With yesterday’s opening of the Salem Farmers’ Market, Salem Main Streets has revived a Salem, Massachusetts tradition, dating back to 1634. The Old Town Hall in Derby Square, behind Artists Row, was formerly known as the Market House. It is the site of both the original and the new market, which encircles the stately 1816 Federal Style building (credited in part to both Charles Bulfinch and Samuel McIntire). The historic venue in downtown Salem is an ideal showcase for local food and handiworks, all within walking distance of Essex and Front Street retail and cultural attractions.
The launch of the event drew a bustling crowd eager to enjoy community fare and the first sunshine in days. Live acoustic music by Qwill and the duo of Emily Russo and Will Faust added a festive air. I overheard one proud Salem participant say to his companion, “Look at this! Eat our dust Marblehead.” There’s nothing like a little, friendly, town rivalry.
The Clark Farm stand was especially popular. Folks lined up in droves for heirloom tomatoes, baskets of strawberries, and bundles of lettuce, among other produce. If your taste leans more toward the sea than the farm, there was something there for you too: fresh seafood from A & J Lobsters and Rowand's Fisheries. Hand made soaps, scarves, and pottery added some artistry to the scene.
Don’t worry if you missed the opening day, the event will be held every Thursday from 4-7 p.m. through October 29, 2009. It’s a great and apt asset for Salem. Drop in on the Salem Arts Association gallery, the Peabody Essex Museum, and Cinema Salem gallery en route.
by Katie Hutchison for House Enthusiast