The first Needham Farmers Market opened to blue skies and perfect weather Sunday afternoon, June 10, on the front lawn of First Parish in Needham—drawing a steady stream of shoppers by car, foot and on bike to shop from a variety of fresh produce, plants, meat, baked goods and other items.
“It’s been a great turnout, really. Every comment has been very positive, about the farmers market and what it’s bringing to Needham. There are a lot of very happy people,” said Jeff Friedman, president of the Needham Farmers Market Board of Directors.
The market will be held rain or shine every Sunday through October from 1-5 p.m. at First Parish, featuring a number of area vendors as well as local artists and musicians. At the grand opening, the Farmers Market Jazz Band led by Dennis Gurgul entertained the crowd, while artisans Karen Mahoney of City by the Sea Ceramics and Donna DeMaria of Designs by Donna custom beaded jewelry sold pieces in the artists’ tent.
In addition, a nonprofit group will have the chance to share information each week. This week, it was the Charles River YMCA.
Needham resident Susan McGarvey said she will be representing the League of Women Voters of Needham and Green Needham at upcoming markets, but on Sunday she came just to shop and socialize.
“I think it’s so exciting, that this is a dream come true as rapidly as it did. There are so many steps they had to go through,” said McGarvey who bought fresh kale and strawberries on Sunday. “I was so excited to come and just hang out here and see all my friends.”
Needham residents Jennifer Sutherland and her daughter Carys rode their bikes to the market and said they were looking forward to the chance to shop and hear live music each week.
“I’m very excited that this has finally started up here,” Jennifer Sutherland said. “We bought rhubarb and strawberries to make a pie.”
Carys, who plays several instruments, said she was particularly enjoying the music and liked the jewelry on display in the artists’ tent.
It was the first market for Susie Lees of Needham, owner of Susie’s Baking, who has done craft shows in the past.
“It’s been just overwhelmingly wonderful,” she said of the event. “People have been very patient.”
Lees was selling breads, granola and muffins at her booth.
“Susie’s Baking is really all about delicious—because you can’t sell anything that’s not delicious—and healthy. Everything’s got a healthy twist to it,” she said.
Nearby, Gay Hughes of Gay Grace Teas in Natick offered up a variety of teas and items such as teapots, cozies and infusers.
“I try to do as much fair trade, organic as possible,” she said. “I use vendors from here in the United States. I also carry lots of things related to tea, so you can make the perfect cup of tea.”
On the other side of the lawn, Lisa Peralta and Sherry Weinstein were selling fresh fish from Boston-based Globe Fish Company.
“Everything’s caught fresh in the morning,” Weinstein said. “We have haddock, cod, scallops, salmon, swordfish, tuna, crabmeat, shrimp, halibut, bluefish and striped bass when it’s around.”
Though Peralta said they expected to have plenty to choose from, customers who may be concerned about availability can call ahead or ask one week for them to set aside a certain item for the next week.
Lawton's Family Farm was selling beef, cheese and milk from grass-fed cows—the last dairy herd in Norfolk County, according to Edward Lawton, who owns the farm with his wife.
“Today we’re selling fromage blanc cheese and asiago that we make at our farm in Foxborough,” he said. “We also sell from two other dairy farmers in Massachusetts, their mozzarella, cheddar and gouda.”
Other Needham Farmers Market vendors include: MacArthur Farm in Holliston, selling fresh vegetables and plants; Needham-based Needham Community Farm and The Neighborhood Farm, with vegetables, greens and herbs; John Crow Farm in Groton, which raises grass-fed sheep and cattle and also sells pasteurized pork and poultry; Hazel’s Bakery in Needham, with a variety of baked goods; and Big Sky Bread of Waltham, which makes Russian and Eastern European-style breads.
“I thought we might be a little crowded, but we’re not. There just seems to be enough space,” said Mi Herzog, a member of the Needham Farmers Market board. “I’m seeing a lot of people I know, so it’s a lot of fun. I can’t imagine it being better.”