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Healthy Food, Community Are Abundant In Vermont Farmers Markets

Photo Courtesy Keri Ryan

Vermont farmers markets bring economic, social, and health visits to communities across the state. From the Dorset Farmers Market to the Shelburne Farmers Market, more than 85 operations provide healthy, local, and sustainable food and crafts for residents and visitors alike. Their popularity continues to increase across the Green Mountain State as people look for more nutritious food sources that lessen their environmental impact and improve their overall well-being.

Dorset Farmers Market

The Dorset Farmers Market began in 2003 outside the town’s Dorset Theater. This year-round market is held weekly on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. It is a producer-only market where at least 60% of the available spaces are for agricultural products.

The board of directors must approve businesses, and all vendors must be based within an hour of the town.

The market prioritizes ensuring that all items are affordable for the entire community. Therefore, it participates in the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Crop Cash, an incentive dollar program that provides people with coupons to use at the market.

Photo Courtesy Dorset Farmers Market 

Burlington Farmers Market

In the college town of Burlington, the Burlington Farmers Market is held every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. from mid-May 11 to late October at 345 Pine St. Like Dorset, the Burlington market participates in Crop Cash and SNAP. 

One of the state’s most popular markets, it had nearly 150,000 visitors to its summer operation in 2023, topping 15,000 on one day alone. As a nonprofit, this market relies on grants and membership fees to keep growing.

Photo Courtesy Victoria Middleton

Capital City Farmers Market

The Capital City Farmers Market in Montpelier began in 1977 as an unincorporated agricultural cooperative under the management of the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act worker

Leslie Sproule. At the time, Sproule was living on a communal farm started by one of the earliest commercial organic growers in the state, Robert Houriet. 

The market experienced immediate growth, as much as 20% annually through the ’80s and ’90s, with quarter-million dollar annual grosses.

It’s always been important for Capital City to give back to the community via the gleaning program, where excess vegetables are harvested from fields and donated to the Montpelier Food Pantry. 

The summer session is open every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. from May to October. The winter session is every second and fourth Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. from December to April. The operation accepts federal EBT cards.

Photo Courtesy Keri Ryan 

Shelburne Farmers Market

Just south of Burlington, the Shelburne Farmers Market features Vermont fruit, vegetables, herbs, honey, and maple syrup, all grown on local farms. Local artisans and food vendors are a vital part of this market, which takes place every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. from May to October at the Shelburne Village fairgrounds. 

This market began in 2006 with the express goal of bringing Vermont produce to its residents. Like other operations, community engagement is a cornerstone of its mission.

The market hosts an annual Shelburne Day, during which members of the Shelburne Business and Professional Association talk to community members about their work. 

Many vendors offer multiple ways for community members to gain access to produce, such as curbside pick-up, CSAs, and deliveries. Shelburne Farmers Market also accepts Crop Cash.

Photo Courtesy Shelburne Farmers Market 

Overall, the popularity of numerous farmers markets across Vermont is a testament to the public’s drive for healthier and more sustainable food options. These marketplaces not only increase access to good nutrition but cut carbon emissions by delivering local, organic produce to residents.

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