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Happy Spring, Opening Day, and Big News at Tuesday Market

Hello Tuesday Market Friends,

Recently I was sorting through some market photos from back in

the fall of 2008, when Tuesday Market first opened. What an incredible thing it was to see the faces of so many people whom I’ve now come to know through this wonderful market: the families, farmers, musicians, and especially all of the kids who’ve spent most of the last decade growing up on carrots, cauliflower, and strawberry-flavored shaved ice…

Tuesday Market has seen plenty of changes during that time, as we’ve expanded to fill up our oddly-shaped triangular plaza (and as we’ve added to our array of delicious products), but I think the most palpable change is simply the strengthening of the market’s ties to the wider community. And nowhere is this more evident than in our commitment to making fresh, delicious, well-made food accessible to people of all incomes in the Pioneer Valley. Since 2010 our FoodStampsX2 program has matched customers’ SNAP funds in amounts that truly make a difference to those who care about cooking healthy, delicious food on a tight budget. And now it is with huge satisfaction that we watch CISA and Healthy Hampshire take the lead in making this possible — through their new SNAP&Save program — at numerous other markets in Franklin, Hampshire and Hampden counties.

Our farmers are cupping seeds in their hands as you read this,

rubbing them between forefinger and thumb as they drop them into hundreds upon hundreds of greenhouse trays. The seedlings are being watered, the fields disced and plowed. Lambing season is fully underway; cheeses are ripening. A winter’s worth of dust is being brushed off of market canopies, and everyone’s getting ready to appear on the plaza again. Opening day is April 26th.

And right now I want to fill you in on some big news. After starting the market and managing it for eight years, Oona and I have decided it’s time to pass the glory, challenge, and satisfaction of running Tuesday Market to someone else. We’ve treated the market like our own child, with our own particular versions of both helicoptering and neglect. The child has matured quickly and well, with dirt on its knees and kale between its teeth. And now we are excited to place this rambunctious mainstay of regionally-based commerce and open air collaborations into new hands.

And who better to take up responsibility for the market than the incredible folks at Grow Food Northampton? When we learned that this local non-profit organization was interested in adding the market to its roster of programs, Oona and I were ecstatic and hugely relieved. We knew immediately that it was a great fit. Like Tuesday Market, Grow Food Northampton is dedicated to helping farmers succeed, and to helping people of all incomes eat healthy, local food. Like Tuesday Market, Grow Food Northampton is founded on the vision of building strong ties in our community between food producers, families, educators, artists, and civic leaders. I cannot imagine any organization better poised to take up the ongoing project of keeping the market as great as it is, while also continuously helping it to become something new.

In the next few weeks you’ll hear from Clem Clay, director of Grow Food Northampton, as well as Niki Lankowski, who managed the market last year (and assistant managed for the two preceding years) and will continue managing the market this year. They’ll convince you that the market won’t change except for how it’s going to be even more awesome than ever, which is absolutely true. For now I just want to remind you that Tuesday Market opens April 26th, and that I, for one, cannot wait to see you there.

Here are some pictures of our many, many market kiddos from the last eight years. And also this great short video made by Stephen Richardson a few years ago.

 

A huge thanks to each of you!

– Ben and Oona

 

 

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