2017 was Tuesday Market’s ninth season, and the second as a program of Grow Food Northampton. Named “Best Farmers’ Market in the Valley” by Valley Advocate readers, Tuesday Market consistently provided a place for locals and visitors to shop for fresh food, connect with community members and enjoy live music. Rain or shine, the farmers market set up from 1:30-6:30pm every Tuesday from April 25 to November 14 in the plaza between Thornes Marketplace and the city parking garage in Downtown Northampton.
Thirty-one businesses participated as vendors at Tuesday Market in 2017. Vendors offered a range of fruits, vegetables and herbs, maple products, honey, mushrooms, prepared foods, artisanal cheeses, flowers, plants, fermented foods, teas, bread and more. Vendor income was just over $450,000 in 2017, over $3,000 per hour on average. Of the total income, 9.8% was from SNAP purchases.
Tuesday Market collaborated with the Lisa Ekus Group in 2017 to host the 6-week Summer Chef Series which featured 6 acclaimed local chefs doing cooking demonstrations for market-goers. River Valley Coop and The Baker’s Pin sponsored the series. Another collaboration in 2017 was a pottery sale by local potter Emmett Leader. Emmett sold bowls made with Northampton-dug clay, with all of the proceeds going to SNAP matching at Tuesday Market. Four weeks of sales resulted in over $3,000 for SNAP matching. We also had SNAP-matching support from these business and foundations sponsors: Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation, Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, The Farm Education Collaborative, Family Legacy Partners, and SHOW Circus Studio.
Tuesday Market took an active role in the implementation of HIP (Healthy Incentives Program), a new benefit for Massachusetts SNAP recipients. With HIP, SNAP recipients receive between $40 and $80 per month (depending on household size) to purchase fruits and vegetables from local farms. By July 2017, Tuesday Market had 6 farms who were able to process this benefit as well as SNAP purchases. Tuesday Market began the season matching SNAP purchases at the market tent up to $10 per person. Once HIP was up and running, the SNAP match at the market tent was lowered to $5. Total SNAP purchases at Tuesday Market in 2017 were $44,698.06, an increase of more than $19,000 over 2016 SNAP purchases. Tuesday Market maintained a leadership role in the roll-out of HIP including being part of the Western Mass SNAP Coalition, attending HIP-related meetings with local partners, piloting the HIP Ambassador program at Tuesday Market, participation in evaluation of the program and reporting on HIP’s successes to the MA Food Policy Council at the MA State House.
“It’s a wonderful program. Helped us have access to fresh fruits and veggies all summer. Were very grateful!”
“Being able to incorporate such fresh, healthy, nutrient-rich produce is a real luxury. I’m so grateful to HIP, Crimson & Clover, and Donors who made this possible.
“I did this because my daughter has lots of allergies and needs fresh produce. it not only helped her but all of us. It also gave us more family time (even when hard) picking out what we wanted to eat. My son loved my eggplant parmesan and fresh potato salad, squash soup. I roasted pumpkin. All thanks to this share”
“The SNAP Share/HIP program allowed my family to enjoy the bounty of local vegetables throughout the summer and into the fall. We had been members of a farm share previously but could no longer afford it without the help of this wonderful program. Not only did my children get to enjoy the benefits of locally grown, chemical-free produce but they also were able to pick their own and see the growing process first hand. Many thanks.”
“HIP means that I can provide healthy fresh produce for my children. Farmers markets are also about creating community and I enjoy being able to participate even though I otherwise couldn’t afford to shop there.”
“I love fruits and vegetables and when I’m not eating them regularly it has an incredible impact on how I feel both mentally and physically. HIP makes it possible for me to make healthy produce a part of my regular diet.”
Here are some of the results from this years survey:
- 62% of respondents come to Downtown Northampton primarily for Tuesday Market.
- 22% of respondents have an annual family income of less than $20,000.
- 57% of respondents live in Northampton.
- Quality and variety of produce and supporting local farms are the most important aspects of Tuesday Market according to survey responses.
- SNAP customers come more frequently than non-SNAP customers.
- 50% of respondents learned about HIP at Tuesday Market.
We are looking forward to the 2018 Tuesday Market season!
Written By Niki Lankowski