Late Summer/Fall 2018 The Arlington Village Farmers Market began as a six-week test market, the idea being developed by Col. Jim Baker and the members of the Arlington Area Renewal Project. It found quick support in local innkeepers, Eric and Elizabeth Berger, and with The Keelan Family Foundation. The Arlington Area Renewal Project sponsored the market, which was held every Friday starting August 31 until October 5, from 4-7 PM. The local residents and visiting vacationers made it an immediate success. Thirteen vendors offered local goods, and the Arlington Inn sold small plates on the patio. Vendors include Haystack Farmstead of Pawlet, Lilli Clark Baked Goods and Maplebrook Farm of Bennington, Whimsy Farm, Maddy Cakes and Vermont Spaetzle Company of Arlington, Mama Lena’s Sausage and Sweet Husk Tamales of Sandgate, Black Rose Cheeses of Rupert, and North Meadows Farms of Manchester. Shoppers listened to local bands play live music as they strolled in the shade, chatting with friends and meeting new people. Time would fail to mention all the area residents who worked together to pull off this new venture, but they are much appreciated, and many still serve as volunteers each Friday night at the market. Proceeds from vendor fees benefited Burdett Commons, an organization established to provide activity and events for youth and seniors of the Arlington, Sunderland, and Sandgate areas. “This is another example of how our residents are collaborating together to offer new experiences for our community and to bring visitors to our beautiful town – and benefit our local nonprofit organizations. People now have the opportunity to shop for the weekend – or the week - on their way home from work, enjoy some music, engage in some fun activities and still have their weekend free for family and friends.” - Col. Jim Baker
Winter 2018 A holiday market was soon planned, and held at The Federated Church in East Arlington leading up to Christmas, led again by Laurie Glover and other volunteers from The Arlington Area Renewal Project. During this market, Jessica Twardy Roberts became involved, and volunteered as the new market manager. Jessica asked for and received valuable advice from another Arlington resident, Katherine Keyes, who so happened to be managing the Bennington Farmers Market. Katherine took Jessica under her wings, and encouraged us to join the VTFMA - a key move that helped cement the market's longevity.
Summer 2019 The market grew due to the increased support of the town of Arlington and the surrounding area. We joined The Vermont Farmers Market Association and NOFA-VT (The Northeast Organic Farming Association of Vermont) and The Farmers Market Coalition. A POP (Power of Produce) Kids' Club proved to be a popular addition, directed by Jessica Bachiochi. This club offered tastes of new and different produce each week, fun activities and simple crafts. Each child earned POP BUCK$ which could only be spent on fresh produce. The Battenkill Valley Health Center, our local public schools, and the Bachiochi family raised $1,000.00 to provide the needed supplies for the club. Other clubs and organizations like The Arlington Garden Club offered additional kid-friendly educational activities. The market grew to 34 booths market stretching across The Arlington Inn's lawn, and showcasing the goods, art and services of 65 vendors.
Summer 2020 In 2020, the original founders formally passed the market to Jessica Roberts and had moved on to other projects. She started the The Arlington Village Farmers Market, Inc. which was founded as its own state recognized non-profit entity, with a board of directors including Jessica Twardy Roberts, Jessica Bachiochi, Olavi Wirkki, and Pat Williams. Bylaws and a mission statement were drawn up with copious input from the VTFMA and market managers around the state. Almost immediately the market faced a new threat which almost closed it for good. Planning began for 2020, but was threatened by the global pandemic of Covid-19. Governor Scott closed all farmers markets for a short time, while the threat was assessed, and later opened them with new guidelines. The music and event days had to be cancelled (later reopened), and the POP Club took place entirely online. We adapted so farmers who wished to vend their goods, and shoppers who wanted to buy fresh and local food could do so in a safe and secure market. We were supported by various grants and donations including the New England Grassroots Environment Fund, Rural Vermont, in collaboration with the High Meadows Fund, NOFA-VT, and the Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets. We’d also like to thank the High Meadows Fund for their donation of several bottles of sanitizer, and for some additional face masks. Your kind donation was much appreciated as we worked to keep our volunteers safe. Our market was 100% volunteer-powered! The Bank of Bennington became a sponsor in 2020, providing a new website for our new non-profit. This enabled not only easy access to online ordering for curbside pickup, but also provided a platform for our popular kids' club, POP to move online - thank you! In the fall, two hardworking and dedicated summer volunteers, Jean Freebern and Debralyn Stempel, joined the AVFM board. The University of Vermont's Agricultural Engineering Extension kindly provided a hand-washing station in the midst of the pandemic.
Summer 2021 We had new challenges to face, and new opportunities to grow. We were excited to be moving the market to the Arlington Rec Park. Partnering with the town both brought shoppers to enjoy all our park has to offer, and provided a safe place for our market while some needed sidewalk repairs were planned at the former location. We focused on a strong commitment to the community and to supporting local agriculture, as well as providing an incubation space for burgeoning small businesses. The Keelan Family Foundation again donated funds as volunteers began planning the 2021 season. We heard our farmers and vendors request for a longer market season, and have increased from a ten week market to a fourteen week market, while working to keep farmer fees low. We started a brand new program this year, with the launch sponsored in part by The Bank of Bennington. This food accessibility program works with the Vermont Department of Agriculture to encourage and enable shoppers to benefit from fresh, local, and organic foods. It also supports local farms and farmers which is a win for everyone, and can help our market grow. This program is already in place in many farmers markets across the state and we were excited at the prospect of offering it here in Arlington. Local businesses became sponsors on the 2021 tote bag to help raise funds to improve the market, and TPW Real Estate became a new sponsor for the 2021 Summer Music Series (see schedule). We deeply appreciate the community support the AVFM enjoys, and our catchphrase for the summer was "Growing Community", as we literally grew into our new location.
Summer 2022 As we enter into our fifth year, we are excited to see what this season brings. We added two new volunteer board members: Ali Zaiac (Secretary) and Aaron Ashton (President), and several committees were formed to help focus volunteer help. Our manager, Jessica Roberts, developed and organized a new entrepreneurship program for kids aged 9-14 called Market Juniors, to launch in July thanks to sponsorship from the Wohler Realty Group. Our POP Kids' Club in August was funded thanks to sponsors Irving Tissue, Wagging Tails Traveling Treats, and Old Mill Road Media. Our summer music series was sponsored again by TPW Real Estate. Further funding for events at the market provided by grants, the Bank of Bennington, the Keelan Family, and donations from local businesses and individuals made on the behalf of others (see our 2022 tote bags for a complete list of supporters). The 2022 Anniversary tote bags were designed by local Arlington Memorial High School art student, Savannah Cross. The market hired an assistant manager to help out, and we welcomed Nicole Smyth to the team. Our catchphrase for this year is "Meet me at the Market!" and we hope to be a spot where local friends and neighbors can gather to meet, shop, sell, and network with each other.