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Farmers Market suspends operations with plans to reinvent in 2015

The Jaffrey Community Farmers Market is suspending operations for the remainder of the 2014 season.

“A late crop season, a lack of market patrons coupled with a dwindling the number of available farmers at the Saturday time has led to an overall decline in weekly traffic at the market this season,” explained volunteer market manager Bill Humphrey.

Humphrey has worked to promote the market with limited resources and has reached out personally to area farmers within 10 to 15 miles in every direction from Jaffrey with no success. The strength of the popular Keene Farmers Market and others that meet on Saturdays have provided a stronger customer base for the area’s farmers that a smaller, more rural, Jaffrey market cannot offer to farmers.

The market, which is organized by a volunteer, has been in decline for the past several years and will be incubating creative solutions for a re-invention in 2015 which will likely include a new market day and time.

“TEAM Jaffrey continues to be a tremendous friend to the market — offering support, administrative resources, and more,” Humphrey explained. “I have worked to locate available farmers to offer goods at the Saturday market in the hopes of reinvigorating the market at its location on the Jaffrey Civic Center lawn, but despite our best efforts, without several anchor farmers to sustain the market with produce, it’s unfair to the other vendors and to the public to put on the market each week.”

The Jaffrey Community Farmers Market, which had recently secured and returned funds from the New Hampshire Farmers Market Association to implement an EBT/SNAP market, has reached out to the NHFMA President Jane Lang for support and advice in a climate where many smaller, rural markets are facing a shortage of farmers and similar challenges.

Humphrey is working closely with the remaining vendors with the support and encouragement of TEAM Jaffrey and hopes that with time to incubate new ideas and reinvent the market, to return next season to continue its 24-year tradition of operation in the community.

“There are already exciting new ideas in development for the shape a re-envisioned market might take next summer. It is our hope to emerge a stronger market for the community — both the local farmers and producers, and the people of Jaffrey who have come to value the important role the market can play in encouraging healthy lifestyles and a thriving localvore agricultural community,” commented TEAM Executive Director Melanie McDonald.

Those with interest in contributing ideas and suggestions are encouraged to contact Jaffrey Community Farmers Market Volunteer Manager Bill Humphrey at jaffreycommunityfarmersmarket@gmail.com to share their thoughts.

The Jaffrey Community Farmers market is currently an independent operation for which TEAM Jaffrey is a fiscal sponsor.

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