by Joyce Rowley
Not everyone can get out into the countryside in the summer and stop by a farm stand for fresh-from-the-earth vegetables and fruit ripened by the sun. In fact, most people get fruit and veggies that were picked well before they were ready. There’s a world of difference in taste and quality—and possibly nutrition—between the two.
Helping make the connection between the freshness of the country and the convenience of the city is Karl Glosl, New Bedford Farmers’ Market coordinator for Brooklawn Park and Wings Court market sites.
“The farmers’ market started in 1964 on Saturdays. Then it moved to Clasky Commons. Then for a couple of years there was no market. Then they wanted it downtown and on AHA! Nights so we went to Wings Court seven or eight years ago,” said Glosl, who’s “pushing 74” this year. He was at Brooklawn Park Market selling the last of the blueberries from his farm, Pocasset Orchards in Dartmouth.
Glosl handles a lot of paperwork to keep the markets running. There’s the federal, state and local permitting. Beginning in January, he files a Special Event permit with the City of New Bedford Park Board. Then there’s more forms to fill out for the State WIC program and senior program. Each market gets its own number for redeeming coupons. Also, the federal government wants to know where the markets are and whether the produce sold is truly local. So Glosl and Richard Winterbottom of Winterbottom Farm in Mattapoisett inspect participating farms to make sure that the food is being grown onsite.
And he does this in addition to his orchard work. He has 670 highbush blueberry trees and orchards of peaches, plums, and pears on 41 acres. He seems not to mind. His thoughts are on what’s coming out now, and whether the crops will ripen in order or all at once.
“It’s a good year for pears. They set good, there’s a heavy crop. For two years, there were maybe two dozen pears per tree,” Glosl said. “This year, the branches are bending to the ground.”
The farmers at the market are as diverse as the food they grow.
Monique Sampson brings potatoes from the family’s 75 acre Sampson Farm in North Westport MA. 65 acres are planted in potatoes that they sell wholesale to restaurants from here to Providence, RI. The other ten acres grows everything from strawberries to corn to blueberries. But mostly they sell potatoes.
“Norwis, the winter potato variety, is our main thing. But we grow red potatoes for summer and fall. These are so thin-skinned, there’s no need for peeling. They’re good for potato salad, baking, and even mashed potatoes,” said Ms. Sampson. As for tomatoes?
“They’re taking their time this year,” Sampson said.
Winterbottom’s bushel basket of tomatoes were all sold out within the first hour at Brooklawn Park Market, but they brought more to the New Bedford library on Pleasant Street Thursday. They still had onions, potatoes, and plenty of corn. Mark Winterbottom works the markets with his father.
“In August there will be lettuce, radishes, beets, peppers, carrots, and eggplant,” said the younger Winterbottom. “We have 25 acres of everything.”
PRICES are comparable to the local grocery stores. This past week you could buy blueberries $2.50 a pint, fresh picked corn 4 /$2.50, new red potatoes $1.25/lb., new white potatoes $1.00/lb., Maine potatoes 5lbs. for $3.75. Vendors accept cash, SNAP, WIC, and senior coupons.
THIS MONTH look for early Macintosh and Cortland apples, peaches, pears and plums; thin-skinned red potatoes and white potatoes, lettuce, beets, carrots, peppers, eggplant, kale, cabbage, onions and radishes.
COME SEPTEMBER Macouns will be ripe early in the month, squash, acorn and butternut squash will be out; pumpkins and red delicious by the end of the month in addition to the August veggies.
BY OCTOBER you’ll find Winesap and Empire apples; the last of the corn and the beginning of the winter potatoes, all varieties of squash, and loads of pumpkins.
- Brooklawn Park Market: Mondays 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.
- Clasky Common Market: Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
- Wings Court/NB Main Library: Thursdays, 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.