The Melrose Farmers’ Market celebrated its 25th season with a Farm-to-Table dinner and fund-raiser before a sell-out crowd at Mount Hood on Saturday night. The menu for the evening featured a tasty selection prepared from foods offered at the market that were generously donated by the vendors. The City of Melrose and Mount Hood sponsored the event by providing use of the venue which was decorated in a farm and harvest theme.
The highlight of the evening was a presentation to Sally Frank, in recognition of her founding of the market. In presenting the “tomato award”, the Market’s board president, Diana Weinburg said, “Sally, your idea and initiative may have seemed small at the time, but it as an idea that resonated in Melrose and you have truly made a difference in our community.” The audience responded with an enthusiast standing ovation as Sally accepted the award.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better turn-out,” said event co-chair and board vice-president, Ali DiMatteo, “people are arriving early and are all in a mood to celebrate, eat good food, and meet their neighbors.” Julie Unger, event co-chair and the Market’s Manager, added, “Melrose is such a supportive community. It takes a lot to run the market all season. We have great vendors. We are also lucky that Linda Sheehan has joined as Market Coordinator. You can see her handiwork tonight and at the Market each week. And, a reminder, we are open at Bowden Park through the end of October.”
Diana talked about the history of the Melrose Farmers’ Market and recognized the contributions of past and present market managers, Sally Frank, Heather MacDonald, Cindy Chabot and Julie Unger as well as the many Melrose volunteers. She noted that there were 18,000 market goers in 2017, up from 6,800 in 2013. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) has grown dramatically, with the matching program reaching $7,000 in 2017. The matching program is made possible with grants from Melrose Bank, Northern Bank and Eastern Bank.
Attendees enjoyed an evening of music presented by the local band, The Bohemian’s. The event included a silent auction and attendees tried to outbid each other as the evening drew to a close. Funds from the event will be used to support Market programming and operations. The Market is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and relies on table fees and sponsorships to operate.
The Market gratefully acknowledges the donations from a number of businesses and organizations who made the evening possible. They include the auction donors: Giacamo’s, Public Kitchen, Buckalews, Fit Life, Chabot Engineering, Joy Yoga, Bully Boy Distillers, Seven Hills Pasta, Flower Folk, Miter Biter, Crosscut Sewing Co., Rosegold & Rainbows, EPOCA, Ugly Baby Soap Co., Plant Deli, and Mary Ellen’s Creations. The Market food vendors who contributed to the evening include Smith’s Country Cheese, Dick’s Market Garden, Moonlight Farms, Kelly’s Farm, Little Brook Farm, Roberto’s Seafood, Shady Pine Farm, Suzie’s, The Bread Shop, Clive’s Jams, Heather MacDonald, Fork on A Road, Fabian’s European Pastries, Pure Pastry, Muddy Water Coffee Roasters and Ackermann Maple Farm. At the end of the evening, everyone walked away with a sugar cookie donated by Sweet Spot Bakery. Other donors include Bo DiMatteo Design, The Messina Fund for the Arts and The Melrose Cultural Council.
The co-chairs would also like to thank the event committee: Joy Fay, Jess Hemmer, Jess Jacobs, Janet Rutan, Laura Kahl, and Linda Sheehan.