A hundred years ago, South Ryegate was a depot town, home to markets, restaurants and a strong business community. But in the last century, businesses fled the Northeast Kingdom's southeastern terminus, and locals have been hard-pressed to find fresh food in town.
That changed earlier this month when My Farmers Market opened in a former schoolhouse at 1442 Creamery Road. Run cooperatively by a group of 10 local farmers, the market stocks all the basics: eggs from Wohlleb Family Farm; Jersey-milk cheeses from East Ryegate's Karim Farm & Creamery; and fresh or frozen pork, beef, duck, chicken and lamb from Adams Family Farm in Barnet.
Market organizer Jennifer Bone, of South Ryegate's Bone Farm, cofounded the market with her husband, David, and Dan and Donna Robinson. The Robinsons supply the market with quail eggs and bread, while the Bones' fifth-generation dairy farm contributes raw milk (which must be prepurchased, by law), vegetables and pasture-raised rabbit. Local artisans and crafters offer pantry items such as herbal extracts, jams and jellies, soaps, and dry goods.
Bone says summer will bring wider variety to the market, including shiitake and oyster mushrooms, berries, herbs and cut flowers. Topsham's Frosthorn Hollow Farm will supply more veggies. "We have quite a few vendors coming as the produce starts coming in," says Bone, who managed the nearby Groton Growers Farmers Market for several years.
In addition to keeping regular hours, Tuesday through Saturday from noon to 6 p.m., the market will host tastings, events and benefits. The goal is to rebuild the South Ryegate community and economy. "My husband grew up in Ryegate," Bone says, "and his family is very rooted here. This was a pretty booming little place [in the past], and that was part of our inspiration."
The original print version of this article was headlined "Food School"
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