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  • Writer's pictureMatty Adams

Spit and Polish – Getting Ready for Market

Dozens of BAMF vendors gathered at the market site on April 20th in their own version of an Earth Day cleanup. They came with hammers and saws to fix railings. They dug into the brookside banks to sew soil-retaining plants. Some raked up sticks and leaves. Others collected litter. Muscly folk moved and set up the picnic tables while others erected and a vendor wash shed.


With just two weeks until the season opener some were feeling excited and eager. Others talked about how much they had to do in their own gardens, barns, kitchens and studios. Throughout all of the work, vendors had to tread lightly, as grass and clover reseeding was just beginning to take hold.

 

In case you’ve never wandered the whole premises, the market site occupies a four acres of flat, low land, gracefully wrapped by the Whetstone Brook. A short walk across the Creamery covered bridge brings you to another acre of auxiliary parking. The babbling stream and big shade trees soften the bustling sounds of traffic along Route 9. The site is conveniently located just off Exit 2 of the Interstate, heading to the west towards Marlboro, Wilmington, and Bennington.


 

A riverside location could expect a flood from time to time, but climate change is bringing more frequent and intense weather events. Last year alone the market flooded out three times. Each flood took precious streambank and any part of a vendor’s booth that wasn’t thoroughly embedded in the sandy soil. In their wake, these floods deposit limbs, leaves and garbage from upstream.

 

By appreciating the reality of periodic flooding, efforts are underway to retain more soil, create more shade, and reduce negative impacts from the market space sending detritus to the downstream watershed. Efforts include reseeding, planting willows and native woody plants along the banks, and designing vendor booths to withstand periodic rising water levels.

 

The livelihood of so many of our market vendors are tied to the uncertainties of climate and weather. Will an early frost nip the fruit blossoms? Will a hot, dry summer stunt the vegetables? Coming together for spring cleaning at the market gives all of our vendors a better sense of just what it is like contending with a moody Mother Nature.

 

The 2024 Brattleboro-area Farmers Market opens May 4th at 570 Western Avenue, Brattleboro, Vermont. Hours are 9am to 2pm every Saturday through the end of October. Bring your own bags and allow plenty of time.

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