After 12 years in operation, the Harvard Farmers Market will not open this year. The announcement came in a letter to the Press this week, which outlined the difficulties that prompted the decision. Declining customer traffic, difficulty attracting new vendors, and the ongoing struggle to recruit volunteers all played a part.
Losing the weekly outdoor market is one thing, but the prospect of losing some of the market’s invaluable spinoffs is another. The Soup for Seniors and Farm to Friends programs provide nutritious food for townspeople who might not otherwise have access to fresh, locally grown produce and Chef Paul’s famous soups. The Farmers Market board is hoping to find a way to continue these programs and possibly even reopen the market, and it will need all the help it can get to make that happen. The board will post updates to harvardfarmersmarket.org as its plans evolve.
Harvard residents are fortunate to live in a community with so many food growers. Fresh fruit and vegetables are readily available in season all over town. The absence of the Farmers Market won’t change that, but it’s a significant loss just the same. The Press salutes all the volunteers who worked so hard to create what quickly became a town institution, a lively Saturday morning gathering place for vendors and customers alike. We’ll miss the energy, the music, the pets up for adoption, and of course the food. Late summer and early fall won’t be the same without it.