Spruce Street Market Opens July 1st
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed nearly all aspects of daily life, especially weekly trips to the grocery store. Trying to avoid crowds, find all the items needed, and stay safe has made these grocery trips all the more stressful. Luckily, there is another option. Manchester’s annual Spruce Street Market offers locally-grown produce, farm-raised eggs and meats, and fresh baked goods – and it’s returning this summer. The market will open July 1st through August 19th from 4:30 to 7:30 PM every Wednesday at Market Field on 163 Spruce Street, next to the East Side Resource Center. Parking is available across the street at Nathan Hale. Each summer, the market provides the East Side community with an alternative place to source local, healthy foods and draws residents together from across Manchester. In addition, the market accepts WIC and will match SNAP up to $10 (spend $10, get $20 worth of fresh produce). If you are a local vendor interested in participating in the market, please reach out to the Office of Neighborhoods and Families at (860) 647-3089 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Local farmer’s markets provide a range of benefits for community members. In fact, there are many reasons to choose the local market over the grocery store. Farmer’s market produce is almost always fresh, sometimes even hand-picked that same day. This also means that the products offered are most likely at the peak of their ripeness, which not only tastes best but also provides greater nutrition. The same variety of fruits, vegetables, fresh baked goods, farm-raised eggs and meats, and even vegan options found at the market simply cannot be found at the grocery store. In addition to great variety, better nutrition, delicious taste, and freshness, shopping at local markets is the perfect way to support the local economy and family farms. This is more important than ever, as the COVID-19 pandemic has had significant adverse effects on the national economy as well as local businesses and farms. Not only do farmer’s markets support the local economy, but they are also better for the environment! The products offered are locally grown/prepared, meaning no use of fossil fuels for shipping on refrigerated trucks and rail cars. The Spruce Street Market also functions outside in the open air, not requiring any of the electricity or heating that grocery stores do. Local family farms also produce less environmental waste from pesticide or chemical fertilizers and are less likely to use industrial farming practices. Last but certainly not least, the local farmer’s market is the perfect place to gather people from all over the community to meet and socialize (at a safe social distance, of course).
With the onset of the pandemic, the reopening of the market seemed like a difficult task. However, with new guidelines and the advantage of the outdoor space, the market can be opened in both a safe and efficient way. Practices recommended by the Connecticut Department of Agriculture will be implemented. This includes but is not limited to, spacing vendors at least six feet apart and establishing a one direction traffic flow. In order to decrease crowds and prevent the spread of COVID-19, live music, demonstrations, and food sampling are suspended and the market will only host farms and prepared food vendors. Attendees will be asked to follow state guidelines in regard to wearing masks and to practice social distancing while shopping.
While the amenities and activities provided may be different or more limited than previous years, there will still be a variety of vendors offering a range of healthy, delicious products. This summer, the market welcomes farms including Dondero Orchards, DeLuca Family Farm, Fox Meadow Farm, and Wilkinson Farm; as well as prepared food vendors including Lobster Tails food truck, Granny’s Pie Factory, Amazing Ackee (vegan), Keifer’s Kettle Korn, and Jojo’s Cookies. To keep updated with the weekly line up, check out the Spruce Street Market Facebook page. The Market Coordinator, Cynde Acanto, is excited to get the market back up and running: “While this year will be a little different than the past, we know it will still be a fun and healthy way for you to purchase fresh, locally grown/prepared food on our beautiful Market Field at 163 Spruce Street. We hope to see you at the market!”