by Terry Rogers
The Riverwalk Farmers Market opens this Saturday, May 5 and Chairwoman Melissa Pingue says that in addition to some familiar vendor faces, there will be a few new ones throughout the Market.
“This year, our Market will kick off with a performance by Milford’s own Dixieland Band,” Pingue said. “First State Dance will perform on May 12, Diamond Dance on May 19 and our annual Strawberry Social is planned for May 26. Some of the new vendors will offer flowers, culinary herbs, homemade fudge, baked goods, goats milk soap, herbal and organic products, handmade toys, local sea glass jewelry and much more.”
The complete list of vendors is posted on the Market’s webpage and applications are still available for locally grown and handmade products. The Riverwalk Farmers Market is currently searching for local meat, seafood and fresh baked bread vendors.
In addition, the Market will have a slightly new look thanks to wood chips donated by Asplundh. In early April, the company delivered free wood chips to the area where the Market is held each Saturday in Downtown Milford. The company gives away wood chips frequently and delivers one truckload at a time for public use. According to Pingue, the chips are eco-friendly and an inexpensive alternative to mulch or sod.
“Brad Dennehy did a fantastic job of acquiring, coordinating and spreading the wood chips throughout the park,” Pingue said. “We want to thank them for their hard work and the three days this took to complete. The committee had planned to try and recruit volunteers to help, but Parks & Recreation were able to get it done and for that we are extremely grateful. There were a lot of bare spots caused by continued use that would get muddy or dusty, depending on the weather. We had been throwing away hundreds of dollars on grass seed that would never take due to the poor condition of the soil.”
Pingue said that Downtown Milford, Inc., who sponsors the Riverwalk Farmers Market, discussed planting sod but the cost was close to $50,000 for the proper drainage and irrigation. Mulch may have had a negative environmental impact on the Mispillion River due to dyes and chemicals which made it less of an option as well. The wood chips will provide a clean look in the park as well as a foundation for the Farmers Market. Volunteers will sweep sidewalks after the market closes each Saturday to keep the downtown area looking attractive.
The Riverwalk Farmers Market began around 1995 when local farmers brought their products into town in the back of their pickup trucks. Participants would pull up along the river’s edge to sell products on Saturday mornings. In 2012, DMI organized a committee to expand the Market and promote it as a Saturday destination. It is a non-profit, volunteer-based market that is managed and operated by DMI.
“I believe the Market is beneficial in helping to get the freshest and most local produce and products to an area where there is a great awareness of how important these things are,” Pingue said. “We have become a culture of food-educated people who want the best quality for themselves and their children. Our Market centers around the community as a whole. The vendors offer quality and people see that. We accept SNAP and WIC Farmers Market Coupons so that everyone in the community has access to quality local fruits and vegetables. Also, of course, we promote our local downtown businesses at the DMI table and educate people on the area and the exciting things Milford has to offer.”
Pingue wants people to know that without volunteers the Farmers Market could not exist nor could they do the community outreach that is so important. Anyone interested in volunteering should contact DMI by phone at 302-839-1180 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Market Master volunteer positions are also posted here.
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