By Penelope Steffek-Lynch
FRAMINGHAM – The City of Framingham’s Farmers’ Market has been going on for almost 17 years, but this year it has been revitalized.
There are new hours 3-7 p.m. on Thursdays (instead of noon to 5 p.m.), and this year the City of Framingham is running the market.
The City hired Bill Sell, who runs MetroFest, to run the weekly markets at the Framingham Centre Common. And Mayor Charlie Sisitsky waived the fee for vendors this year.
The changes have brought hundreds to the market weekly and attracted the attention of the state.
On that Thursday, August 4, there were stands that displayed jewelry, baked goods, skincare products, clothing, fresh vegetables, henna, LGBTQ support, fresh farm eggs, and block soaps. In addition, there were multiple food trucks along with corn hole and other games.
Velma’s Kettle Corn has been participating in the Framingham Farmers’ Market for 15 years.
Eric Bickernicks has been with the company since it started and Sarah Martin became a helper 10 years ago and has stuck with it ever since. They love this tradition because it gives back to the community in a positive way and gives them a chance to connect with the people of Framingham.
“We have had 15 years of dedicated customers coming back year after year. We always come back because the people would be disappointed if we didn’t!” said Bickernicks.
While COVID was shutting down many businesses and festivals, the Farmers’ Market was able to stay up and running. While the size of it was cut by more than half and it was often slow, they still had locals coming out and showing their support, said Velma’s Kettle Corn.
Another vendor that has been a participant for many years is Great Harvest Bread, run by Cheryl Cellucci and her husband. They started their bakery 22 years ago because they both have always had a great love for food.
For the most part, her husband does the baking and she takes on the customer service aspect of the job.
They have been coming to this Farmers’ Market every Thursday for at least 16 years and don’t plan on ever stopping.
Cellucci said her many loyal customers is why she loves this market.
“I’ve had days where there was a torrential downpour of rain and I still sold bread,” she said.
The first week of the revamped Framingham market, she sold out of multiple types of bread.
In 2021, there were less than a handful of vendors who participated in the Framingham Farmers’ Market, including Velma’s Kettle Corn and Great Harvest Bread.
But with the fees waived for vendors in 2022, there are more than 20 food vendors, and more than 20 artisans and service organization vendors plus food trucks and the Framingham Public Library’s bookmobile.
Next week is National Farmers’ Market Week – August 7-13.
Penelope Steffek-Lynch will be a senior at Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School. She is a member of my school’s newspaper where she writes about news and sports. She is a member of the varsity basketball team, the SADD club and The Future Project club. she wants to study Journalism in college. This summer she attended a writing program at Boston College and is a SOURCE intern.