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Winter farmers market opens in Amherst Saturday

The market, featuring 29 vendors, live music and children’s activities, begins at 10 a.m. at the middle school, 170 Chestnut St. The school is located about a half mile off East Pleasant Street near the town center.

Market manager Tamsin Flanders said the breadth and depth of the market rivals any in the area. She added that since opening in 2010, the market has become a place for 600 or more people each week to escape winter’s doldrums.

“It fosters a community feeling and builds relationships in a nice way,” Flanders said.

Senegalese kora player Youssoupha Sidibe will perform during Saturday’s first market, with Farm and Wilderness Summer Camps staff entertaining children.

Among those new to the market will be the Kitchen Garden of Hadley, offering vegetables, quiches and salad dressing, Harvest Market, also of Hadley, with mashed potatoes, pizza, cold soups and salads, and Hosta Hill of West Stockbridge, with kimchee, sauerkraut and tempeh.

John Spinetti, of Agawam, who has overseen the downtown Amherst Market for 39 years, will offer an array of fruit producing, herb and house plants, while Cricket Creek, of Williamstown, will be selling cow cheese and butter and Auntie Elsie’s, of Amherst, will have its crackers for sale.

Fresh and stored vegetables will be sold by returning vendors including Astrate Farm and Winter Moon Roots, both of Hadley, Red Fire Farm, of Granby, and Simple Gifts Farm and Old Friends Farm, both of Amherst.

Lamb will be available from Leyden Glen of Leyden and Balky Farm of Northfield, poultry from Turkey Brook Farm of Brimfield, and beef and pork from King Creek Farm of Ware, Austin Brothers Valley Farm of Belchertown, and Simple Gifts. Bergeron Sugar House of Leyden has maple syrup and Beaumont’s Berries of Greenfield has fruit preserves.

Bread, pastries and granola will be available from El Jardin Bakery of South Deerfield. Cordials from Bug Hill Farm in Ashfield will be available, and Apex Orchards of Shelburne will sell apples.

Besides the edibles and plants, the market also includes health and body products, with Solstice Herbals lotions, oils and salves, and the Warwick-based White Buffalo Herbs’ aromatherapy, teas and potions. Delights of the Earth of Leeds and DiLaura of Springfield will sell soap on alternate weeks, and other herbalists will bring tinctures and glycerins periodically.

Woolens from Hampden Hill, Balky Farm and Sweet Caroline Wools will have items including jewelry, hats, baby clothing, calendars and T-shirts.

The live acoustic music will include Adrian and Ronald Meck on Dec. 8, Brendan Taaffe, June Drucker and Shirley White on Dec. 15 and Jim and Kathleen Fownes on Dec. 22. Flanders said she is lining up additional performers.

The market will be held each Saturday through March from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., except Jan. 19, when the Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast will be held in the cafeteria.

For more information, visit www.amherstwintermarket.com.

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