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Farmers' market opens with 'great first day'

Glenroy Buchanan, president of the Pioneer Valley Growers' Co-Op, sells some of his own sweet corn to Alice Belsky. She said the farmers' market is "the best way to get fresh veggies off the farm." Reminder Publications photo by Courtney Llewellyn
By Courtney Llewellyn

Reminder Assistant Editor

WILBRAHAM The farmers' market in Wilbraham was cultivated more quickly than a lot of the fruits and vegetables that are being sold there. Located in the parking lot of the Hampden Bank on Boston Road, the town's farmers' market officially opened last Wednesday.

The market will be open every Wednesday from 11:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

Glenroy Buchanan, president of the Pioneer Valley Growers' Co-Op and Rick DeBonis, senior vice president and director of marketing for Hampden Bank, met with both the Planning Board and the Board of Selectmen during mid-July to propose and work on the start of the farmers' market. They said that the focus would be on providing produce from local farmers, especially those located in Wilbraham.

Buchanan has sent letters to the 18 registered farmers in town, stating "I hope you will join us now or in the near future ... The Farmers' Market is ours to build on." He noted that the market is "open to whoever wants to be here."

"It's been a great first day," Buchanan told Reminder Publications. Although there were only two vendors Buchanan and Gordon Clark from Green Acres on Main Street in Wilbraham by noon, nearly 40 customers had stopped by to purchase locally-grown goods. "They [the customers] are all very upbeat about it," he added.

Buchanan was selling sweet corn from his farm in Hadley and said for the next market, he'll be bringing green peppers, large cabbage, tomatoes, garlic, carrots, zucchini and summer squash.

In addition to the corn, tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers, blueberries, peaches and honey Green Acres was offering, the farm will be selling collard greens next week as well.

"Business is wonderful," Clark said. "It's everything I could ask for."

Alice Belsky, a town resident who was purchasing some corn, said she attended the market because she had read about it in the newspaper. "It's the best way to get fresh veggies off the farm," she said. "I think it's a great idea."

Anyone interested in selling produce at the market must file a one-time Registration of Vendor form with the town's Board of Health. The forms were sent out with the letter from Buchanan and are also available at Town Hall.