The University of Vermont's Independent Voice Since 1883

The Vermont Cynic

The University of Vermont's Independent Voice Since 1883

The Vermont Cynic

The University of Vermont's Independent Voice Since 1883

The Vermont Cynic

Make your way to the Burlington Farmers Market

Elizabeth Smith
People attend the Burlington Farmers Market weekly to purchase local food, art and produce.

The sun was shining down on a lively scene at the lot of 345 Pine St. one Saturday afternoon this past September. 

Bikers pulled in, people strolled around and lines accumulated at a variety of food vendors. The live music, energetic chatter and an array of delicious aromas amused the senses. All this is to say if you haven’t made it to the Burlington Farmers Market yet, you’re missing out.

The Burlington Farmers Market has been held just about every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., from late spring until autumn, since 1980. So, the countdown to the “end of the season” for 2023 has begun. 

When you visit, you are not only supporting local farms, artists and businesses: you are also experiencing a hotspot of Burlington culture as it draws a wide range of people from local families and students to seasonal tourists.

Anne Mueller of Arcana Gardens and Greenhouses is one of the most senior vendors at the market, having been a part of it for around 30 years. 

“The market is definitely a community,” Mueller said.  

The market is located at 345 Pine St. today, but it used to take place in City Hall Park pre-pandemic, said Mueller. She appreciates the ability to take advantage of the larger space at this location. 

“This is actually nice because we can spread out,” she said. “It used to be very tight at the City Hall Park, but it was also nice because you were right downtown.”

Other vendors, like Geoffrey Jiampa, have only recently started selling at the market. Jiampa has been making and selling his own natural cosmetics since January of 2020. 

“We had been coming to the market just enjoying it on our own,” he said. “When I started my business, I decided to apply to be a vendor… It’s a nice way to get in and see lots of people and get exposed to a bunch of people.” 

Among the crowd that had assembled on and around the grass between the lot of vendors and a live folk music duo, Mae Kate Campbell was seated at a shaded picnic table. 

Campbell was hooked from day one and has been a regular at the Burlington Farmers Market for several years now, she said. 

“I come every week,” said Campbell. “I love the farmers market. I love how it’s a platform for new businesses to get started. There are a lot of types of food you can get at the farmers market that you can’t get at a restaurant in Burlington, per se.” 

But Campbell doesn’t just come for the fresh, multicultural food vendors. Today she came with a group of friends who, currently in line for vendors, would join her shortly with their lunch prizes, she said. 

“I feel like it’s a fun social event,” Campbell continued. “My friends make fun of me: I run into someone I know here every single week and they’re like, ‘How do you know so many people, Mae Kate?’ and I’m like, ‘It’s just the farmers market, it brings people together!’”  

Those who are hoping to get to know the Burlington community better may be interested in what Holly Miranda had to say. Miranda was among the friends that joined Campbell, and she moved here recently—just last winter.

“Since starting to come here and just seeing more people, it feels like there is more of a community here and it’s made me feel a lot more at home in my new state,” Miranda said. 

Rebecca Velazquez with Barn First Creamery said that the one-and-a-half-hour trip from the farm in Westfield to the Burlington Farmers Market is well worth it. 

“It’s been really popular all summer,” she said. “It’s nice to have the direct sales from a human perspective, but also I am getting the wholesale, they are paying a little less than store prices, so we’re both winning, which is fun.”

Velazquez enjoys the vibrant energy of the market and the crowd’s good mood. 

“Everyone’s just really happy, which is really lovely to be around. It’s pretty infectious,” said Velazquez.

You’d probably recognize the art of Martha Hull if you’ve been around Burlington a while. Although it is nearly impossible to encapsulate an artist’s work in a few words, Hull did have a sort of elevator pitch. 

“I can boil it down to the phrase ‘cute and deadly,’” Hull said, “And what inspires me is this desperate, burning need to get these ideas out of my head and make them real because I’d go kind of nuts if I didn’t have some kind of creative outlet.”

Hull is enthusiastic about the array of other vendors that surround her at the Burlington Farmers Market, and her experience as a vendor has been highly positive. 

“I’ve been happy as a clam,” said Hull. “It feels so much like a festival here. People really come out and it’s a world-class market. It’s got everything: it’s got food, it’s got farmers, it’s got arts and crafts, it’s got CBD tinctures, just everything anyone could make, pretty much—we’ve got it.”

“I would love to be at UVM more because all the student folks I’ve met are just amazing and they seem to really click with my art,” Hull said with respect to her student customers. 

Find her stationed in the middle of the market through October, or at the 30 Odd shop, also on Pine St., during their weekly store hours. 

As the market started wrapping up, another fellow visitor, Stevion Flowers, was beginning to make his way home with a content smile on his face.  

“It is a very people-friendly place,” Flowers described. “I enjoy the different vendors and different cultures all in one spot. Also, I’m a dog lover, so I love to see all the animals who come down here. And I love the local honey and the fresh vegetables.”

Like many of the other enthusiastic regulars at the market, Flowers promised to be back again the following week to enjoy it while it was here and to find some more high-quality local goods. 

If the dog-spotting, local food, art and produce weren’t enough to convince you to put it on your calendar, getting yourself downtown between the waterfront and any local happenings around Church Street is bound to start your Saturday off right.

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