(HOST) Farmer’s Markets are a popular feature of summer in Vermont, but commentator Ron Krupp would like to see them become a year-round fixture – especially in one particular location.
(KRUPP) Most people have visited one of Vermont’s many farmers’ markets. I would like to take the farmers’ market concept one step forward into the future with the idea of a year-round enclosed pub- lic market on Burlington’s waterfront.
The waterfront on the shores of Lake Champlain has one of the expansive views in the country. To the west are the majestic mountains of the Adirondacks. The waterfront is well on its way to becoming the central recreation hub of the city. What’s lacking is a full-scale commercial market offering a wide variety of local foods, crafts, small concessions and other micro-business enter- prises. A retail as well as a wholesale market would serve consu- mers and tourists, restaurants, food service businesses and catering firms.
The wholesale market would open from 6-9 in the morning and the retail market would start-up at 9:00. On Tuesdays, the wholesale floriculture business would operate with sales of green and potted plants, cut flowers, bedding plants and perennials. Another day would be set aside for wholesale vegetables and fruits for restau- rants and food service businesses.
The market would have particular appeal as “Vermont Grown & Produced” and would be an alternative to the Mall concept. Larger scale anchor businesses like a restaurant, natural foods market, greenhouse and floral shop would be needed to provide stability for the market. Small farmers, craft-people and artisans would provide fresh, local garden vegetables and fruit, cheese, poultry, baked goods and eggs, prepared foods, fresh and dried flowers & herbs, clothes, quilts, jewelry, wood products, crafts and an array of Vermont products all year round. Included would be small fish and meat markets and affordable food concessions. Why not add in a micro-brewery and a not-so-upscale restaurant as well as an up-scale restaurant. The mix of stores & shops which would serve the entire community.
The key to the market’s success would be in its diversity, accessibility and affordability – all necessary ingredients in the mix. Space could be provided for on-going craft, food and art workshops as well as a place for local musicians, jugglers and story tellers.
There are other examples of year-round public markets located throughout the country like the famous Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia. Closer to home are the large, indoor markets in Montreal such as the Atwater market. These are enclosed, all-season public markets where people can meet many of their food needs. Portland, Maine has a new indoor, year-round market. Perhaps, one day there will be a public market on Burlington’s waterfront.
This is Ron Krupp, the Northern gardener.
Ron Krupp is a gardener and author who lives near Lake Champlain on Shelburne Bay.