We distributed a survey at the end of the 2013 season. Thanks to all of you who filled it out.
This is the second half of our responses to your questions and comments. The previous blog post had the first set. We hope that this gives you a good look into how we run the Market.
comments about the Market
- “I like the small town atmosphere, the wonderful food.”
- “The strong sense of community is the thing that we like most about the Farmer’s Market. We always run in to someone we know and have met a few new friends there as well. The ‘special events’ (musicians, magic shows, storytime) seem to be the thing that has helped to build that community.”
- “I like the financial help with SNAP matching. I was able to eat well because of your market.” (SNAP is Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, aka food stamps.)
shopper questions and responses
“I wish it could start at 1:00 rather than 2:00.”
“I wish it could open earlier and stay open just as late.”
We’ve gotten comments over the years about people wanting the Market to open or close at different times, or be open on a different day. We’ve settled on the current hours (2:00 to 6:30 until Labor Day, then 2:00 to 6:00) because it works best for most people, including the vendors.
It’s a long day for the vendors. Many of them travel a good distance to get to Belmont and need a lot of time to set up before the Market opens.
We originally picked Thursday because Arlington’s market is on Wednesday and Lexington’s is on Tuesday. If you can’t make it to the Belmont Farmers’ Market, see our list of nearby farmers’ markets – there are some open every day.
“Cooking and food preservation demonstrations (plus associated tastings) are fun, educational, and draw crowds. Fermentation, knife techniques, ‘forgotten skills’ like making yoghurt, vinegar, butter, crème fraîche. Food thrift topics like a dozen uses for stale bread.”
These are great ideas, and fit in with the goals of both the Market and the Belmont Food Collaborative (parent organization of the Market). BFC’s Education Committee is interested in courses like this, but needs people to organize and teach them. Let us know if you have any ideas about that.
“Good variety of events.”
“Can some of the storytimes/tastings be later so that people who come after work can attend?”
We’re glad that many shoppers liked the activities in our Events Tent. We had so many events in 2013 that there was almost always something going on.
We decided to keep the hours consistent for storytime so people know when it is. It’s hard for restaurants to come later in the day because they have to start preparing for dinner, but we’ll see if we can schedule some tastings later (like stores offering samples of olive oil or yogurt).
“I didn’t love being solicited by people at the entrance – political campaigns, new school openings, etc.”
The Market is in a public space, the Town’s parking lot. Just as people can solicit you in front of the Post Office, they have a First Amendment right to ask you questions at the Market. We do ask them to stay outside of the actual Market area, though.
“I tried to get in touch with ideas and never heard from you again.”
Thanks to the people who send email or stop at the Market Manager’s tent with suggestions. We really try to respond to everyone, but unfortunately sometimes we lose a comment or forget to reply, especially during the Market Season. The Market is completely volunteer-run and we do the best we can.
If you’d like to volunteer to help run the Market, let us know. There is a full range of jobs, and we’ll find you something you’ll enjoy.
“I wish it started a bit earlier in the spring and kept going through November the way the Davis Square Market does. I wish there were some way to have a winter market.”
We’re not likely to start one, but there are many winter markets in the area.
Thanks to those who filled out the survey. We’re starting to plan the 2014 Belmont Farmers’ Market now, and look forward to seeing you in June. Let us know if you have any comments or questions, or want to help.