CONWAY — The MWV Farmers’ Market, held Tuesday afternoon on the grounds of the North Conway Community Center got off to a hot start, literally, participants said.
With temperatures in the high 90s, it was one of the warmest days of the year so far, and by 4 p.m. things had really begun to heat up.
But, said vendor Michael E. Smith of Loon’s Point Honey Bees of Madison, "“I think it’s going to work. The hours (4 p.m.-7 p.m.) are good, and I give credit to the ladies (board president Rachel Freierman and Carrie Burkett, executive director of the community center) for their enthusiasm to get this off the ground.”
He was one of 13 vendors on site for the first week, with others ranging from produce growers to purveyors of homemade soap, bread, pizza and ice cream.
“It’s hot but people seem to be enjoying it. I think this market shows a lot of promise,” said Joy Weaver of Joy’s Kitchen of Brownfield, Maine. Her products included jams and jellies, pickles and relish.
The latest market initiative follows past attempts which were held Wednesdays and Sundays outside the old North Conway Community Center (now the New England Ski Museum) as well as on East Conway Road and in Conway Village.
It joins other markets in the region such as the Bartlett Athletic and Recreation Association’s held outside Living Shores Aquarium on Friday mornings in Glen and the Tamworth Farmers’ Market, and Bridgton (Maine) and Wolfeboro markets, all held Saturdays.
“I think it’s a great start,” said Patty Alden, co-proprietor with her husband Wildcat Tavern executive chef Bryant Alden, of Tin Can Co., a food truck specializing in crepes.
Burkett said she expects the number of vendors to grow as word gets out.
“I was ecstatic with the first week,” said Burkett. “I was pleased to see families using it as a night out, with their kids playing at the splashground, getting ice cream at the Trails End Ice Cream booth or pizza at Flatbread and getting their fresh produce.”
Following the closed-down pandemic year, “it was exciting to feel that sense of community,” said Burkett.
Each week’s market also will feature live music.
Starting July 6, and continuing through Aug. 17, the market's hours will overlap with performances by the MWV Band, which will play at 6:30 p.m. at the gazebo next to the ski museum.
Burkett also was pleased to see local families using their SNAP benefits.
“Most vendors will accept SNAP benefits which will be doubled with Market Match dollars toward purchases of fruits and vegetables,” said Burkett.
Local non-profit organizations also are featured at booths each week, with representatives of the Upper Saco Valley Land Trust and Conway Public Library director David Smolen present on Tuesday.
“It’s good outreach by the library to showcase our programs and let the public know what we are doing,” said Smolen.
In addition to Loon’s Point Honeybee, Joy’s Kitchen and Tin Can Co., other registered vendors include: Good Buddy Farm & Flower, Take Two Farm, Highwater Farm, Waxing Moon Garden, Uphill Farm, Living the Plant Based Life , Simple Wheys Farm, Old Village Bakery, Trails End Ice Cream Shop, Sacred Circle Wellness, Cathedral Ledge Distillery, Hanna Lucy Art and Hanna's Hats, Matras Maple/The Sudsy Cow, Molly Mundy, Dave's Gourmet Kettle Corn, White Mountain Forager and Meghan Cormier.
Invited non-profits are Kismet Rock Foundation, Harvest Hills Animal Shelter, M&D Playhouse, Tin Mountain Conservation Center, White Mountains Pride, North Conway Community Center, Vaughan Community Services, the Gibson Center for Senior Services, World Fellowship Center, Children Unlimited, Conway Area Humane Society, Mt. Washington Valley Arts Association, DCYF - NH's Child Protection/Foster Care, Eastern Slope Ski Club Junior Program and Northeast Woodland Chartered Public School.
Scheduled musicians include Katherine Rhoda, Colin Hart, the Living Room String Band, Candie Tremblay, Mary and Daniel Mertsch and Lilly Innella.