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Capital City Farmer’s Market Moves Outside

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by Carla Occaso

MONTPELIER — Nothing says summer Saturday in Montpelier like the Capital City Farmer’s Market when it moves outside. And this year some new vendors have signed on to join a long list of favorites.

Bubbling over with enthusiasm for the event was Carolyn Grodinsky, manager of the market when speaking with The Bridge. “One reason I am excited about this farmer’s market is it really does feature farmers, we have 10 produce growers and several meat producers,” Grodinsky said. “What makes our market special is that 60 percent of our vendors are selling agriculturally-based products. It could be honey, it could be meat, it could be dried flowers; maple syrup. Other markets are more craft-and-food-based.”

Grodinsky said that in order to join the market, vendors selling food must “use at least three local ingredients from a local farm. For example, Butterfly Bakery makes seasonal butters using greens in the spring, later in the year she might use onion.”

And one vendor couldn’t get much more local than buying the actual ingredients for his product from among the vendors. David Huck and company of the Cabot-based Woodbelly Pizza pick out ingredients from other vendors at the market that morning and sell it to customers later in the day. “They buy cheese from Lazy Lady, they grow their own vegetables…they have a blackboard that lists the ingredients and what farm they come from. Our market is truly a farmer’s market,” Grodinsky said.

Another vendor is Twin Ponds Herb Farm of Brookfield, owned by Jack and Jennifer Johnson. They plan to sell certified organic herbs, live potted medicinal plants, dried herbs, roots and plants to make dye with. “We believe in the healing power of plants and we are dedicated to growing medicinal plants of the highest quality, beginning with healthy soil and followed through with care in harvest and processing,” Jennifer Johnson said. They all grow the plants they sell and process on their farm, including nettle, raspberry leaf, skullcap, oat straw and chamomile.

Most of the herbs, such as skull cap or lemon balm, either ease stress, support the immune system or aid in digestion, leading to a gentle form of healing. Of chamomile, Jennifer said it is her favorite herb to grow because it is usually grown in Egypt and hard to find grown locally. “Ours is hand harvested. It is really high quality,” she said. In addition to using it as a calming tea, chamomile can be be used as a natural dye for fiber.

“I am a fiber artist,” Jennifer said, describing how she makes red and blue using a root and yellow using chamomile. She makes hand dyed silk scarves using dyes she grows and makes herself.

In addition to her husband, she will bring their daughter, one-year-old Maybelle each week.

A loss to the market this year will be the departure of Pete’s Greens in July. “He’s a huge anchor,” Grodinsky said, explaining that the two spaces he inhabits will be shared. One farmer will be there for the duration of the market while the other will have a different featured vendor each week.

Everyone who frequents the market knows Lazy Lady Farm Laini Fondiller, who makes goat and cow milk cheeses and more. Mt. Mansfield Creamery makes Brown Swiss cow cheese, and more.

“It is a great market, you can get everything,” Grodinsky said.

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