Good weather, popular vendors help bring in crowd at first Pittsfield Farmers Market of season

May 14, 2016
Berkshire Eagle
by Phil Demers

PITTSFIELD — Sunny weather helped drive droves to Downtown Pittsfield Farmers Market on Saturday, providing a boost to 37 local vendors who’d set up shop in First Street Common.

It marked the first outdoors farmers market of the season, and it will remain in the park until October.

Topher Sabot, owner of Cricket Creek Farm in Williamstown, went with a simple and effective way to draw people in.

Located at the front-and-center booth at the market entryway, Sabot kept it classic, serving up plain old grilled cheese sandwiches — and their popularity made him perhaps the market’s busiest person.

“It’s really good sourdough bread, then we use one of our fresh cheeses,” Sabot said. “There was one woman who came over and thanked me profusely and said it was the best grilled cheese she ever had.”

He added, “You feed the cows grass, you milk them, make the cheese — it’s small scale all along the way.”

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Around the corner, Julia Doyle, owner of Pittsfield’s Assembly Coffee with her husband, Thomas, brought a Mexican coffee from the Oaxaca region so popular it sold out before the market had technically even began.

“It’s a phenomenal coffee,” Doyle said. “We did it for the first time two years ago, and it developed a very loyal following. We still have people coming to our roastery clutching two-year-old bags. But coffee is seasonal, and this regional [in Mexico] was really affected by coffee fungus the past couple of years. We didn’t have it last year, and this year they did produce, but in very small quantities. We managed to snag some, and a lucky few made off with it.”

She added, “Because it was so popular, I put it out on social media that we were going to have it. We sold out before we opened.”

Elsewhere, one found a wide variety of items: grass-fed meats of great variety, soups, tinctures, jewelry, natural perfumes, deodorants and bug repellent, salves, wine and more.

“I think it was one of our busiest days ever,” Jessica Conzo of the Alchemy Initiative, market manager. “People are starting to know us, and having the winter market this year, we stayed in people’s minds. People were able to shop year-round and we built a stronger relationship with the farmers.”

For the first time this year, the market was held through the winter at the Boys & Girls Club. The last indoors farmers market of the season happened on April 9.

This is the second year the market will be held back in First Street Common after it spent some time displaced during the reconstruction project there.

“This is really a good market,” Dan Tawczynski of Taft Farms in Great Barrington said. “I’m really impressed. Everybody couldn’t be nicer.”

To see additional photos of Opening Day from Berkshire Eagle’s Ben Garver, click HERE.