I can see a kettle corn vendor as I drive up to the Framingham farmers market on the Village Green. I love the sweet and salty snack, and I grab a bag to munch on as I tour the market, not yet having had lunch.
There are produce vendors on both sides of the sidewalk, tables overflowing with small seedlings and crates filled with enormous eggplants for so early in the season. At another table, a small boy selling jewelry tells me about the DIY bracelets that he and his sister made, and he points out all of the baubles that he made by himself. Except for this one, he couldn’t remember if he had made this one or if she did.
Across the lawn, bright yellow lemons are pressed into lemonade at a booth next to the fresh fish stand. Small wooden planks with names hand written in red, black, and green ink are taped to a cooler at Captain Marden’s Seafood: “Wild Grey Sole, Artic Char, Wild Red Snapper.” The whole tent neatly frames the first parish church.
The market spreads across the entire width of the square, and yet the fifteen or so vendors are grouped in threes and fours. Dulce D Leche, a small gelato cafe in Framingham, is at the market for the first time this year, and has brought warm chocolate, almond and spinach croissants. I’m grocery shopping during the hottest part of the day, and the cool gelato is tempting.
I pay for my produce and before I leave, I stop under the tent for A Place to Turn, a food pantry that services those in need in Metrowest. There are games on the lawn in front of their tent, and a couple kids play on a giant Connect Four. The woman at the booth tells me they’re only tabling a couple times this summer so I should take all the pamphlets I want. They’re always looking for food donations and volunteers, and I can get more information on their website.
As I walk back to my car, I note the diversity of vendors that they have at this market: not just produce, cheese and fish, but vendors selling jewelry, healing oils and soaps, and non-profit organizations in the area. Like the other markets, some of these vendors are not here every week, but those that participate every week include Hanson’s Farm, Flats Mentor Farm, Velma’s Kettle Corn, Captain Marden’s Seafood, Great Harvest Baking Co., When Life Gives You Lemons, OMG! Bagels, Full Circle Arts, Sun Run Home Solar, Direct Energy Solar, and Atlantis Dental.
I’ll probably stick to the farmers market in my town, Natick, over this one in Framingham. The Natick Center farmers market has over two dozen vendors through the summer, and they’re there every week. I always know that I’ll always see my usual produce, cheese, meat, fish and, just added, mushroom vendor!
Alice Kathryn Richardson is a new media photojournalist based in Boston, MA. She created The Clean Food Club in 2016, and previously spent two years working on Deserts in the District, a series of short-form documentaries exploring food access and hunger in Washington, DC. She is committed to supporting local and sustainable food businesses by telling their stories with photo and video. Follow her on Twitter @AKR_Pictures.