By Jack Chavez, Staff Writer
The Berlin Farmers Market kicked off the spring and summer season last weekend with a few more vendors, now that covid-19 restrictions have eased to the point that they can squeeze in a few more booths.
“(The turnout this weekend) was wonderful,” said Berlin Economic and Community Development Administrative Assistant Allison Early said. “It was super busy. Some farmers had (long) lines. We added a few new vendors and have all the same old vendors who have great followings and businesses. We were able to add a few more spots this year — a butcher, oyster salesman, new local florist Mother Flowers and Assateague Farms also joined us.”
The Berlin Farmers Market prides itself on being a producers-only market, meaning that patrons purchase wares directly from the people who produce them, or at least, the person who owns the business that does.
The weekly market includes musical entertainment as well, from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Typically it’s a single musician, Early said. Last week saxophone player Everett Spells entertained the crowd and will continue to be featured at the market twice a month.
Ocean City musician Zander Jett will also be involved.
“The market, it’s the best one in the area,” said Megan Hines, who owns and runs The Buzz Meadery on Jefferson Street with her husband, Brett Hines. “I love that it’s producers only because it helps us stand out among other markets and other possible vendors. Everyone there, we make or grow what we sell.”
New last year and returning this year is the incorporation of a beekeeper.
“Berlin is a bee city,” Early said.
The beekeeper offers informational demonstrations and even brings in items like old beehives to show the public and educate them on the importance of bee populations.
The market did not close in either of the last two years and further, it served as a saving grace for many businesses, especially in the early goings of the pandemic.
“It was basically a way for the town to support the small businesses that were affected by being closed,” said Autumn Faber, owner of Bleached Butterfly and Eastern Woodland Home on Pitch Street. “Last year was amazing. We were still required to wear masks and such outside, had hand sanitizer set up around the town market area, but it was wonderful and we’re hoping this year will be as good if not better.”
For community leaders, the event is one of the ways that Berlin continues to gain recognition as a Worcester County destination in its own right.
“Through the years, Sundays here have been kind of a sleepy town,” said Larnet St. Amant, director of the Berlin Chamber of Commerce. “The farmers market has brought y
oung families and all age groups with pets, kids, strollers. It’s been very good for business. We’ve brought a whole new dynamic of people to town.”
Early noted the benefit that the visibility provides local businesses and convenience for locals.
“People find out who (the vendors) are and they (in turn) get to meet customers face-to-face and see who they’re buying from,” she said. “Our community gets to walk out of their house, down the street and find locally made, fresh produce and an array of other items they can bring home and eat healthily. And they don’t even have to leave their neighborhood for it, which is really cool.”
Early added that the market has even served as a jumping-off point for some businesses — Buzz Meadery, Honeywater Candles, Iron Skillet and the Berlin Scenery, to name a few, all got their starts that the market.
Added Faber, “Because of the community itself, I feel like it’s more of a family function. Everyone who lives in the Town of Berlin, (whether they) own a store or shop regularly, comes out on Sunday to support all of the farmers market vendors and it’s awesome to see.”
The Berlin Farmers Market is open every Sunday through September from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. It is free to attend. For more information, visit https://berlinmainstreet.com/farmersmarket.
This story appears in the print version of Bayside Gazette on May 5, 2022.