GRAFTON, Mass. - The Grafton Farmers Market is shaking things up in its fourth year, adding wineries for the first time and bringing in vendors offering meats, cheese and eggs.
"We have a lot of new and exciting vendors this year," said Carmela Telese, a member of the Grafton Farmers Market Committee. "I'm looking forward to the wine and the nut butters."
The Grafton Farmers Market opens for the season on Thursday and will operate on Thursdays through Oct. 11, 2-6:30 p.m., on Grafton Common.
The market is limited to vendors within a 100 mile radius of Grafton. All produce must be locally grown; all products must be locally created. As a result, it's not uncommon for produce to be just hours out of the field before it's sold at the market.
And yes, there will be alpacas. While Angel Hair Alpacas of Grafton has brought its fuzzy herd beasts to Grafton Common for the past two years, this year the Grafton Farmers Market Committee had to request a bylaw change that would allow animals and vehicles on public parks and fields with the permission of the Board of Selectmen. Town bylaws previously prohibited any animals on the Common, although the market had been given the go-ahead to bring in the alpacas.
This year's vendors also include:
- Zoll Cellars of Shrewsbury, which offers small batch wines;
- Still River Winery of Harvard, which also offers wine;
- Brasen Hill Farm of Dudley, which offers grass fed lamb, pastured poultry, pork and eggs;
- Stirred Crazy Creations, which offers natural nut butters, with flavors including white chocolate hazelnut and rum raisin almond;
- Keown Orchards of Sutton/Foppema's Farm of Northbridge, two farms which have now merged to offer produce from both the garden and the orchard;
- Potter Hill Farm of Grafton, which brings locally grown vegetables;
- Nourse Farm of Westborough, which offers locally grown produce, including berries;
- Kathie's Bakeshop of Grafton, which offers cookies and other treats;
- The Farmer's Daughter of Auburn, offering beef, goat's milk cheese, eggs and plants;
- Uncle Paul's "Private Stock" Maple Syrup of Sutton;
- The Nut Guy, a local vendor offering spiced nuts;
- New World Hot Sauce of Grafton, which offers its award-winning pineapple hot sauce and other variants.
Several vendors will be only occasional visitors in the market's artisan tent while others will visit every week. The market continues to offer a non-profit tent for local groups to showcase their efforts and this year also will offer a kids' tent featuring crafts and toys to occupy children as their parents shop.
Music will also be featured in alternate weeks. Opening the season is Grafton musician Josh Briggs.
Family Day, featuring local parenting groups, is July 19. Art in the Park, featuring local artists and children's activities, is Aug. 16.