursday at Holyoke Heritage State Park.

And there will be many new features at this year's market thanks to a $12,500 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

"We went from zero budget to $12,500," said Kathy Anderson of the Mayor's Office and who organizes the market. She said there were over 60 applicants nationally, and Holyoke was a member of a group of less than 20 applicants who were chosen.

The purpose of the grant is to encourage better nutrition by shopping at the market. Thanks to the grant the Farmers' Market will have the funding for 600 coupons worth $2.50 to distribute to seniors to encourage them to shop at the market. For seniors who use the Council on Aging van to get to the market there will be 200 coupons available good for the 75-cent cost of a ride. Holyoke Health Center will be able to distribute 900 coupons with a total value of $2,000 to patients who are being treated for obesity and diabetes, among other conditions, to encourage them to add fresh locally grown foods to their diet.

The grant also helps underwrite a series of cooking demonstrations that will feature local cooks, such as Holyoke Mayor Michael Sullivan.

Sullivan didn't reveal what he would be cooking, but promised it would be spicy.

The market will open at noon on May 4 and will continue every Thursday until October in front of City Hall on High Street. The hours are noon to 5 p.m.

There will be a series of special events at the market:

May 4: Opening day and National Day of Prayer.

May 25: Flower Power Day

Perennial and annual flowers as well as vegetable and herb plants will be featured.

June 15: Strawberry Festival

Strawberry soup samples courtesy of the Log Cabin Banquet and Meeting House, strawberry recipes and food demonstrations.

June 29: Take a Senior Moment at the market

The Senior Band of western Massachusetts will perform and cooking and craft demonstrations will be presented.

July 13: Red, White & Blueberry festival

Red, white and blueberry cake samples will be offered, thanks to Stop & Shop, as well as a performance from the Children's String Workshop.

July 20: Take a Senior Moment at the market

The Senior Band of western Massachusetts will perform and cooking and craft demonstrations will be presented.

Aug. 10: Corn Festival

Come sample corn chowder compliments of Summitview Banquet & Meeting House.

Aug. 24: Children's Safety Day

The Molly Bish Foundation will be doing child identification kits and there will be a number of children's activities.

Sept. 7: Garden Explosion Festival

What do you do when your garden "explodes?" The market will have a recipe file to help cook up summer vegetables.

Sept. 14: Farmers' Market Fund-raiser

A celebrity guest chef will prepare lunch for you. The cost of the meal is $10. Tickets will be required and can be reserved by calling 322-5511. All proceeds go towards promotion and special events at the market.

Oct. 5: Fall Harvest Festival

Samples of apple cider and apple crisp will be offered by School to Career.

Anderson said she is always looking for new vendors and that two new farmers recently signed up to participate. She is also looking at adding arts and crafts vendors to the market as well.

For more information on the market, call 322-5511.


The Holyoke Planning Department is now taking orders from businesses that want to participate in the city's planters program, which is part of the city's Beautification Project.

For the cost of $150, companies receive an Italian Terrazza Trough planter, soil with fertilizer and flowers or bulbs to install in front of their businesses.

To order a planter, call Sharon Konstantinidis at the Planning Department at 322-5575.


Holyoke is a participant in the Keep America beautiful program and there will be a training session open to potential volunteers from 1 to 2:30 p.m. May 1 at the Holyoke Heritage State Park Visitors' Center.